Taylors of Harrogate Case Study - Packaging

Taylors balance environmental impact with the need to preserve quality and freshness for their customers. The business, which is home to Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee, has made significant investments in the sustainability of its products and is working with its supply chain towards Carbon Neutral Product certification in 2019, having already switched to 100% renewable energy in its own business. Their journey to carbon neutrality includes offsetting the carbon from packaging, but Taylors are also actively developing alternatives to unnecessary plastic use throughout their operations.

Early in 2018, Taylors of Harrogate established a taskforce to review and significantly reduce its plastic footprint. The business was committed to setting hard targets for plastic reduction across its product range and signed up to WRAP's UK Plastic Pact to work in line with their 2025 targets. Measuring their baseline footprint was the starting point to eliminating their most impactful and most unnecessary plastics.

With almost a third of the plastic Taylors consume being embedded in its teabag paper (teabags are commonly heat sealed using polypropylene), the business quickly committed to switching from material containing polypropylene to a renewable and biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) alternative. Production trials at Taylors have been successful and the PLA teabags are now being phased into retail distribution, aiming to switch all its teabags to the new material in 2019.

Segregating and recycling plastic waste is also important to Taylors, and the business has already achieved zero waste to landfill. Some of their waste is reused and repurposed through their unique community recycling project, the Cone Exchange. The project takes waste materials from Taylors factory and other local companies and works with Yorkshire schools, community groups, social enterprises and charities to transform trash into treasure and encourage young people to become environmentally aware.

“The sustainability of our products has long been important to us and we've been working hard to balance our carbon emissions and to create a resilient supply chain. That said, the call to action from our customers and the framework of WRAP's plastic pact has really helped us to move fast and with purpose to reduce the plastic footprint of our Yorkshire Tea range.”

Simon Hotchkin Head of Sustainable Development, Taylors of Harrogate