SONNENTOR is growing and we are thrilled! At the same time, increasing interest in our products also means an increasing number of challenges. Nevertheless, we continue to focus on sustainability - also with our packaging.
Packaging should not just be pleasing for the eye. Especially for food products, it fulfills important tasks: It protects goods and their valuable ingredients, helps to transport them unharmed and ensures that customers receive important information on our products. At the same time, however, ever growing mountains of rubbish are created.
However, we will be part of this trend. For this reason, already back in 2008, we began to switch from conventional packaging such as plastic to sustainable materials. This has already saved some 100 tonnes of plastic - a valuable contribution to climate protection.
The search for plastic alternatives was not easy.
To qualify for the protection of our valuable goods, materials must meet a lot of criteria. At the same time, plastic rules the world of packaging: from packing processes to production machines, everything is designed for plastic. Finding ecological materials that are compatible with complex mechanisms has cost a lot of time and money. Not to mention the stresses of our quality management. We know, however, how important the issue is to our customers - and have persisted, successfully.
After numerous experiments, we finally found worthy companions for the protection of our products and the environment. Around 80% of our packaging materials are renewable raw resources. These include paper, cardboard, cellulose films and tea bags made of banana fiber and corn starch. What is not compostable can at least be recycled. 12% glass and 4% metal are recyclable. Still, are you unsure how to properly dispose of our packaging? Specific symbols on our packaging will help you dispose of it appropriately.
With new packaging innovations into the future
Although we use sustainable choices, we don’t rest on our laurels. We are constantly looking for alternatives and new solutions. Our goal is to minimize packaging materials as much as possible. That’s what we consistently work on. You, too, can contribute by using cloth bags instead of plastic bags and glass containers instead of plastic. There are many opportunities to renounce plastic in everyday life – give it a go!
Spices, loose teas, aroma protection, tea pyramids
Our spices and loose teas are packaged in degradable films made with renewable raw materials. Packaging consists of cellulose, which is made of wood. The wood comes from forests that are certified to be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), PEFC (Programs for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) or similar.
This film is certified as biodegradable and compostable according to EN13432. Disposal is therefore best done through the home compost. Depending on the heat change in your compost, the film will completely disappear after about 3 to 6 months.
Cellulose film after 8 weeks in compost:
The film used has excellent barrier properties to preserve the aromas of spices and teas.
Cellulose films have been scientifically tested (UHZ Zurich) and have also proven to be an effective barrier against mineral oil residues
- Biscuits (except honey hearts and Austrian vanilla cookies)
- all loose Teas
- samples / tasting packs (spices, wrapping of tea pyramid bags and tea bags, coffee whole bean, spice Try it!)
- Cellophane: The foil for the outer protection of the tea bag boxes consists of Cellulose
- Cover for teabag boxes
Only a few spices require plastic packaging, a list is given below
Pyramid tea bags
Our pyramid bags are made from cornstarch. The disposal of these bags can therefore be carried out safely in the compost.
- Tea pyramid bag
- tea bags
- Spice pyramids
Note: Genetic modification and corn starch
The priority in the selection of packaging materials for SONNENTOR is their compostability. We have accredited analysis results confirming that NO GMO-modified material could be detected in our packaging material used for our pyramid bags. Nevertheless, we cannot at present give a 100% guarantee if material used for pyramids contains exclusively GMO-free maize, since according to current scientific methods, a genetic change can no longer be detected 100% in the finished packaging material.
The aroma protection cover of the pyramid bags is made of cellulose and is thus compostable in your compost.
The SONNENTOR tea bags consist of fibers of the textile banana (Abacá) and selected cellulose fibers made of wood. The wood is FSC or PEFC certified. However, the up to two meters long hard fibers of the Abacá leaves are predominantly used for our tea bags, which can be disposed of in the compost. Our tea bags naturally have a brownish colour and have been bleached without the use of chlorine (TCF). In autumn 2016, we changed to unbleached paper. As a result, the environment is increasingly spared and energy is saved. The flavour of the tea, however, is not affected in any way.
- Tea infusion bags (both single chamber and double chamber bags)
- Tea chains
- Herbal baths
Paper and cardboard boxes
Paper and cardboard is cellulose and wood pulp. Both are made from wood and consist essentially of cellulose. This natural raw material is disposed of in the paper recycling.
- Tea boxes, spice boxes
- Cartons for shipping units (VE), transport boxes (TK)
- Tea cartons of tea pyramids premium packs
- Tea bags: paper wrappers for the single chamber teabags
Other packaging materials
The metals we use are usually made of tinplate or aluminum and belong in the metal recycle bin.
- Tea boxes for pyramid bags
- lids of honey, fruit spread, tea-já-vu, syrups, ....
In the case of composites, various materials are combined for optimum use in the production process. Those materials go into the residual waste. In some communities, composites are disposed of in the "yellow bin or bag". Please contact your disposal company for more information.
- Aroma protection packaging consists of 80% paper and 20% plastic PP (polypropylene). These packs can be disposed of waste paper (only in Austria).
- The new films for the "Viennese Temptation" coffee are made of PP matt (polypropylene) and PE (polyethylene) and does not contain any aluminum. The new packaging for whole bean also has an overpressure valve on the front which lets CO2 produced during the roasting escape, oxygen cannot get in and the coffee is protected from foreign odors. Additional information: our ground coffee does not need a valve, as gas escapes during the coffee grinding process.
- Single Origin Coffee - consists of paper with a PE layer. This packaging also has a valve.
- Re-sealing strips (e.g. for spices) are a composite material made of metal, plastic and paper
- Cacao tins, spice tins: a composite of cardboard, aluminum and PET (polyethylene terephthalate). The aluminum has no direct contact with the food.
Through innovation and ongoing improvements, the use of petroleum-based plastics has been greatly reduced. Our goal is to convert entirely to renewable raw materials. In some communities, composites are disposed of in the "yellow bin or bag". Please contact your disposal company for more information. Until we have achieved our goal, plastics, which can only be disposed in residual waste, are used for the following products:
Hand-packaged spices such as cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, sage leaves and saffron threads
- Sweet & Savoury: Gummi Bears, crackers, waffles, chocolates, ginger candied
- Cookies: honey hearts and Austrian vanilla cookies
- Coffee samples (for ground coffee)
- Outer cover of herbal pillows
- Cosmetic products
Our packaging symbols
These symbols indicate the origin and disposal of our packaging:
This symbol means: The film is made of cellulose (a renewable raw material) and compostable in the home compost.
By the way, all our teabags are compostable. This also applies to our tea pyramid bags as well as the completely natural adhesive material that attaches the cord to the tea bag.
Some teas are packaged in composite materials (80% paper and 20% plastic) to protect their natural flavours.
In Austria, this packaging material goes into the paper recycling. In Germany and Switzerland it is considered residual waste, which is why it is labelled with the symbol "residual waste".