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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!

The Many Ways Bigelow Tea is All About Green

bigelow tea sustainability

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?

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?

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 Employees Find Greener Transportation For CT Rides Week

event ct rides 3

 

Bigelow Tea is proud to finish CT Rides Week with a total of 2,040 miles saved from being driven by employees who found greener ways to travel. Governor Dannel Malloy declared May 11 – May 15 CT Rides Week to encourage all solitary drivers to try alternate methods of transportation when traveling or working within the state of Connecticut. As a company dedicated to sustainability, Bigelow Tea was excited to be a part of this important initiative.

Several Bigelow Tea team members rose to the challenge by biking, ride sharing or using public transportation to get to and from work, or to get around on their own time. Throughout the week, CT Plant Manager Jim Gildea and his team kept a running log of miles saved from being driven and noted that the tally rose steadily each day.

“Sharing a ride can have a huge impact on Connecticut’s air quality. An individual switching a 20-mile roundtrip commute to public transportation can decrease annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year,” said Gildea. “Additionally, sharing a ride can afford a variety of benefits to commuters, including saving money on the cost of maintaining personal vehicles and the cost of parking, providing some protection from the rising cost of fuel and a less stressful commute.”

Thank you to all employees who participated. Well done, team!

Bigelow Tea Celebrates CT Rides Week

Bigelow Tea CT Rides weekConnecticut Governor Dannel Malloy issued a proclamation declaring that May 12th through May 16th was CT Rides Week and encouraged all solitary drivers to try alternative methods of transportation when traveling or working within the State of Connecticut–even if it was for just one day that week. Drivers were asked to take advantage of various ride sharing options including bus, train, carpool or vanpool.

By visiting www.CTrides.com/week, commuters were able to sign up to participate and join others who also shared a ride during CT Rides Week. As part of the week’s challenge, CT Rides was at Bigelow Tea on Monday May 12th to kick off the week and to encourage employees to sign up registering for CT Rides. All those who signed up during this visit were eligible to enter a drawing to win a $25 gift card for Applebee’s (just for Bigelow Tea employees) and then a statewide raffle for a $100 gift card.

As part of the second phase of the Bigelow Tea event, CT Rides was back out on Friday May 16th. This was “Ride Your Bike to Work Day.” All those who actually carpooled, biked, walked, used the train or took the bus during the week were eligible for a second raffle featuring a new mountain bike. Everyone who participated in “Ride Your Bike to Work Day” was also eligible for a raffle of bike helmets. Paul Caponera won the bike and Jim Gildea and Claudia Ardouni won bike helmets.

The week was very successful on a number of different fronts. Nearly 20 percent of Bigelow Tea employees participated in CT Rides Week, and the company continues to be strong partners with CT Rides. More importantly, the week provided a benefit to the environment and the Earth. Sharing a ride can have a huge impact on Connecticut’s air quality.  An individual switching a 20-mile round trip commute to public transportation can decrease annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year. Additionally, sharing a ride can afford a variety of benefits to commuters including saving money on the cost of maintaining personal vehicles and the cost of parking, providing some protection from the rising cost of fuel and a less stressful commute.

 

-Jim Gildea, Fairfield, CT Plant Manager

 

Have a Festive (and Sustainable) Holiday Season!

constant commentwreathWith the holiday season is in full swing, it’s time to unleash the creative wizard within us. Yes, we ALL have the ability to be creative! No need to be a Picasso, just have fun!  And, if you add sustainability to your palette, you’ll feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that your festive creation also contributed to the place we all call Home – our planet.  Bigelow Tea has been practicing Sustainabili-TEA for as long as we can remember and we are delighted to share some festive (and sustainable) tips for the holidays.

Let’s talk solar.  Become an environmental leader in your neighborhood by decorating the outside of your house and yard with solar-powered Christmas lights. They come in all colors and types. Most importantly, you’ll be saving energy and money! Even New York City’s Rockefeller Center has a solar-powered Christmas tree… you’ll be in good company!

tree

Image courtesy of Wikihow.com

If you’re in the market for Christmas trees, why not think about getting a living tree? Decorate the planter pot in festive colors, wrap a beautiful ribbon around it, and when the season is over, plant it in your yard.

lights

Image courtesy of Solar-energy-at-home.com

Re-gifting. Now, don’t wince. You’ll be doing a good thing, really! If you have unused gifts collecting dust from years gone by, why not wrap them up and pass them on? While you’re at it, save your holiday wrap and ribbons to reuse next year.

Now, you know, it would be remiss of us not to point out the obvious: Bigelow Teas are beautifully wrapped in a cornucopia of colorful packages, making them the perfect material for a daring designer to create a unique and vibrant holiday display. We’d love to see what you come up with!

Take a Hike! No, Really…

take a hike 11-10

Image Courtesy of Trails.com

November 17th is Take a Hike Day! But do we really need a designated day to tell us that walking is really, really good for us? Or that nature walks are a fabulous way to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of our planet? Well, consider this a gentle reminder.  Too busy to go on a full weekend hiking excursion or a day hike? Instead, try taking just 30 to 60 minutes out of your day for a walk – around the neighborhood, through the park, or along the ocean (for those of you lucky enough to live by the water!)

Walk by yourself or perhaps enjoy an evening stroll with a significant other while we’re still in the in the throes of autumn. Marvel at the stunning canvas of changing leaves, their colors forming a warm palette of gold, red and orange.Collect some leaves and preserve them; place them gently, one by one, between two sheets of wax paper, then press them with the iron turned on low – for about 30 seconds – and you can make greeting cards or artwork for the wall. It’s a great way for families to spend some quality time together!

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Image Courtesy of Foilagenetwork.com

Bigelow Tea loves autumn activity! Our annual Community Challenge is a fun way for us to connect with our community, get some exercise and give back to those in need.  As strong advocates for the environment, we know that physical activities like running, hiking, and walking are all fantastic forms of outdoor exercise that help us appreciate nature.  So when the work or school day is over, escape the confines of the office or classroom and get out there and TAKE A HIKE! And, don’t forget to breathe in that gloriously crisp, fresh autumn air!

Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

International Youth Day

(Photograph by Marcus Wheeldon, Courtesy of Shoot Nations 2009 Photo Competition)

To commemorate International Youth Day on August 12, 2009, young people from around the world are submitting photographs and drawings for the Shoot Nations 2009 Photo Competition. A selection of submissions will be presented to the United Nations and displayed at UN Headquarters from August 3-14.

There is no better way to channel the boundless energy of our youth than to encourage them to become active participants in the global effort to sustain our environment, community, and even our economy. Their fresh intelligence, unique perspective and desire to make a difference are just what the planet needs.  International Youth Day, established by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, provides the platform for young people to do just that. This year’s theme is “Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future” and young participants, from all over the world, are developing programs and finding creative ways to spread the word.

Sustainable living is a standard that Bigelow Tea lives by and lovingly refers to as “Sustainabili…TEA.“ It is reflected by our production, our products and our interaction with each other and the community at large. Our ongoing efforts to protect the environment through recycling programs, waste reduction and energy efficiency, demonstrate our passion and commitment to this global initiative. We encourage children to embrace this cause, to sustain our world for generations to come. After all, they are tomorrow’s leaders, and the future is theirs – to be respected, nurtured and sustained!