Featured What is the best packaging for our planet?

Environmentally friendly packaging is currently a hot topic with many companies and consumers being more conscious about materials used in our everyday lives. With the aim to have the smallest impact on the planet as possible. 

 

For companies that are researching into improving their packaging this is a massive job, and something that can’t be rushed to ensure the right decisions are made.  

What is the right target 

Planet friendly packaging comes in many different guises and finding the best way to reduce the negative impact on our planet can be approached in various ways. 

 

  • Biodegradable: capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution 

  • Compostable: material that can be broken down and made into compost. There are two levels to compostable 

    • Industrial compostable – this means that you are unable to just do this at home and the materials need to be send away and have extra bacteria and enzymes added to aid the breakdown. 

    • At home compostable – you can simply pop this in a garden compost bin along with food waste and other time this will break down. 

  • Recyclable material: there are a range of materials that as long as they are disposed of correctly, they can be repurposed and used again. Again this can either be at a home level sorted by your council or more industrial, when you have collection points and companies are about to recycle the more difficult materials (eg. TerraCycle®) 

  • Circular: this is an ideal economy as once an item is made it will be reused again and again with the minimal environmental impact. 

When switching materials, this type of work requires a lot of research and testing. It also requires big changes in any manufacturing system. These changes take a lot of time and investment in new materials and machines. So it’s important that we are 100% confident on the material we choose before we make big changes. 

 

In Discovery: 

Where we started 

Our original packaging for Taylors Discovery was a standard black plastic resealable bag. These bags have been used by coffee roasters for years as they do have benefits such as, they look crisp, have a good shelf life and they are resealable. Although great for the beans these bags are not good for the planet!  

 

       
This is our original plastic packaging

Where we are now: 

Now our standard packs are 100% at home recyclable, they can go straight in with your paper and carboard!  
So what is it made out of? Well for a start, it is mainly paper with a protective barrier made of Earthfilm 
Earthfilm is a renewable material that can be recycled as part of your paper waste. This was important to us, because most of our Discovery packaging is card or paper so the choice to switch to a paper barrier packaging was a no brainer in the end. 
One thing you might notice is the use by date is a little shorter and there is no resealable zip like other packaging in the market. We believe that the reduced shelf life and lack of a reseal-ability is something that can be easily resolved by storing the bag in an airtight container once opened. We felt that these compromises were worth having a pack that is much more beneficial to our planet!
Our current paper packs which are 100% at home curb recyclable in your paper and carboard

The future possibilities: 

You may have noticed the funky new packaging that we used to sell our Mauricio Shattah Sidra in. These are made of bagasse and cork, this is a project our innovation team have been working on. We find it is so interesting and important that we are going to write another blog just about these beauties so watch this space!  

 

Could this be the future? Our bagasse moulded packs designed by the Taylors innovation team 

 

Taylors of Harrogate 

How does this fit with what you see in the supermarket? 

You probably first heard of Taylors of Harrogate when scanning the supermarket shelfs, the bags of Lazy Sunday and Lava Java as well as being the home of Yorkshire tea. As a company we are putting a lot of research into what our future packaging needs to be on a larger supermarket scale. We are fortunate to have Taylors Discovery as a chance to experiment and trial options on a smaller scale.  

 

Where we are at now: 

  • Around 75% of our teabags are now PLA, a plant-based plastic which can be industrially composted through your local council collection. It’s still plastic, but a much kinder plastic that can decompose in the correct circumstances. 

  • We have also teamed up with a company called TerraCycle®, who offer a safe recycling option for all our core coffee packaging which is currently made from an oil-based plastic. The scheme is set up to safely recycle items that cannot be recycled by your local council and you’d be surprised at how many household products they can help you out with. 

  • We have our Innovation and Discovery teams looking into some exciting possibilities with the aim of nailing that perfect future pack that will be kinder to our planet! 

Where we want to be: 

We know we still have a long way to go and more areas to address, but our aim of circular is key, and this can’t be rushed. We are taking our time for a good reason, making quick decisions just isn’t in our nature because we want to ensure that the new packaging we choose doesn’t need to be changed again and will have a positive impact on our planet.

If you would like to read more on Taylors of Harrogate sustainability and impact report follow the link below:

Making a positive difference | Taylors Impact