As a business we work hard to do things properly. We are a small company with what we hope will be a big future ahead of us, so when it comes to sustainability that means taking responsibility for the role we play in protecting that future. With that in mind, we are always looking for ways to ensure that from the sourcing of the tea to the day to day running of the business, we keep any impact on the environment to a minimum.
A few principles we try to stick to:
- Integrating sustainability into our day-to-day decision making
- Working with tea suppliers who operate both ethical and sustainable methods of farming
- Regularly reviewing the way we do things to see where we can improve our sustainability performance
- Communicating our values to both the team internally, as well as to our suppliers
- Encouraging and helping our customers to manage their own impact
We’re not perfect, but here are some of the ways in which we are already doing this:
Sourcing: In evaluating the tea suppliers we work with, we are interested in three things: first and foremost how delicious the tea is (of course), but also how the land is looked after and how the people working so hard to produce the teas are looked after. We’re more interested in the answers to those questions than we are about formal certificates, so while some of our teas are Ethical Tea Partnership or FairTrade certified, for others we simply have to ask a lot of questions. We’re now working on making this process more robust.
Food waste: our Head Chef Maisie is passionate about both cooking seasonally and minimizing food waste wherever possible. We’ve had everything from breakfast bars, baked croissant slices, cakes and many a soup or tart - all designed entirely around the seasons, as well as using up produce we already have in the kitchen for other parts of the menu. This means we very rarely throw anything away.
Recycling in-store: Thanks to the lovely folk at First Mile, we recycle 71% of our waste - in real terms, last year that amounted to nearly 3 tonnes of recycling, 1.5 tonnes sent to anaerobic digestion, 1.75 tonnes of waste turned to energy, 26 trees saved and 1.4KWH of energy produced! Not bad, but we’re still working on getting closer to 100%!
Tea leaves: when we’re busy brewing at the Tea Bar, we collect a lot of used tea leaves - all of these are collected daily and turned into bio-fuel.
Packaging: our tea pouches, as well as the tea bag boxes and tape, are widely recyclable. We would love them to be compostable, so that will be our next step. Within our own supply chain, getting tea from the warehouse to our Tea Bars, extra large pouches have a continuous circle of life, being collected and refilled each time. We would love to roll this out to our Wholesale partners too.
Re-using cardboard: We’re shocked at how much cardboard we receive as a small business - imagine how much a big business must use! We therefore recycle cardboard in the warehouse whenever possible - it sometimes means sending out less beautiful boxes but it beats using a whole new one.
Plastics: our new range of leaf tea bags are 100% compostable and plastic-free, which means they can be thrown straight into your food waste bin. The outer wrap is currently still only recyclable, but we’re working on something compostable to replace that too.
People: it’s not only those at origin that we care about - our passionate team here in London are critical to everything we do. From the team in the Warehouse to the brewers in the Tea Bar, we hope to create a happy working environment for all - all working together towards the same shared goal.