Pukka's sustainable packaging
We scour the globe in careful search of the highest quality, organic herbs for our teas and supplements. How we package those herbs is extremely important to us to ensure they get to you in the best possible condition and are as light as possible on the planet. We know packaging is important to people and we are continually looking for ways to improve our packaging. In 2021, we completed a detailed review of our approach to packaging and set a new policy in line with this, with updated goals and commitments to be met by 2025.
This year we committed to no deforestation by the end of 2025. This is across our primary deforestation-linked commodities, which are paper and cardboard. Stopping deforestation is an enormous challenge that we can’t tackle alone. We’ve taken steps to join Pack4Good, an NGO-backed campaign to make paper packaging supply chains radically more sustainable and save our forests.
Pukka only uses sustainably sourced paper and board in its packaging across tea and gifting. Many products and/or their packaging carry the FSC® label, showing that they are made with material from FSC-certified forests and/or reclaimed or controlled sources.
Our latest Packaging Policy
Right now, 100% of our tea packaging is fully recyclable. Including supplements and gifting, 98% of our packaging is recyclable and we are working hard on the remaining 2%, which is due to our labels, tamper seals and lids. These materials are selected to protect the efficacy and quality of our herbal ingredients.
End of life recycling information
We want people to be clear which recycling bin to put Pukka packaging in once they’re finished with it. We now include end of life information on all of our packaging, a complex challenge given the huge variety in recycling infrastructure and legislation across our global markets. Only packs that don’t include end-of-life guidance are blends that are being discontinued from January 2023.
Here’s a handy guide to show where our packaging materials come from, and what to do with them when you’ve finished using them.
Our tea boxes are made from sustainably sourced card and printed using vegetable-based inks. Once used, you can pop our tea boxes in your cardboard recycling bin.
We wrap our organic herbal blends in an envelope because we want to lock in the freshness and protect the high essential oil content which gives our teas such a special taste. Individually wrapped envelopes protect the tea bags from air and moisture which degrade the herbs, causing the tea to lose its depth of flavour and herbal health benefits. The envelope also prevents any cross-contamination of flavour or smell with other nearby foods.
In 2019, after four years of research and development, we made a tea envelope that can go in your paper recycling bin. Our new sustainably sourced paper envelopes still include a very thin coating of plastic that is free from BPA and PVC (<5% of the envelope weight). It’s so thin that it can be recycled with normal paper across our markets. We've tested this in accordance with EN13430 to ensure you have peace of mind when placing it in your paper recycling bin. Looking even further ahead, we are working with suppliers to source this barrier from a compostable plant-based source.
Tea bag, tag and string
Our tea bag paper is made from a special blend of natural abaca (a type of banana), wood pulps and plant cellulose fibres – all of which make up over 99% of our tea bag paper.
Like many types of paper used in our daily lives, a resin needs to be added in the process of making the paper, so that it doesn’t fall apart (especially when adding hot water!). In the case of our tea bag paper, a resin makes up less than 1% of our paper.
Our tea bags are staple-free and stitched together with 100% organic, non-GMO cotton, instead of heat-sealed using plastic.
The tags we use with each tea bag, to remind you which blend you are enjoying, are made from sustainably sourced card.
What do I do with the tea bags once used?
Our teabags are certified home compostable, which means you can pop the tea bag paper, organic string and herbs in your food waste bin. The tag should be placed in your paper recycling bin.
Supplements packaged in glass jars
We are happy to say that by weight our supplements packaging is 99% recyclable.
Our Castor Oil and Elderberry Syrup glass bottles are made from 40% post-consumer waste glass have plastic lids. We've replaced the unrecyclable black lids with white lids, which are widely recycled across our global markets. Our supplement capsules are protected inside the bottles by a plastic tamper seal and an aluminium lid.
The Elderberry outer tube contains 60% recycled content and once used, the carton and tube can be popped in your cardboard recycling bin. Please keep the lid on the bottle and place them together in your glass recycling bin. By putting the lid back on the bottle, it reduces the chance of the lid getting lost in the sorting process and enables it to be recycled properly.
Our Aloe Vera Juice bottles are made of glass (27% recycled content), which is then covered in a plastic sleeve made from 30% post-consumer recycled plastic waste. The juice is protected inside the bottles by an aluminium and plastic lid. You can recycle the bottle in your glass recycling, with the lid screwed back on. The sleeve will need to be added to your general waste bin.
