IN-STORE In addition to our refillable zero-waste tea tins, if you forget to bring your empty Silk Road tins with you, ask to have loose teas refilled into brown bags.
ONLINE Got empty Silk Road tins at home? Select “refill” when you select the size of tea you are getting & it will arrive in a refill.
RE-USE IS BETTER THAN RECYCLING We began our tea refill program 25 years ago. Thanks to you, we’ve refilled over 100,000 tins! Many of you have been refilling the same tins for decades, which is a huge reduction in energy use.
Our new brown bags are 100% recyclable, compostable, biodegradable & made of post-consumer recycled paper. But low impact isn’t no impact - bags take trees & energy to produce, which is why re-use is better than recycling. So we encourage you to keep bringing empty tins to refill in-store. Re-use of tins is a zero-waste option, whereas bags are minimal waste. If you reuse something 6 times, your actions equate to not disposing of 5 of those items. Refill the same tin for 2, 5, 10 or 20 years & the positive impact is significant.
CAN I STORE TEA IN THE BROWN BAG? No, it is a short term method for transport only & not suitable for storing. It will not maintain tea’s freshness, nutrients & flavour. It does not protect against exposure to air, liquid or moisture. Air exposure causes nutrient & flavour loss; liquid/moisture causes tea to mildew. As soon as you get home from the shop, or when it arrives in the mail, transfer tea immediately into Silk Road tins - they are designed to preserve the tea.
CAN I STORE TEA IN A GLASS JAR? No. Exposure to light & heat degrades tea - it looks pretty in glass, but quickly loses flavour & nutrient value. In contrast, when stored in our tins, tea retains healthful properties & taste for 6 to 12 months because the tin blocks exposure to light, air & repels heat.
CAN I BRING IN MY OWN JAR, TUPPERWARE, BAG OR A TIN NOT FROM SILK ROAD FOR REFILL? Not at this time. Alternative containers pose challenges we haven’t solved yet, but we are working on it. Many of you tell us you choose Silk Road for the purity of the ingredients & that this is highly valued for kids, yourselves, workplaces & for anyone with health concerns. It’s rare to find a company which never uses artificial flavours, gluten, soy, dairy, sweeteners, dyes or additives. Refilling a tin from another tea brand, or a miscellaneous container or bag from home, creates a possibility our teas could be cross contaminated with artificial flavours (a hidden source of gluten, soy, dairy & dyes), pesticide residues (if it’s not organic) or other items.
We are also one of very few companies who offer a food grade certified tin that is suitable for direct contact between tea & the tin. If you’ve purchased tea, candies, cookies, spices or food items in a tin & the food items were in a bag inside the tin & not in direct contact with the tin, it is likely that tin is not food grade. In that case, tea or food should never make direct contact with the tin & are not suitable for tea. Tins purchased at craft, hardware & dollar stores are often not food grade. Unfortunately tins are not marked to indicate if the lining is safe, so a consumer can’t just tell by looking. Our new brown bag tea refills are not the end of the eco-friendly refill options we want to offer you! We are actively working on solutions to the concerns we’ve identified, but in the meantime we are not able to offer options other than:
Refilling your Silk Road tea tins
Getting a brown bag tea refill
REFILL DISCOUNTS & SIZES For a limited time, the discount on brown bag refills is the same as tin refills. In the future, we will charge a small fee for brown bags to reflect that there is still a cost to the planet when they are used & recycled. All tin sizes except mini-tins can be refilled in brown bags. We encourage you to bring empty mini-tins in-store for refill, but we don’t offer a brown bag refill for these because it’s environmentally wasteful for such a small size.
CAN I BRING A SILK ROAD BROWN BAG BACK INTO THE SHOP FOR REFILL? No – it is can easily absorb anything it’s been in contact with. Please re-use it for something else & eventually compost it.
CAN I REFILL TEABAGS? This program is for loose teas only, but we’re working on teabag refills!
CAN I REFILL SKIN & BODYCARE? We have tried this & very reluctantly had to suspend it because Silk Road skin & bodycare are made with all-natural, preservative free ingredients. Chemical-free products are wonderful for you & the planet, but they are more perishable & need special care. If you refill a container that isn’t sterile, it causes the products to go off very quickly. We are continuing to look into ways to bring this program back.