Tea Rebellion_ Compostable vs Recyclable in Consumer Packaging

Compostable vs Recyclable in Consumer Packaging


In today's consumer market, sustainable packaging is more than just a trend – it's a necessity. With the mounting pressure on nature and the climate crisis, we cannot ignore the impact our choices have on our planet. At Tea Rebellion, we want to raise the bar by challenging ourselves and others and find the most eco-friendly solutions.

Two main options are stealing the spotlight in sustainable packaging: compostable and recyclable materials. Both have their merits, and as conscious consumers, it's essential to understand their differences and the impact they make on the environment once you factor in the reality of consumer behaviour and the municipal systems to properly recycable or compost in each country.

 Are you ready to dive into the world of compostable and recyclable packaging? Join us in Tea Rebellion, as we explore and foster packaging transparency for a greener future.

Understanding Compostable Packaging

What is compostable packaging? It's packaging that can break down into natural elements within a compost environment. It decomposes, leaving no toxic residue behind. The result? Nutrient-rich soil that nurtures the Earth.

Benefits of Compostable Packaging

Compostable packaging has some undeniable perks. First and foremost, it reduces environmental impact. By decomposing into natural elements, it doesn't contribute to the ever-growing waste problem. Plus, it's often made from renewable resources, putting less strain on our planet's limited resources.

Secondly, compostable packaging supports a circular economy. It turns waste into valuable resources, promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. Waste becomes a treasure, enriching our soil and feeding our plants. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?

Common Compostable Materials and Their Applications

There's a growing array of compostable materials to choose from. Here are some popular ones:

  • Polylactic acid (PLA): This plant-based plastic is made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. It's perfect for food packaging, disposable cutlery, and even tea bags.
  • Bagasse: This sugarcane byproduct is a fantastic alternative to paper and styrofoam. It's used for food containers, plates, and cups.
  • Mushroom packaging: Derived from mushroom roots, this eco-friendly material is a great replacement for polystyrene foam. It's suitable for protective packaging and insulation.

Compostable packaging can be game-changer in the world of sustainability, whether or not it delivers on this depends on the reality of consumers & municipalities to compost over time turn these packagings into soil.

Let's shift gears and explore recyclable packaging. What does it mean? Simply put, recyclable packaging is made from materials that can be collected, processed, and transformed into new products. The goal? To reduce waste and conserve resources.

Benefits of Recyclable Packaging

Recyclable packaging has two main advantages. First, it conserves resources. By reusing materials, we can minimize the need to extract and process raw materials from the Earth. That's a huge win for our planet.

Secondly, recyclable packaging reduces energy consumption. Manufacturing products from recycled materials often requires less energy than creating them from scratch. In turn, this lowers greenhouse gas emissions and pressure on land use helps combat climate change.

Common Recyclable Materials and Their Applications

Many materials can be recycled, but some are more common than others. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Paper and cardboard: These materials are widely recycled and used for a variety of packaging applications, such as boxes, cartons, and bags. 
  • Aluminum and steel: Metal cans and containers are easily recycled and can be used for food and beverage packaging.
  • Glass: This material is perfect for jars and bottles, and it can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality.
  • Plastics: Some plastics, like PET and HDPE, are commonly recycled for new packaging materials. However, not all plastics are recyclable, so it's essential to check local recycling guidelines.

Recyclable packaging is another powerful tool in the sustainability arsenal. By understanding and embracing both compostable and recyclable options, we can make a significant difference in the health of our planet and the sustainability  of our tea packaging.

Comparing Compostable and Recyclable Packaging

Now that we've explored both compostable and recyclable packaging, let's compare them. Each option has its pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on various factors.

Pros and Cons of Each Option

Compostable packaging shines in its ability to decompose into natural elements, reducing waste and supporting a circular economy. However, it may require specific composting conditions to break down properly. Additionally, some compostable materials might have shorter shelf lives than their non-compostcble counterparts. This is a key factor to consider if you are a CPG company with a longer shelf lives such tea, cofffee, cocoa.

Recyclable packaging conserves resources and reduces energy consumption, contributing to a more sustainable world. On the flip side, not all materials are widely recyclable and contamination can sometimes hinder the recycling process. National Geographic put the average actual recycled % at 32%.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Compostable and Recyclable Packaging

Here are some factors to keep in mind when deciding between compostable and recyclable packaging:

  • End-of-life disposal options: Consider the availability of recycling and composting facilities in your area and the ease of disposal for consumers.
  • Consumer awareness and education: Ensure your customers understand how to dispose of the packaging correctly to maximize its eco-friendly potential. Use clear & common signage.
  • Availability of recycling and composting facilities: Assess the infrastructure in your region to determine which option is more viable.
  • Costs and feasibility for businesses: Evaluate the financial and logistical implications of each packaging option for your business.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether compostable or recyclable packaging is the best fit for your needs. Ultimately, the goal is to minimize our environmental impact and foster a transparent, sustainable tea industry.

Examples of Tea Rebellion's Compostable and Recyclable Packaging

At Tea Rebellion, we're on a mission to challenge traditional tea practices and foster sustainability & transparency. Our commitment to transparent, eco-friendly packaging is just one way we are putting that into practice.

 We use compostable tea bags made from plant-based materials, ensuring that our teas are both delicious and eco-friendly. The transparent film that surrounds the pyramid bags inside the boxes is fully compostable. Additionally, our outer packaging for our boxed range is recyclable, further reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. 

Tea Rebellion's commitment to sustainable packaging is part of our broader goal to revolutionize the tea industry. We work directly with smallholders and cooperatives, fostering transparency and provenance in every aspect of our business. By championing sustainable practices and showcasing our award-winning teas, we aim to inspire change and challenge the status quo.


As we've seen, both compostable and recyclable packaging play a crucial role in protecting our environment for consumer and food products. It's essential for consumers and businesses alike to consider the impact of their packaging choices and adopt sustainable practices. 

So, are you ready to join Tea Rebellion? Together, we can fall in love with untainted, true-to-origin, flavourful teas and make a positive impact on our planet.

Raise the bar with Tea Rebellion and explore our range of award-winning teas today.