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Archives for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

4 Times (Among Many) When Bigelow Tea Employees Made a Difference



Employees are the backbone of Bigelow Tea. As a family-owned company, Bigelow built its brand with its people – beginning with Ruth Campbell Bigelow – and that commitment gets repaid in kind with the dedication each employee shows in their work and within their communities. Simply said, Bigelow Tea employees are incredible. In fact, it’s their efforts that make Bigelow Tea a more sustainable company and, frankly, a stronger corporate citizen.
But, don’t take it from us, hear from them with these inspiring stories:

Passing on sustainable practices to future generations.
“Inspired by the results of the composting program here at Bigelow Tea, our family also included composting into our weekly schedule at home. We have been separating out most of the kitchen waste, tea bags (a lot of those) and paper towels, etc. since the summer of 2013. Now that my children are older, the do-it yourself-style sand box has been ‘up-cycled’ to ‘organically’ create good soil over time… This is one way our children are learning that maintaining the cycle and balance in nature is possible even in a suburban environment and a small contribution like ours can make a difference.” Gabe K, Fairfield, CT

Helping those in need.
“I was coming to work around 6:30 a.m. [one day] and… there was a soldier in full uniform with all his medals waiting by the side of the road. It was a rainy day and… he needed a ride to Boise. I stopped and offered to give him a ride to his destination. It turns out that he was going to a Wounded Warrior presentation… but his vehicle had a flat tire and he had to go on foot. He (Jim) told me his dilemma about being a forty-year veteran and how hard it is to get a job after being in the military that long; that the money just doesn’t last as long and not having a job does not help either. He told me a story about applying for a security job at a computer company in Boise and that he was told that he did not have enough experience in security to be considered for the position. I dropped him off at his destination, gave him my gratitude for his service and some money… If that is impacting our community in a positive manner, then I do that every day by serving as a leader in my community.” Javier Reyes, Boise, Idaho

Caring about the bees.
“I participated in a worthwhile community event, ‘Bee Night,’ which took place at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Urban Garden located in downtown Charleston. Bee Night was an event hosted by the Bee Cause Project, an organization whose mission is to educate young people about the importance of honeybees and their wellbeing. They do this by installing beehives in area schools. In 2013, the USDA released a report with concern that the U.S. does not have enough honeybees to pollinate crops, which would impact our nation’s food supply. Along with the many beehives that they have installed in area schools, they have installed an observation beehive at the MUSC Urban garden, a garden whose mission is to build a healthier community by growing crops and educating people with local, nutritious food. This Beehive was unveiled at ‘Bee Night’ and the community was invited to attend the special event. I took several gallons of unsweetened tea to the event. We sweetened the tea at the event with the honey produced by the bees and attendees enjoyed Charleston Tea Plantation tea sweetened with local honey.”  Jane Knight, Charleston, SC

Maintaining a Local Playground

A Bigelow Tea team spent the day weeding, mulching, sweeping the sand up, repairing the walkway and more which is part of an annual tradition in providing upkeep at the Sandcastle playground in Fairfield, CT.  The picture was taken by the memorial to Beth Davis, playground organizer (with president and CEO Cindi Bigelow).  Pictured are Jim Gildea, Richard Queen, Sandra Thompson, Frances Garcia, Alcides Turcios, Tomas Rivera, Ramon Figueroa, Anais Cuevas, Marcel Welfare, Manny Leon, Alberto Calzada, Eddy  Cotter, and Victor Gonzalez.

As you can see, our employees take pride in their contributions – both within their community and in creating great quality tea. That’s why the names of each tea packer are visible on every box of Bigelow Tea. It’s their personal seal of quality and our way to show off the great work our people do every day.

So, tell us, how are you giving back to your community? Don’t forget to tag #TeaProudly because that is what we are, proud to make your tea!

This Is Why Bigelow Tea Is A Member Of The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP)

Have you ever thought about the tea leaves in your bag of Bigelow Tea? Not simply the delicious flavor they offer, but the story behind them? Where they come from? Who sourced them? If not, that’s okay. But, at Bigelow Tea, this is something that’s very important to us. It’s one of the reasons why we’re a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), an organization that works with tea growers to establish methods for responsible conservation of the world’s tea fields, and to improve the lives of the beautiful people who work them. In fact, Bigelow Tea was the sixth North American tea company to join the group. Consider it just one of the ways the company is showing its commitment to the tea growers and producers, and, well, sustainability.

