The Packaging of Tea

In recent years the packaging in which tea is sold has become completely shit.

For years and years and years it was not shit. (Note that this page is talking about packaging for tea leaves, not tea bags, because tea bags are shit in themselves and do not count.) Tea used to come in a thin cardboard carton, inside which was a paper bag with the actual tea in the bag. This was great. It was easy to open, it retained its integrity once it had been opened so you could continue to keep the tea in it, and it was entirely suited to recycling, whether by explicit means or by natural processes of decay.

Then they began to make it shit. The first thing they did was get rid of the paper bag and replace it with one made of thin metallised plastic - which, of course, cannot be recycled. This bag was shit. Instead of being just folded over at the top like the paper bag used to be, it was sealed, like a bag of crisps, only the seal was much bigger and the bag was much flimsier. And to make matters worse, the grain of the plastic was oriented perpendicular to the seal. So you had to open it like a bag of crisps but much more cuntily. Because the seal was much bigger than that on a bag of crisps, it wouldn't pull open easily. You had to heave and wrench at it and suffer difficulty pulling it hard enough without having it slip out of your hands. And then when it did come apart it would do so very suddenly, upon which the flimsy plastic with mis-oriented grain would split all down the side and spill the tea all over the floor. This was, of course, shit.

Still, at least it was still possible to close the flaps of the outer cardboard carton and keep the tea in the packet it came in. Not as easily as with the paper inner bag, because the process of opening the plastic bag would leave it with sticky-out bits that projected over the opening and tended to scrape the tea off the spoon as you were trying to spoon it out; unlike the paper bag the sticky-out bits would not stay put when you tried to bend them out of the way, and trying to tear them off didn't work either because the tear would inevitably fail to go the way you wanted it to and instead follow the grain of the plastic, ie. all down the side of the bag and spill tea everywhere. But at least it could be used to store the tea, even if not so easily.

It seems, though, that they did not think this was shit enough, so they changed it again and made it hugely massively shit. They got rid of the outer cardboard carton altogether and just put the tea in the metallised plastic bag, which they made much thicker and much more firmly sealed. This packaging is entirely arse. It consists entirely of non-recyclable material, and in much greater quantities than before. And it is impossible to get the fucking thing open. The bag and seal are so thick and tough that you'd think it was intended to confine a hatching Alien, not a passive pile of tea. It is not possible to pull it open by hand at all; you have to get the scissors out and cut it open. Needing a tool to open a packet of tea is utterly shit. And then once you have got it open you need a separate container to transfer the tea into. Yes, the tough-as-leather bag which needs to be cut open does avoid the problem of it splitting all down the side, but it also means it is useless for storing the tea while you use it. You try and fold it shut and it just unfolds itself and comes open again. Some of them do have a little bit of sticky tape attached to stick it shut with but this is no bleeding use because it loses its stickiness after two or three uses and might as well not be there at all. So the whole thing is arse.

So within the space of a few years, the packaging of tea has changed from a perfectly decent form which had done the job in an entirely satisfactory manner for several decades and had nothing fucking wrong with it at all, to a horribly shit form which cannot be recycled and is a complete and utter pain in the arse for every thing you have to do with it. Because the packagers are a bunch of total cunts.

I suppose it does have one minor advantage in that tea bags do still come in cardboard cartons, but the labelling is shit so you have to inspect them closely looking for the small print that tells you it contains arse tea in bog paper sachets instead of proper tea. It is easier to distinguish the real tea by looking for the shitty bags in a wall of boxes than by having to pick up each of the boxes and look for some little writing on them to find out what's inside. However, this does not count. It never used to be a problem to distinguish real tea from tea bags because the tea bag boxes used to say TEA BAGS in big letters so you could see what was in them straight away. Shitty packaging to reduce the disadvantages of shitty labelling is completely the wrong way of doing things because it is an instance of reducing a problem by making two shit things instead of eliminating the problem entirely by sticking with the old things which were not shit at all.

So fuck your plastic bags, you fucking wankers. Bring back the proper packaging with the cardboard cartons and paper liners and stuff the plastic shit up your arse. And for fuck's sake stop mislabelling the shit tea by making the words "tea bags" hard to see, because that is even more fucking stupid.


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