113 Nature Skilfully threaded Among all the different elements that make up our teas there is one which invariably slips under the radar It is the part which actually holds everything together and makes our tea bags a convenience in the first place the thread This kind of tea bag thread is a standard product and some times it feels like it has always been the same cotton fine tear resistant leaving no taste With the subject of genetic engineering casting its net in creasingly wider and now being discussed in relation to cotton we turned to our partner doubling mill We quickly established that genetically modified cotton was not being used for our thread and would not be either We were ob viously pleased about this but since we were taking a clos er look at the thread anyway we decided to go even further In mid 2013 we put our heads together with the doubling mill to find out whether there was any organic cotton on the market which could satisfy organic cotton thread require ments And it turned out there was Sample spools were promptly prepared for our tea machines so we were able to carry out the first tests in 2014 We need ed to make sure the new thread reeled off as smoothly and quickly as the old one A new tea machine with a slightly different design was added in 2014 Production using the new thread was also tested directly on this With success Time for a real test would the thread also reel off over several hours and days without a hitch As we could not take machines out of normal operations for this we tested the thread directly in our products We first had to obtain the necessary specifications declarations and approvals for this through our Quality Control department as the thread would end up in our finished goods after all Because of this and as it takes somewhat longer to procure the new thread we were only able to start the real test in mid 2015 And everything went like clockwork It doesn t normally take quite as long to switch packaging However the inconspicuous thread is an element which has to work at various speeds without disruption on our tea bag machines It must not give off fluff or get caught while reeling off and the thread thickness should remain the same throughout the entire spool After all if there is a problem with the thread our machines stop running And if our machines stop running there are no tea bags Little thread big impact Hence it is important to thoroughly test these materials The additional annual costs of 3 000 to 4 000 euros for the new organic thread with 500 million tea bags are well worth the investment We are now in the process of using up our old thread so that we can switch over completely to the new organic cotton thread after all it would not be very sustainable to sim ply throw the old thread away

Vorschau Sustainability Report 2016 Seite 119
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