by Mike Harney October 05, 2019 1 min read 43 Comments

About a week has passed since the report came out about petroleum particles. Here is what we have done:
  • We have read and disseminated the complete report. Knowledge is power.
  • We have been discussing this report with a professor to understand the science. After all, we know tea not plastic. 
  • We have been in discussions with the Canadian Tea Association, since the report came from Canada.
  • Our goal is to find a material that allows for our valued customers to continue to enjoy the convenience of sachets without worrying what petroleum based plastics do to themselves and the world.

Solutions:

  • We continue to believe that sugarcane based polylactic acid is the best chance of that. That is why we have been working with it for over a year. However we have had a problem getting a tag attached. Hopefully, this week we can get that solved.
  • We continue to trial it at the University of Houston, as well as providing these polylactic acid sachets in compostable 50 CT Sachet bags. They wanted a greener solution and this made more sense than material from genetically modified corn. 
  • We have ordered more of that material.
  • We are investigating what happens to this material in hot water and the initial report is promising, but more work needs to be done to be conclusive.
  • We have cancelled any orders for petroleum based material. We are burning our boats and changing.
Please let us know of any questions that you may have.
Mike Harney
Mike Harney


43 Responses

Laurie
Laurie

November 23, 2019

Thank you for addressing this issue so quickly, honestly, and transparently. It shows your professionalism and regard for your customers!

Carrie
Carrie

November 21, 2019

I just learned of this sachet concern from a friend yesterday. I did a quick search for “Harney & Sons” + “Sachet” and found this. THANK YOU for being so forth coming, honest, and actionable. I love Harney tea and I’m excited to see what the company comes up with.

Thank you for continuing to make superior tea and look out for you loyal customers at the same time.

Peter Forman
Peter Forman

November 21, 2019

Would be happy with sencha in “sugar-cane” bags without tags in 50 unit bags.
Any way of making this available until you figure out the tag issue?

Rob Sloan
Rob Sloan

November 07, 2019

The favorable comments about how you’re taking action are spot on. Thank you! I’d like to add my support for your not being concerned with maintaining the sachets but going with paper and no tag. If the teas were offered in a cardboard container it would easy to transfer them to airtight containers to maintain freshness. I’m sure a lot of your customers save previously used tins and it’s easy to relabel them. Such packaging would also support efforts customers make to recycle and compost.

No No
No No

October 29, 2019

Brice: Yes, absolutely serging the tag onto the seam tail can be done. Anybody old enough remember when Fauchon (Paris) made (or subcontracted) their own cotton-cheesecloth tea bags in the 1980s, has seen just such a tail and lockstitch-sewn-on tag at the end of the braid. The question is, how much did it cost and did it take hand labor to fit the tag and trim? [Harneys: I willingly paid the premium for those Fauchon bags, and switched only because Fauchon stopped selling them. I later switched to your bags from Tea Forte because yours were nylon instead of PET, and had no wasteful “pyramid packaging”. I doubt you will publish this comment, but take it to heart: cotton is, as the Cotton Board keeps reminding us, “the fabric of our lives”, as opposed to “the petroleum products of our death.” On the other hand, I’m positive that Fauchon heavily bleached their inexpensive cotton; so who knows what byproduct I ingested, heh!]

Kirsten
Kirsten

October 23, 2019

I would love to see the HT teas loose leaf. I’ve taste-tested all of your breakfast teas, and the HT English Breakfast is my favorite. I don’t want to ingest microplastics, but I also do not want to give up my favorite tea.
Also, is there any action being taken for those of your customers who have already purchased your plastic teabags? An exchange program or something? In the meantime, I will continue to drink my HT English Breakfast tea, removing it from the bag & brewing it loose leaf. (It won’t solve the plastic waste problem, but it takes care of the plastic ingestion problem!)

Michelle
Michelle

October 23, 2019

Thank you for being so quick to address concerns regarding the results of this study. I love your tea and look forward to enjoying it far into the future without any worries.

Kat
Kat

October 23, 2019

When will these new sachets be available for purchase? I buy from Barnes and Noble

Jenny
Jenny

October 21, 2019

I originally bought the sachets because they were convenient and offered in bulk. I’d like to see tea in the paper tea bags, without the foil packaging. Kind of like Celestial Seasonings but maybe you can offer 20+ in a tin and 50+ in a bag.

