Packaging and Waste

Packaging is a constant headache for us - retailers and legislation push for more and packaging with greater functionality (our most hated phrase because this always translates into something that is bad).

Care is taken to ensure that all packing used by material suppliers is kept to a minimum and can be recycled and/or reused and/or is biodegradeable.  We are looking for packaging that's from renewable resources.  And wherever possible, we work with small, local (that is Yorkshire, England) producers.

In effect, this means that wherever possible we use paper products (paperboard, corrugated and packaging), cotton textiles, glass, steel and aluminium.  These materials are all very successfully recycled both in terms of being effectively recycled and that we're all good at actually recycling them.  Plastics on the other hand are more difficult to sort for recycling and we are all less inclined to actually recycle.


Reduce the environmental impact of Steenbergs packaging through:

  • Eliminating excess packaging;
  • Reducing the amount of necessary packaging through redesigning;
  • Eliminating environmentally unsustainable packaging;
  • Promoting novel new sustainable packaging options and techniques;
  • Working with packaging suppliers with demonstrable environmental strategies.

What Packaging Does Steenbergs Use?

Outer Packaging: Most of our transit packing boxes are made by Garthwest from a recycled single board and is fully recyclable, home compostable and biodegradable.

Cushion Packaging: We do not use plastic or similar chips or cushion packaging for transit.  We reuse clean cardboard that we receive to fill gaps for trade orders and kraft paper made by Ranpak, with individual products wrapped in a paper made by Geami.  This is all fully recyclable, home compostable and biodegradable.

Glass Jars: The majority of our spices are packed in glass containers made by a German business called Noelle + Campe, or the mini jars by Piramal Glass in Gujarat, India.  They can be recycled through the normal glass recycling schemes - so go to your local recycling centre or use a kerbside scheme run by your local authority.  Lids are made for us by Elmoris in Lithuania.

Tamper Proof Plastic Seals: Most tamper seals on Steenbergs' products are paper tamper seals.  For extracts, we use PET tamper proof seals that are made by CCL Labels; these are recyclable.  During 2019, we removed the tamper evident seals on our tea cartons and stuffings boxes, because these were plastic and deemed unnecessary packaging, because the bags inside were already sealed, i.e. had their own tamper evident seals.

Labels: Our labels are made for us by Norpak.  They are made from recyclable paper, printed with vegetable oil based inks and use a water-based varnish.  Since we began, the varnish has changed from petrochemical-based varnish to a water-based varnish.  We are looking at shifting the glue to a water-soluble glue, which is less intensive on the environment.

Tea and Spice Tins: These are made from stainless steel with a tin coating, plus a varnish finish.  They are made in Guangdong, China.  At present, all tins come from China, which is a downside, and we ship too much air when these are transported.  On the plus side, they are reusable and recyclable.  The clear window is PET that can be recycled if you need to do this, rather than reuse the tins.

Tea Cartons: The cartons are made for us by East Kent Cartons and can be recycled or composted.  The film inside is currently polypropylene which can be recycled or waste-to-energy, but see below about "plastic" film.

Fabric Mulling Bags: The materials consist dedsuiti cotton, processed in Accrington from Turkish cotton.  The ribbon is dyed polyester that cannot be recycled at present; however for 2020 we are shifting from virgin polyester to one made from recycled drinks bottles, via a certified scheme.  The mulled wine sachets are currently packed into polypropylene film.

Plastic Film

Currently, the film we use for mulling spices is polypropylene film.  However, we are switching over to a non-plastic "plastic", made from cellophane at its core with bioplastics on its outside to create a barrier that can also be heat sealed.  The corn comes from non-GMO corn grown in France.  This new film is made in Yorkshire by Parkside Flexibles and is home compostable and leaves no microplastics in your compost.


For details on the best ways of recycling Steenbergs packaging, please refer to the tables in the recycling section .