As a family-owned company for three generations, Bigelow Tea’s culture has always been guided by the simple principle of doing the right thing. Seems simple, right? But it can take hard work with all the moving parts that go into a company. Sustainability and fair business practices are important in every aspect of our business, not only here at home but
around the world. That’s why we’re proud to be part of ETP, and why we think it’s extra critical for the industry to work collaboratively to make the tea industry truly sustainable.
And, hey, here is a really awesome way where the ETP aims to end poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change by 2030.

  • The ETP, in partnership with UNICEF and with the support of the Indian tea industry, is working across more than 100 tea estates to equip more than 25,000 girls with the necessary knowledge and skills that will help them secure a better future and reduce their vulnerability to violence, abuse, and exploitation including trafficking and unsafe migration.

Pretty incredible stuff, right? So the next time you brew some Bigelow, you’re not just making tea – you’re making a big difference through initiatives around the globe. That’s a cup you can feel super good about, and one worth sharing with the world. We always want you to #TeaProudly, after all!

Bigelow Tea Owned Charleston Tea Plantation, A Tea Journey Past and Present

Bigelow Tea has been an American classic since 1945 and while we all know and love the company’s tasty tea, Bigelow has another gem to celebrate, the Bigelow owned Charleston Tea Plantation which is America’s largest working tea garden located on the historic Wadmalaw Island. This South Carolina destination has ideal climate for growing the Camellia Sinesis (tea!) plant. Bigelow purchased the plantation in 2003 and has created a literal tea oasis; besides producing American Classic Tea, the plantation is also a beautiful setting for weddingseducational tours, and even a variety of music festivals.

NPR shared what life is like on the Charleston Tea Plantation in an interview with America’s only fulltime tea taster, William Barclay Hall. Hall gives fascinating insight into growing tea the old-fashioned way:

  • The Charleston Tea Plantation grows cuttings in a nursery for four years instead of planting seeds. These bushes are, unbelievably, descendants of the same plants that were first brought to region in the 1700s.
  • Talk about a taste for tea — Hall is a third generation tea taster (his father and grandfather held the roles before him) who was trained in London. During his training, he tasted as many as 800 teas a day, five days a week!
  • Tea is one of the only commodities in the world bought and sold based on taste, according to Hall. Because tea is harvested on average every 15 days, the taste is always changing based on everything from the temperature, to the amount of rain, to the time of year.
  • Pests stay away from tea! The caffeine and tannins in tea repel insects, so the Charleston Tea plantation doesn’t need to use any pesticide, herbicides or fungicides.
  • Tea leaves are placed on “withering box” screens for 18 hours, and then macerated in a grinder. Hall then steeps, tastes and blends every single batch until he thinks it tastes absolutely right.

Now you know: a little piece of tea history continues on in the modern world, all thanks to Bigelow!

5 Bigelow Tea Sustainability Efforts That Celebrate Earth Month … All Year Long

Earth Month is all of April so let’s celebrate!

Anyone and everyone can do something good for the Earth this month (and, well, all year round!), whether it’s big or small. And that includes Bigelow Tea– it’s about practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. In fact, it’s in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.”

So why do the right thing for the planet? As third generation president and CEO 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.”

Need some inspiration for ways to be earthier this month? Read on for some of Bigelow Tea’s famous “SustainabiliTea” efforts and get motivated!

  1. Supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, our planet stays in good shape for future generations.  By installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters, our yearly effort produces about 200,000 kWh which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year, using nothing but the power of the sun.
  1. We’ve been reducing our energy use for years! This has led to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction where energy has been reduced by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. That’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in offices in all our facilities. So simple, yet so effective – anyone can change their light bulbs to make a difference!
  1. Bigelow Tea has achieved “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill.
  1. Bigelow Tea, with the goal of preserving land, purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003 to save 127 acres of land from real estate development. Today, the plantation has hosted well over 100,000 visitors.
  1. We try to act on the bees’ behalf! Bigelow’s Green Team has planted flowers on our corporate property along an urban train track fence to help provide bees with a better natural habitat.

Feeling inspired now? We hope so!  And hey if you need more encouragement, check out these Bigelow Tea activities planned for each day of Earth Week (April 17-22):

  • Recycling drives for electronics, towels for local animal shelters and business clothing (women’s and men’s) to benefit  Dress for Success
  • Educational exhibits on container gardening, lighting , recycling and composting
  • Lunch and learn with  the Back Yard Bee Keepers Association
  • Plant tours of our facility to showcase our sustainability efforts and our solar panels
  • Local foods will be served in the cafeteria
  • Raffle prizes – packets of seeds, tee shirts, plants  and more

So how will you observe Earth Month? Let us know by sharing anywhere online and tag with #TeaProudly!