Nadia
Nadia

October 16, 2019

I’m with Amy, I would be fine with a paper to go product. No need to complicate things with a plastic “sachet”. If the purposes of purchasing plastic are so important because it lends to a superior brew, supplying your own container is advised. I believe harney and sons has made its position that plastic is not welcome in its teas.

Donald James Pfundstein
Donald James Pfundstein

October 16, 2019

Thank you for taking the steps you have already. I look forward to your continued success and great tea.

Cathy Robb
Cathy Robb

October 12, 2019

I actually cut the tag off before pouring the hot water over it. (I like to leave the tea sachet in my cup while I drink it b/c I like my tea strong.)

Amy
Amy

October 12, 2019

Very much appreciate this effort and your prompt action in light of the study, but why not focus on/emphasize the safe (for people and the environment) paper tea bags you already sell? Sachets are pretty but not necessary for a good cup of tea, which is what most of us really care about when we buy Harney’s!

Brenda M Platt
Brenda M Platt

October 12, 2019

I love that you are taking a proactive approach to this…. I think I will have a cup of tea to celebrate!!!

Michele
Michele

October 12, 2019

Thank you Harney and Sons! I appreciate your dedication to addressing this. In the mean time can we get the pretty tins (for the 20 count sachets) available for loose leaf? #LooseLeaf #ThatTinThough #HtblendsGotTheBestPackaging

Autumn Elizabeth Michaels
Autumn Elizabeth Michaels

October 12, 2019

Thank you so much for striving for excellence and caring about the earth and the health of your customers! This is why we love Harney. I am particularly interested in fully biodegradeable sachets. I stopped purchasing sachets when I realized they are not biodegradeable.

Taran Tucker
Taran Tucker

October 12, 2019

This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am getting low on my current Harney & Sons tea and was extremely sad because I love your teas (currently drinking the Victorian London Fog and the Tower of London blends) and was thinking I might not be able to buy more in good conscience. Thank you for keeping us up to date on your efforts to provide us with the best tea experience and keep the earth clean.

Deborah Gardiner
Deborah Gardiner

October 12, 2019

You could also ask the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to comment on the Canadian teabag study and request their toxicology division to review. The FDA is responsible for US public safety for all food substances, package material, and labeling. I believe tea is considered a food, particularly now with all the natural fruit additives. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency may also want to comment on the teabag study.

Lesley McPherson
Lesley McPherson

October 12, 2019

Michael Harney you continue to impress me. I trust Harney and Son. Thank you for staying on top of the situation but most importantly thanks for taking a leadership role for being transparent. I have always preferred my tea loose so I am thankful that Harney’s provides loose, teabags, and sachets. I as a customer know that you have your customer’s best interests at heart.

Pamela Lannutti
Pamela Lannutti

October 08, 2019

Thank you for this update and for working to address the issue.

FERNANDO GARCIA
FERNANDO GARCIA

October 08, 2019

Great job Mike! Proud to be Harney & Sons distributors.

Cathy Tenzo
Cathy Tenzo

October 08, 2019

Although I prefer loose tea it’s nice to sometimes have the convenience of a sachet. You say you are having trouble attaching tags—I wonder if that is something you need to do. I used to buy Celestial Seasonings tea, and they have boxes full of tea with untagged sachets. Anyone who has a canister of a certain flavor of sachets will know which kind they are, and can use a spoon to remove them from the tea. Just a thought. Love your tea!

Cynthia Bishop
Cynthia Bishop

October 07, 2019

I have one more reason to talk up your company now…Thank you for helping us have more healthy options with our tea purchases. I loved the convienence of the sachets…but stopped buying them years ago when informed of possible plastic leaking into our tea cups….i am a customer for life and tell people all the time about how great cinnamon sunset is….now i have another reason to talk up your company….cindy b

jonny e kutz
jonny e kutz

October 07, 2019

At this point I have no problem using the sachets and will continue to buy them.
A report comes out stating something could be a problem but there are too
many variables.
There have been flawed studies before.

Merri Rosenberg
Merri Rosenberg

October 07, 2019

Good for you. Relieved you’re taking this issue seriously and doing what you can for the environment and your customers’ health.
We buy teas only from you. Thanks for all you do,

Tim Knab
Tim Knab

October 07, 2019

Mike, I teach a course on sustainable development here at the UDLAP in Cholula, Puebla, México and I wish there were more companies who would do what youn have done.I have been a fan of your teas since you started out and think you have done a GREAT job. Keep up the good work.