Supplements packaged in cardboard tubes
We are pleased to introduce our new and improved supplement packaging. You can now buy many of our supplements in specially developed cardboard tubes. The tube is made from sustainably sourced cardboard and is fully recyclable. Our new cardboard tubes contain 30% recycled content and are 67% lighter than glass jars which significantly improves the environmental impact of our packaging. We received third-party verification of the greenhouse gas emission savings achieved by our new packaging design in May 2022 and are thrilled to report a reduction of 58%.
The plant-based cellulose bag packed inside the inner tube is composed of 90% renewable materials, is made from sustainably sourced wood pulp, does not contain GMO materials and is certified for industrial composting.
Once you have finished your supplements, please put the cardboard tube in with your cardboard recycling. For the inner bag, please check your local council guidance to see if they accept compostable materials. If they do, pop it in your food waste bin, otherwise dispose of it in your general waste bin.
All of our selection boxes are made in card packaging that is ethically and sustainably sourced. Each box is glued together with specially selected vegetable-based glues. The foil on the outside is part of a zero waste to landfill scheme. The tray inside is made from a combination of paper fibres and starch. Our Selection Box won the top prize at the Luxury Packaging Awards 2019 for the most resource efficient pack.
We are always working to increase recycled content in our packaging wherever possible. We are pleased to use 70% recycled content for the corrugated box that your retail selection box is transported in and 84% recycled content for the inner box of products purchased online.
The packaging is designed to make the box itself as beautiful as possible for you and the planet as the tea that sits inside it. You can put the box in to your card recycling and the leaflets, paper foam tray and outer band in your paper recycling.
Days of Joy advent calendar
Our Days of Joy advent calendar is packaged in a foldable cardboard wall hanger. The cardboard packaging is sustainably sourced card and can be placed in your card recycling after use.
Days of Giving
The cardboard packaging is sustainably sourced card and contains 84% recycled content. It can be placed in your card recycling bin after use.
Calm Collection and Festive Collections
Each lightweight tube is designed as a beautiful gift that has minimal impact on the planet. Our collections range is packaged in a cylindrical cardboard tube with intricate gold foiling. The card is sustainably sourced and the gold foiling is part of a zero waste to landfill scheme.
We are pleased to have increased the recycled content of the cardboard tube to 62%.
The tubes can be refilled and enjoyed again, either as a gift for someone else or used as storage containers in your home. If you do not wish to reuse the tubes then the card is fully recyclable and can go in your card recycling bin at home.
Tea Discovery Chest
The Tea Discovery Chest contains a selection of teas in premium bamboo packaging with a beautifully engraved lid. The box is made from FSC-certified bamboo. We recommend that the bamboo box is reused once the tea sachets inside have been finished. The box can be refilled with our teas, passed on as a gift to someone else or used to store things in your home. If you do not wish to reuse the bamboo box, please check with your local council to see if you can recycle wood and timber with your normal household waste collections. If this is not available in your area, please take it to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre for responsible disposal and recycling. The band can be recycled in your home card recycling.
Our Workday Wellness gift box is made from sustainably sourced card. The box can be refilled and enjoyed again, either as a gift for someone else or used as storage containers in your home. If you do not wish to reuse the tubes then the card is fully recyclable and can go in your card recycling bin at home.
In some of the corrugated cardboard packaging used to pack and transport Pukka’s herbal tea, supplements and gifting products ordered online or bought when shopping instore, we use 70% post-consumer recycled cardboard. We’re working to moving to 100% recycled content as soon as possible.
Look for the FSC® logo on our FSC-certified packaging
Author: Eleanor Jeffrey
Eleanor has a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Manchester and Postgraduate Certificates for Environmental Management (IEMA) and Enterprise, Innovation and the Circular Economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (CE100). Eleanor has over 8 years of sustainability experience working for a broad range of organisations in both manufacturing and retail, including start-ups (bio-bean Ltd), consultancy and multinational plcs (Kingfisher). At Pukka, she works to deliver Pukka's climate strategy, targets and commitments across the business.
Years of experience:
8 years in sustainability
Postgraduate Certificates for Environmental Management (IEMA) and Enterprise, Innovation and the Circular Economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Masters degree in Chemistry (University of Manchester)