IT took some Mrs Doyle levels of persuasion but one of the country's favourite tea companies is finally preparing to phase out plastic from its teabags.
Barry's Tea says it has successfully trialled a 100pc plant-based teabag that is fully compostable and biodegradable, and it expects to start using it in the coming months.
Campaigners who have been calling on the company to make the switch say, however, they were promised the company would turn over a new leaf in early 2018 so they remain to be convinced.
Michelle Byrne, of Uplift, which has been keeping a running online tally on consumption of the company's teabags, said more than seven billion had been used in Ireland since the pledge was made. Barry's did not dispute the figure.
"We hope they'll do it this time but we'll be keeping the pressure on, and our counter going, until we see the teabags on the shelves," she said.
Plastic has been widely used in teabags to stop them bursting but that means they can not be composted without releasing tiny fragments of plastic into the soil.
Barry's said it had to have new machinery built, and Covid had delayed the process.
"In recent weeks, the new machines have arrived and the installation of these is a key priority which is well under way. Our ambition is to have completed the process, which includes comprehensive trials, by the end of this year," it said.
Lyons already has plastic-free bags on shop shelves but other brands and own-brand teas still use plastic, and Ms Byrne said ideally legislation should be brought in to force producers to change.
"There is a ban on single-use plastics on the way and we think teabags should be included," she said.
"In the meantime, if we can get these big brands to change, we can use it as leverage to get others to follow."
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