Jennifer
Jennifer

October 07, 2019

Thank you for taking steps to make sure your product is as healthy as possible. I appreciate your initiative to keep your customers up-to-date on your actions.

Meredith Childress
Meredith Childress

October 07, 2019

I love and trust Harney & Sons. It’s refreshing and comforting (important these days) to know you’re watching out for us. Thanks for your diligence and care toward good things now and in the future.

Catherine Pezze
Catherine Pezze

October 06, 2019

Thank you so much for being a responsible,family business. We will happily continue to enjoy your teas and the occasional visit to the tea room.Your efforts are TRULY appreciated!
Best
Cath

Lara Guerra
Lara Guerra

October 07, 2019

Thank you for actively pursuing options to the plastic based tea bags! I know this is a huge shift for you all but I am confident that you will be the leaders in developing new packaging. Thank you for being transparent! I always purchase my tea in bulk and use an over the cup infuser but I appreciate everything that Harney is doing. Please don’t publish this comment — I just want to let you all know how I feel about this.

Meda Brown
Meda Brown

October 06, 2019

Thank you for acting swiftly! I will be using a tea ball until further notice.

Mary jo Rebbe
Mary jo Rebbe

October 06, 2019

Thank you so much for the update! That means a lot

Karen Reed
Karen Reed

October 06, 2019

Thank you for your commitment!

Candace Welsh
Candace Welsh

October 06, 2019

I very much appreciate all your research and work on our, your consumer’s and our planet’s, behalf. You are a great company with delicous tea and best practices for all. Thank you!

Thomas M. Huber
Thomas M. Huber

October 06, 2019

I trust Harney and Sons.
I am sure you will use a material that is both safe and convenient.

Oscar serrano
Oscar serrano

October 06, 2019

Harney is my main tea provider and I have most of the blends in my home.
This method of dealing and following up with a problem is extremely professional and proves that Harney indeed cares about the actual product that is being sold. To some, tea may represent a ridiculous item which you can get over the counter on any supermarket, but to others it is a ritual that represents the fullness of life in a moment of peace. Harney understands that thus the reason I will keep buying and am writing a comment on this page on a saturday evening at a bar.

Laural Chapman
Laural Chapman

October 07, 2019

For years now I have used tea socks I got from Murchie’s in Canada. I love them as they are not only reusable but the socks do not allow the fine particles through that the metal filters do, so more tea is drinkable. They are very usable but only come in 1 size. Would really like to see a variety of sizes appropriate for Cups, travel mugs, etc. I do like your sachets, but also realize that a tea sock that can be used while traveling would be much more environmentally friendly. The tea socks I use are made of cotton.

Jenna C Bove
Jenna C Bove

October 06, 2019

This report makes me extremely happy, not only for the benefit of my body, and of those I love, but also the planet, which I care deeply for. Your company is truly a thoughtful, quality brand that I couldn’t be more proud to continually invest in with my purchases. I love you, Harney & Sons♡

Deborah Fisher
Deborah Fisher

October 06, 2019

Hi Mike, Thank you for your environmental commitment. I have been and will continue to be one of the biggest fans of your tea, your people, and your company.
Debbie

Lisa Staley
Lisa Staley

October 06, 2019

Just another reason for loving your fabulous company! Thank you to your dedication to bringing us the very best in tea!

Katie Robert
Katie Robert

October 06, 2019

Thanks for making this effort. Many of us tea drinkers are not only concerned for our health but also about not adding more plastic to our oceans which seems to be where everything ends up.

Diane Moore
Diane Moore

October 06, 2019

Thank you for caring, and good luck with it. I am a firm believer in that “we are what we eat.” These days with so many foods being GMO, being saturated with Roundup, I only buy Certified Organic foods. I’ve started drinking only Certified Organic LOOSE teas for this reason. What’s the point in buying organic teas if the bags contain things that are bad for us. I have a serious fear of Cancer, and am doing my best to eat and live a healthy lifestyle to avoid it. Thanks for selling excellent teas. I’m a confirmed Tea-a-holic, and drink it all day, every day. (I’m Dutch, have lived in the UK and a few other countries, so appreciate GOOD teas!

Brice Bunner
Brice Bunner

October 07, 2019

I’m wondering for the tag attachment method, whether or not it could be done in the stitching of the side? Like a serger seam that has gone too long, could it simply create a tail that a paper tag could be added to? I love that you’re looking into a change for this. Keep up the great work and thank you for letting us know you’re on this.
Cheers!

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