Tea purveyor Harney & Sons sought to improve the sustainability factor of its flexible pouch for loose teas—moving them from a non-recyclable pouch to a more favorable eco-friendly vessel. “Since 2006, we’ve been a member of 1 percent for the planet, and our goal is to move toward more recyclable and compostable components in our packaging,” says Emeric Harney, Harney & Sons marketing director. The company needed to locate a partner with the same vision to make this a reality and give back to the environment that grows the world’s teas. The company chose to partner with TC Transcontinental Packaging due to its strides in the custom development of sustainable flexible packaging films such as compostable films for coffee and compostable pouches for peanuts.
TC Transcontinental Packaging’s R&D team was called on to develop a custom flexible packaging film that met all of Harney & Sons criteria for a 100 percent recyclable loose tea flexible plastic pouch. To begin, a multilayer, flexible packaging barrier film was not currently commercialized for a food product. A multilayer, co-extruded film is essential to preserve the delicate flavor of tea by protecting the product’s natural oils that give tea leaves a smooth flavor and finish. An ideal structure for a flexible plastic stand-up pouch that will preserve the product will typically include PE (polyethylene)—serving up an excellent moisture barrier—and EVOH (ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer)—a material that provides superior barrier resistance to gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.