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Archives for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

How Sweet It Is, Indeed: Bigelow Tea Explores Honey!

bigelow-tea-chamomile-vanilla

Calling all honey lovers! As one of the most popular sweeteners to add to a cup of Bigelow Tea, honey is rich in flavor and history. And for National Honey Month, we thought we’d explore nature’s thick, sweet, syrupy treat.

Honey has a long history – production flourished in ancient Greece and Sicily, and was used to sweeten different foods. The spiritual and therapeutic use of honey in ancient India is documented in Ayurveda texts, which are more than 4,000 years old. A source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, honey—particularly in its raw form—offers unique health benefits. According to research, it’s used as a natural cough suppressant, may help heal wounds and reduce allergy symptoms, and can offer a quick energy boost.

A lot of work goes into each jar of honey. To start, honey bees make honey from the nectar they collect from flowers. The 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey. Unfortunately, bee populations all over the country are drastically declining. Last year, experts warned that four species of bees native to Connecticut, where our headquarters are located, had disappeared from the state in the last 10 years. So we decided to take action on the bees’ behalf. Bigelow’s Green Team recently planted more flowers on our corporate property along an urban train track fence in the hopes of providing bees with a better natural habitat.

Honey adds a little sweetness to our day, so we want to make sure it’s around for many, many days to come. Add a little honey to your favorite Bigelow Tea, or try our Honey and Chamomile Vanilla Honey Herbal Tea before turning in for the night. It’s a great way to make your day that much sweeter!

Bigelow Tea Is Buzzing About Its New Garden!

 

bigelow tea environmentWhat’s the buzz at Bigelow Tea? Helping bees! It’s no secret that bee populations all over the country are being affected by everything from pesticides to a decline in natural habitat.

Last year, experts warned that four species of bees native to Connecticut had disappeared from the state in the last 10 years. So Bigelow decided to take action on the bees’ behalf. Bigelow’s Green Team recently planted more flowers on our corporate property along an urban train track fence in the hopes of providing bees with a better natural habitat. We are happy to report that the new plantings have bloomed and are brightening up the campus. This is just one of Bigelow Tea’s efforts to better our environment. Over the years, some of Bigelow Tea’s sustainability projects have included installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters, diverting 94 percent of the company’s solid waste through recycling, reusing, and composting, and taking measures to preserve land.

As Cindi Bigelow says, “Being responsible is not something my family does because we can do good things, but because we strongly believe that we should and need to do good things, whether it’s for the community, for our employees, or for the environment.”

We hope you’ve been inspired to add more bee-friendly plantings to your garden. Let us know: what will you plant?

Learn Why Bigelow Uses Tea From Sri Lanka

 

bigelow tea sri lankaHigh in the mountains of Sri Lanka grow acres of gorgeous tea plants renowned for yielding a light, bright brew prized as “the champagne of teas.” Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow fell in love with tea from the region and initiated a partnership that has endured for 67 years! Third-generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow was thrilled to visit this tiny island country in South Asia to meet the folks who expertly hand-pick tea leaves used in Bigelow’s black teas.

For a rare peek inside the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, check out Cindi’s Sri Lanka journal and videos. And here are a few more interesting facts highlighting why Bigelow Tea embraces Sri Lankan tea producers as part of its extended global family:

  • The British planted the first camellia sinensis (tea) plant in Sri Lanka in the 1800s following a blight that had wiped out the coffee crop, sparking new traditions built around tea farming.
  • Today, tea cultivation is a $1.5 billion industry in Sri Lanka employing more than 1 million people who produce the world’s most expensive tea.
  • Before 1972, while under British colonization, the island was known as “Ceylon.” Hence tea from Sri Lanka is still called Ceylon tea.
  • Every tea estate in Sri Lanka with which Bigelow Tea does business is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which promotes fair treatment of workers and sustainable farming practices.
  • With high elevations that can exceed 6,000 feet, Sri Lankan tea gardens boast extremely favorable soil and weather conditions for growing delicate tea plants.
  • Each Sri Lankan estate prides itself on producing signature teas—much the same way vintners age wines for different tastes.

