Approximately 165 million cups of tea every day in the UK alone, creating some 370,000 tonnes of waste every year. To tackle this problem Unilever has launched a partnership with two Essex councils and the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) to change consumer habits and encourage Essex residents to recycle their teabags.
According to food and consumer product manufacturing giant, Unilever the vast majority of tea drinkers habitually dispose of their used wet teabags in the bin - a situation that as the owner of the PG Tips brand it is keen to remedy.
Unilever said that it is the largest tea buyer in the world, buying about 12% of the world's supply of black tea and producing one in every four tea bags sold across the globe
The campaign, which is being run with partners Brentwood Borough Council and Chelmsford Council, is to kick off with widespread advertising which will be visible on six sheet posters at bus shelters and in local newspapers, ensuring the positive message is prominent at home and while out and about.
Adverts, featuring PG tips' Monkey character, advise tea drinkers that they can dispose of used tea bags in their kerbside food waste collection and do their bit to reduce the waste Essex sends to landfill.
According to WRAP, tea is by far the largest element of unavoidable food waste produced in the UK, above items such as fruit peels and onion skins, accounting for circa 370,000 tonnes of waste every year.
Unilever said that this campaign, which marks the first time that any of the parties have worked to promote tea bag recycling, supports it commitment to reduce waste to landfill by 50% within the next eight years.
Paul Sherratt, global packaging and sustainability director - beverages at Unilever explained that in order to achieve the goals set out in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan the company needs to collaborate with organisations such as WRAP, as well as local councils in order to encourage consumers to recycle wherever they can.
"Only through such partnerships can we really begin to tackle such challenges," he added.
Marcus Gover, director of the Closed Loop Economy at WRAP said: "With 52% of local authorities now offering food waste collections, we encourage people to recycle as much of their food waste as possible."
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