Quali-tea paper

A trustworthy partner to some of the biggest names in the tea and coffee industry, Union Papertech has recently reiterated its environmental commitment with the launch of Puri Seal Green – a 100 per cent biodegradable filtration paper

Some 50 years have elapsed since the Simpson Clough mill site started to manufacture and supply high-quality filtration paper, predominantly for tea and coffee products. During this time, the company has become a very well-known entity within the industry, gaining recognition and prominence not least because of its involvement in the creation of Tetley’s first round teabag in the 1980s.

Customarily using the latest technology, Union Papertech is viewed as an extremely innovative and versatile manufacturer within the tea and coffee industry. In fact, what unites the three most used products within the single-serve coffee market – K-cups, Nespresso compatible pods, and Tassimo pods – is that all three of the original products used paper that was developed by the company.

Furthermore, the business has traded in other market sectors, too, including the food packaging industry and other non-food applications. For example, Union Papertech’s paper has been used for ‘boil in a bag’ products such as Knodel potato pouches. Known for its ability to create bespoke products, the company has engineered papers that are thick enough to hold solid food without ripping or tearing, as well as allowing the boiling water to pass through.

Thanks to harnessing flexible production platforms and complex multiple-capability lines, Union Papertech has been able to create innovative products on a scale that does not deter brand commitment, yet, at a consistency of quality, which is representative of a full-brand scale. This versatility has enabled several global leaders to develop new market segments like the coffee capsule, which is an area where Union Papertech was, is, and will remain at the forefront of development.

Where all the magic happens for the company is the aforementioned Simpson Clough Mill in Heywood – a veritable temple for Union Papertech, and one with a rich history dating back to the late days of the First Industrial Revolution. Opened in the 1840s, it originally operated as a fulling mill, which processed wool for use in clothing. It was not until 1946 that it became a paper mill, using conventional tissue machines to produce Bible paper. Then, in 1974, the machines were upgraded and production of specialty filtration paper commenced. As teabags rose in popularity in Britain, so did the production of teabag paper at the mill and today, it manufactures over 6000 tonnes of paper every year. In 2006, Simpson Clough was purchased by the Puri family and with this, Union Papertech became part of the prestigious Purico Group.

New launch
‘Saving the planet one cup at a time’ is how the company introduces its latest product – the innovative Puri Seal Green, which was released into the marketplace in May 2019. The award-winning 100 per cent biodegradable heat-sealable filtration paper has been designed using new technology to combat the issue of microplastic pollution from regular filter papers often used in tea bags and coffee pods.

Produced using corn starch and vegetable sugars, the compostable bioplastic replaces plastics in heat-sealable filter papers, allowing end consumers to dispose of their products with a clear conscience either at home or with their local authority. During the extensive product trials, Puri Seal Green has offered seamless interchangeability with regular paper, whilst providing dependable seal strength with no impact on taste or quality. It is available in a range of finishes such as plain, patterned, and logo, and is suitable for applications in tea bags, various coffee capsules, and more.

The new Puri Seal Green line epitomises everything that Union Papertech looks out for when making its paper. And if compostability is a new feature that is set to appear in every new product from now on, the emphasis on safety, strength, infusion, and taste has been established long ago.

Opportunities going forward
As paper is made from a combination of elements that travel for thousands of miles before going through various processes to end up in the consumer’s kitchen, Union Papertech utilises modern technology to perform multiple in-depth tests to detect any errors, impurities, and/or foreign objects, and ensure it is safe for the public. Further testing is then done to assess the strength of the paper and guarantee that it can withstand the conditions of making a brew.

Moreover, while it is imperative that the paper does not fall apart, it also has to allow the water to travel through it and mix with the tea leaves. When creating its product, Union Papertech makes sure that the tiny holes are big enough only for the water, and not the leaves, to pass through. Closely related to that consideration, is ensuring that the paper does not leave any taste behind in the cup other than that of the tea or coffee inside.

To back the claims it makes about the unrivalled quality of its paper, Union Papertech has also worked hard to obtain a series of certificates for numerous standards. Throughout the years, the business has secured ISO, BRC, Kosher, and Halal accreditations, thus building on to its reputation.

‘A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all’. Such is the conviction of Union Papertech and for this reason, the business goes to great lengths to keep its customers happy. It is the normal state of order for the organisation to have 100 per cent of its clients pleased year-on-year, with minor, bordering the insignificant, faults recorded. Tasked to maintain its impeccable record in the years 33to come, is Union Papertech’s new Managing Director, Matthew Miller, who was appointed in September 2019.

Mr Miller’s extensive experience in engineering and improving products’ environmental credentials is a clear hint of the course the company is going to keep. The focus will be on discovering opportunities for the new Puri Seal Green paper to take the company to the next level. However, Union Papertech is not to limit itself just to growing within its established hot beverage markets. Instead, it is ready to brew up a storm in the broader filtration paper industry. Watch this space!