Enjoy the delicious results in your mug of Bigelow black tea! @Daniela441 tweeted his love for English Teatime. What’s your favorite Bigelow black tea blend?

Whether It’s a Bigelow Teabag Or Eggshells, Compost At Home And Make A Difference!

bigelow tea constant comment

At Bigelow Tea we care deeply about doing our part to take care of the earth and know our consumers do, too. Composting biodegradable materials from our cafeteria, corporate kitchenettes, labs, conference rooms and Plant areas is one way we demonstrate this core value.  In fact, in the last few years we’ve made a company-wide commitment to achieve “Zero Waste to Landfill” status which means less than 10% of our annual waste ends up in a landfill! But did you know that you can use your Bigelow tea bags to help create your own compost at home?

85% of our Bigelow packaging is compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable. So before you turn to toss that just-used bag of Green Tea into the garbage bin, consider composting it in your yard! Composting at home is as simple as collecting your organic materials you’d normally throw away with your trash into a pile or a bin. Think food scraps, eggshells, Bigelow tea bags (tea, tag, and paper bag minus the staple) and coffee grounds from your kitchen. Compost piles can also include dry leaves from your yard and your Sunday newspaper you read while sipping that cup of Green Tea, just make sure to shred it up first!

Sound simple enough? That’s because it is! Bigelow fans like Marcia Del Greco compost their used tea bags daily and you can too!

Bigelow Tea Fan Kristy Shares How To Start A Tea Bag Garden

bigelow tea garden

At Bigelow Tea, we are big fans of composting, so we get super excited when a tea fan shares a new composting tip, especially when it involves used Bigelow tea bags.  Meet fan Kristy as she shares her family story, the how-tos and pictures on starting a tea bag garden:

You can start a garden easily and with very little expense using tea bags.  When I was growing up, my family would go to Puerto Rico every year for spring break.  It was there, visiting my grandmother (Abuela), that I first learned about tea bag gardening. 

My grandmother always served tea in the evening and collected our used tea bags in a glass jar.  At the time, being about 6 years old, I thought this was an odd practice, so I asked her why she was saving our old tea bags and she said that she would show me in the morning.  The next morning, my grandmother passed on the steps that I will now share with you. 

 

How To Start A Tea Bag Garden

You will need:

  • Disposable serving tray
  • Seeds of your choice
  • Used Bigelow tea bags-any flavor –minus the staple
  • Unbleached paper towels
  • Watering pitcher
  • Small blade/knife (optional)

Step by step instructions:

  1. Begin with a plate, platter or disposable serving tray (found at any Dollar Store).
  1. Line your tray with unbleached paper towels.  Use unbleached paper towels to avoid chemical leaching.
  1. Prepare your fresh tea bags (prepare normally using boiling water from your kettle) or take your collection of used tea bags and moisten them in water.bigelow tea tea garden
  1. Place your moistened tea bags on your tray.  Be sure to allow space between the bags.
  1. Next, using a small blade/knife or your fingers, make a small slit in the tea bags (large enough to plant your seeds).
  1. Now, take 2-3 seeds and push them into the slit that you made in the tea bag so that the seeds are slightly covered by the tea leaves.  Note that because the tea leaves are moist, some of the contents of the tea bag will get on your fingers but be patient and continue to make sure that the seed is indeed in place.
  1. Take your watering pitcher and pour water onto the paper towels-NOT directly onto the teabags.bigelow tea tea bags garden
  1. Now place your tea bag garden in a sunny area and wait for your seeds to sprout.  Be sure to keep the paper towels moistened and depending on sun exposure, temperature and watering, seeds should begin to sprout in 10-15 days.  Note that some seeds do take longer to germinate so don’t give up!
  1. Once you have a small sprout, take the ENTIRE tea bag and plant it in your garden which can be a raised bed or container.   And no worries about doing this because the tea bag that you used as a planter/seed starter is great compost for your garden.

