Arbor Teas Packaging Wins Gold for Sustainability

Posted by Arbor Teas on 12th Mar 2021

FPA Gold Award in Sustainability

On March 10, 2021 the Arbor Teas backyard compostable packaging was awarded the Gold Award in Sustainability by the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). FPA's 65th Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition honored flexible packaging solutions that meet expectations and needs through advancements in materials, graphics, structure, new uses, extended shelf life and sustainability. This year, 20 packages were honored out of 201 entries. The FPA Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards competition is among the most respected in the industry thanks to the outstanding caliber of packaging entries and the objective and methodical judging process.

This honor was shared with the manufacturers of our packaging films, Polykar and Futamura, and printer/converter Eagle Flexible Packaging. Our partnership with these innovative companies made our dreams of creating a no-waste packaging system a reality -- thank you!

Futamuro holding signs saying We are a Packaging Solution not Packaging Pollution
Our partners at Futamuro - "We are a packaging solution, not packaging pollution."

On Earth Day 2010, Arbor Teas became the first tea company in the United States to deliver a full line of organic loose teas in backyard compostable packaging, offering a sustainable alternative to our customers. Since then we have continued to refine and improve that package as part of our motto “never stop improving.” The most recent award winning iteration is comprised of two backyard compostable films. The printed web layer is composed of NatureFlex™ from Futamura, a cellulose film made from wood pulp. The thin film is sourced from sustainably managed trees, composts quickly, and is lightweight, meaning there is less to ship. Laminated over the printed layer is sealant layer PKBIO200C from Polykar. This film is derived from partially bio-based resin, from corn feedstock. It has high clarity, a low seal initiation temperature, and the resin it comes from is certified to ASTM D-6400 industrial compostable, plus is home-compostable by TUV in Europe.

While this lamination achievement was enough to convince FPA judges of the Gold Award, our bag’s backyard compostability chops don’t end there. It also features a sugar cane-based backyard compostable label created by  Pure Labels. The sugar cane fibers are collected from sugar cane waste, thereby diverting waste from landfills to paper production. They are adhered with an innovative compostable adhesive that is vegan and meets the requirements of DIN CERTCO and BPI for biodegradability and compostability in addition to being compliant with the ASTM D6868.

Finally, our backyard compostable bags are lighter than our earlier packaging (metal tin, paperboard tube and kraft bag), and lighter than many other options on the market. Overall, we were able to reduce the weight of our packaging materials by more than 60%. This translates to a meaningful reduction in the carbon footprint of Arbor Teas’ operations. And in response to customer requests, this packaging also accommodates more tea. On average, Arbor Teas packages contain 27% more tea than they did previously, a unique reversal of the “shrinkflation” trend in the broader marketplace. And, as always, we keep our tea loose - which means we do not confine our tea inside single serve tea bags or K-cups, but loosely hand pack it inside one bulk package. This eliminates the need for extra material and keeps it out of the waste stream. The result, more tea and less packaging!

Read more about Our Commitment to Sustainability

Watch the 65th Annual FPA Achievement Awards!