Our team here at DelighTeas recently went through a discovery process to learn how we could offer the most eco-friendly packaging. We understand that every part of our process affects us, our customers, and the planet, and we take great care in infusing positivity into everything we do. Enjoying loose tea is a very eco-conscious approach to enjoying tea, and our latest product line – Compostable Pyramid Tea Bags – allowed us to offer a convenient, portable tea solution that is completely eco-friendly. The tea bag packaging is recyclable paper, and the string, tag, and pouch they come in is 100% compostable.
We were determined to find a recyclable package for our loose teas, but quickly learned that the recycling world can still be confusing and unclear. Where does one go to recycle? Is it actually being recycled? What are all the numbers you see in the recycling symbol?
Our Discovery Process
Our stand-up pouch used for our loose teas and gluten-free, vegan cookies is what's called a multi-layer package (MLP). And while we were told at first that this can be recycled, the fact of the matter is, that most recycling facilities do not actually recycle it.
We looked into #4 plastic pouches which at a glance are also recyclable, however, when we checked across the states where it is accepted, turns out this also is rarely actually getting recycled. There were some options for using other materials, however, this then compromised the freshness of the product, which we were not willing to sacrifice.
We checked all the bins you'll see outside big stores, we checked with municipality regulations, we checked online, with our vendors, friends, and consultants, and ultimately did not find the ultimate recyclable bag, yet.
So, where did this leave us? With an Upcycling Solution.
What is Upcycling
Upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials into new products of higher quality or value. It is a form of recycling that creates something new and useful out of something that would otherwise be discarded. Upcycling can be done with a variety of materials, including old clothes, certain plastics, furniture, and appliances.
How to Upcycle
One of our best resources during this journey has been the Sustainability Advocate, Madison Madden. She educated us on Ridwell – a subscription-based program that collects hard-to-recycle items, picked up from your front door. We were grateful to find out that Ridwell offers a solution for giving new life to our multi-layer packages (MLP). Here is what Ridwell shared with us:
“What happens to MLP once it is collected by Ridwell? Ridwell processes, bales, and sends the MLP to their partners. MLP from our Seattle, South Sound, Bellingham, and Portland members go to Arqlite Company to be turned into microplastic-free and leach-free artificial stone used to support plant life, or to Hydroblox to be turned into water drainage material. MLP from the Bay Area members also goes to Arqlite, while MLP from our Denver, Minneapolis, and Austin members go to ByFusion to be turned into construction-grade building blocks. All of Ridwell's partners are giving your MLP a second life!"
We are very excited to have found this solution for our pouch packages. Please go to Ridwell.com to learn more and see available plans in your area.
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