 

As an adult and an avid gardener, I now know that this is a great way to begin your garden as there is less shock to your seedling because you don’t have to remove it from the tea bag. 

I am so happy to pass along my grandmother’s garden/tea tip.  Happy tea drinking and good luck with this season’s garden!

 

Kristy from Shelton, CT
Bigelow Tea Fan

On Earth Day, Bigelow Tea Celebrates Success With Waste Reduction

bigelow tea environment

Did you know that 94% of Bigelow Tea’s solid waste companywide is diverted from ending up in a landfill (yes, a just in time fact for Earth Month!)?  As a result of exceeding Zero Waste Alliances’ guidelines where no more than 10% of waste gets dumped, we have worked hard to attain and maintain a “Zero Waste to Landfill” status!

Curious about how we make this happen? Pour a cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea and read on to find out what the Bigelow family and all employees do across three manufacturing facilities in order to stay in the ‘green.’

Reduce: Throughout its various offices, Bigelow staffers have cut down on excess printing. For example, copies of customer service orders as well as overall paper usage has been reduced by a whopping 65,000 sheets! Within the packing plants, Bigelow has lowered the amount of shrink-wrap and foil wrap used for packaging and shipping the teas.

Recycle: Bigelow’s plants and offices are committed to recycling. Along with separating bins, initiatives have extended to collecting and properly recycling common and uncommon items like computers/electronics, printer cartridges, old sneakers, cooking oil, and videotapes. Plus 85% of Bigelow’s packaging is recyclable or biodegradable.

Composting: Composting is nature’s way of recycling organic materials by breaking them down. Since November 2010, Bigelow has been doing its part by composting approximately two tons annually from sources such as the cafeterias and landscaping. Plus, Bigelow Tea drinkers (and we have many of course) can compost their tea bags. Just remove the staple from the bag first.

Now Bigelow wants to know what you do to reduce excess waste. Like Melanie Kissell’s Facebook post notes, she is using a separate recycling bin and is no longer buying bottled water.  During Earth Month and beyond, how are you reducing waste?

Bigelow Tea Celebrates Spring Planting!

bigelow tea spring_environment

 

Bigelow Tea can feel it in the air … can you? Spring is here and thoughts are turning to gardening! Even though it’s wonderful to snuggle up with a hot mug of Bigelow Tea “with a bit of honey on a cold night,” as tea fan @da_higgy tweets, it’s also exciting to welcome the warm spring sun.

While most garden planting takes place later in March, garden preparation should start soon. Bigelow Tea knows that the art of gardening (like Bigelow Tea’s community gardening) adds to the quality of life. So whether you have a limited space or the whole back yard, there’s groundwork to do! Here are a few spring planting tips to get you started:

* Be careful not to install your plants too deep; Knowing the proper planting depth for your plant is critical.

* Staking newly planted trees and bushes is always a good idea, especially in areas where it is windy.

* Always use good, rich topsoil … and consider using homemade compost!

Bigelow Tea is a big fan of composting and tea bags are great additions to your compost pile! Bigelow Tea composts two tons of waste per month as part of company-wide waste reductions. From protecting the land  to composting tea bags, the Bigelow Tea mantra is “do the right thing and good things will follow.” Now get planting … Mother Nature awaits! What are your tips for spring planting?

Learn Why Bigelow Tea Uses Tea From Sri Lanka

bigelow tea sri lanka cindi bigelow

High in the mountains of Sri Lanka grow acres of gorgeous tea plants renowned for yielding a light, bright brew prized as “the champagne of teas.” Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow fell in love with tea from the region and initiated a partnership that has endured for 67 years! Third-generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow was thrilled to visit this tiny island country in South Asia to meet the folks who expertly hand-pick tea leaves used in Bigelow’s black teas.

