Co-op is developing a fully biodegradable paper tea bag.
The retailer says it is the first to have found a solution to the problem of plastic waste caused by the product.
The industry generally uses polypropylene to enable teabags to hold their shape – cutting this out could save nine tonnes of plastic every year from being dumped into household rubbish.
Co-op, which sells around 367 million teabags each year, has joined forces with Typhoo to develop the new method of heat sealing bags and eliminate the use of widely-used plastic seals.
It says the new bags will be fully compostable in food waste collections.
Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food, said: “A cup of tea is part of our national psyche, so we felt it was imperative that we fix the problem as soon as possible.
“We’re absolutely committed to reducing plastic in our packaging and want to ensure that tea lovers can enjoy a guilt-free brew.”