The Many Ways Bigelow Tea is All About Green

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Bigelow Tea is so much more than just a tasty mug of tea; our company also helps save the Earth. Yes, that sounds like quite the statement, but it’s the truth- we believe in practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. It’s right there in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.” So how does our company do sustainabiliTea proudly? Here are some of our many, many ways:

We’re Powered By The Sun.

We are hugely in favor of supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, to keep our planet in good shape for future generations.  We’ve done this by installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters. Every year, this effort produces about 200,000 kWh, which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year – with nothing but the power of the sun. So how does this affect pollution levels? It equals a reduction in pollution roughly equivalent to 200,000 car miles removed from the highways each year. Sit back and sip to that!

We’ve Made An Energy Efficient Environment.

We’ve spent many years reducing our energy use, leading to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction. And we’ve reduced energy by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. In laymen’s terms, that’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in all offices in all our facilities. Yes, it can be that simple to save the Earth.

We Say No to Landfills. 

We have a company-wide commitment to achieving “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill. Guess what? Our company diverts 94% of its solid waste company wide, meaning we have actually surpassed the official guideline. We recycle, and then recycle some more, and

reduce/reuse/compost, all leading to be a Zero Waste to Landfill Company.

We’ve Made A Modern Tea Plantation.

We purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003, saving the land from development to turn it into America’s own tea garden. This special spot features 127 acres of beauty (and incredible tea leaves!) and welcomes visits from thousands of tea lovers yearly. We’re proud of the Bigelow family’s hard work to keep the traditional tea plantation alive and well with a modern twist!

We Work With Green Suppliers.  

We’re also very proud to work with an environmentally responsible supplier. A couple of the amazing things being done there to ensure our much-loved drink is created with only the crème de la crème of practices:

  • We’re keeping our tea facilities as warm and cozy as the drink thanks to installation of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls, which are 83% more energy efficient compared to traditional walls;
  • We’re fans of geothermal heating and cooling units; using this method for heating or cooling the entire building expansion uses only 1/14th the energy you would need if you used oil.

We know you love tea as much as we do; that’s why we are so delighted to keep our #TeaProudly community in the loop about all about the modern-day environmental choices that keeps that delicious tea in your cup while saving the planet, especially during Go Green Week. Learn more about all the amazing things we’re up to and share with us how you #TeaProudly the “green” way.

Bigelow Tea: A Green Leader!

bigelow-tea-tea-fieldBigelow Tea puts a lot of work into creating delicious teas for your enjoyment, but did you know that Bigelow puts just as much effort into protecting the planet?

Taking care of the environment is reflected in the company’s mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.” Since the company’s beginnings, Bigelow Tea has held the philosophy that positive practices within our community, our environment, and our business can only ensure positive outcomes. That’s why our SustainabiliTea program is a leader in green initiatives. Here are just some of the incredible ways Bigelow Tea makes a difference:

Energy Conservation

Bigelow has been harnessing the power of the sun for nearly a decade, with 880 solar panels installed at our Connecticut headquarters. This has led to a reduction in pollution approximately equal to 200,000 car miles removed from the highways yearly. Bigelow also uses energy efficient lighting, heating/cooling, and water flow at office headquarters.

Waste Reduction

We’ve committed to achieving Zero Waste to Landfill status, which means diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill. Our company takes it a step further: a full 94 percent is diverted through reducing, recycling, and composting.

Land Preservation

Bigelow Tea purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003 to save 127 acres of land from real estate development. Today, the plantation has hosted well over 100,000 visitors.

Supplier Relationships

We’ve been working with the same suppliers in countries such as Sri Lanka for several decades because they share our commitment to ethical and sustainable practices.

Even with so many big initiatives, Bigelow is always on the lookout for more ways to be green. For instance, we recently planted a bee-friendly garden in hopes of attracting more native bee species.

No effort is too big or too small as far as we’re concerned; as David Bigelow says, “We’ve been making tea for three generations, and we get better every year.” The same can be said about our sustainability efforts!

Tell us below: what green practices are the most exciting to you, your family and your business?

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

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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!

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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!