For a rare peek inside the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, check out Cindi’s Sri Lanka journal and videos. And here are a few more interesting facts highlighting why Bigelow Tea embraces Sri Lankan tea producers as part of its extended global family:

  • The British planted the first camellia sinensis (tea) plant in Sri Lanka in the 1800s following a blight that had wiped out the coffee crop, sparking new traditions built around tea farming.

bigelow tea english breakfast black tea

  • Today, tea cultivation is a $1.5 billion industry in Sri Lanka employing more than 1 million people who produce the world’s most expensive tea.
  • Before 1972, while under British colonization, the island was known as “Ceylon.” Hence tea from Sri Lanka is still called Ceylon tea.
  • Every tea estate in Sri Lanka with which Bigelow Tea does business is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which promotes fair treatment of workers and sustainable farming practices.
  • With high elevations that can exceed 6,000 feet, Sri Lankan tea gardens boast extremely favorable soil and weather conditions for growing delicate tea plants.
  • Each Sri Lankan estate prides itself on producing signature teas —much the same way vintners age wines for different tastes.

Enjoy the delicious results in your mug of Bigelow black tea! @Daniela441 tweeted his love for English Teatime. What’s your favorite Bigelow black tea blend?

 

Bigelow Tea Shares Tips On How To Live Sustainability For Go Green Week 2016

bigelow tea classic green tea

One of the most important things to the Bigelow family, as well as everyone at Bigelow Tea, is protecting the environment and living sustainably for a better tomorrow. That’s why Bigelow Tea is excited to celebrate Go Green Week 2016, an annual national week of climate action. If you’d like to join in on the fun, see how even small steps can make a difference to the environment!

  • Reusing old items can be just as fun as buying new ones—instead of buying new clothes, peruse your local Goodwill or thrift shop.
  • Instead of throwing away old fruits and vegetables, use them for a delicious and nutritious smoothie!
  • BYOB. Bring your own … bags, that is. Paper or plastic? Neither! Carry a few reusable grocery totes in your car so that you never forget them at home when you go to the store.
  • And, of course, recycle your Bigelow Tea boxes and bags! Once the staple is removed, Bigelow Tea bags are 100% biodegradable—they’re great for composting.
  • And you can’t get more “green” that starting a teabag garden!  Diane from Turning the ClockBack shows us how here.

One of the best ways to make a difference for the planet is to lead by example. The Bigelow Tea family tries to minimize its impact on the environment through a variety of efforts including recyclingconserving energy and composting. And while saving the planet isn’t about recognition, it really makes an impression on tea drinkers like @BrandeeSmith, a big fan Bigelow Tea’s sustainable packaging. So please do your part during Go Green Week 2016, and share what eco-friendly plans you have brewing.

Top image by egg (Hong, Yun Seon) via Flickr

Unique Ways to Repurpose Your Bigelow Tea

bigelow tea recipes

Never doubt the power of a cup of Bigelow Tea. Not only is it a flavorful and invigorating beverage, it can tenderize your meat, stain your furniture, and clean your glass surfaces! Who knew?

In a recent article from POPSUGAR, tea drinkers were given 11 creative ways to repurpose tea. Here are just a few:

*Tenderize meat: Tannins in tea can soften meat while adding a flavorful punch. Marinate meat with a black or green tea and allow it to soak up the flavor. Never fear, vegetarians! You can find a great recipe for Tea Marinated Grilled Tofu using Green Tea with Pomegranate tea bags on the Bigelow Tea website.

*Stain furniture: For your next DIY project, try your hand at a rustic stain made with brewed black tea.

*Clean glass surfaces: Tannins in tea also make great cleaners. Grease residue getting you down? Leave your dish in hot water with tea bags overnight and voilà!

And while you may want to avoid adding tea bags to the washing machine (hey, sometimes, it’s an accident — as @Jac0bSummerz will tell you!), you can add some brew to your mopping routine. According to the article, black tea can naturally restore your floor’s color, sheen, and fill in tiny scratches.

So grab a cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea blend, enjoy your cup … and keep the tea bag!