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by Jim Gildea, Fairfield CT

I am always excited whenever I get the chance to go out on our community and talk about Bigelow Tea's sustainability successes. I have been fortunate enough to be asked countless times to speak about Bigelow's efforts in a wide range of areas. I have spoken about our energy efficiency efforts in numerous forums ranging from the United Illuminating sponsored forums to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association's annual meeting or a CIRES event at the Yale School of Environmental Studies. My most current presentation was at the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition's Annual Meeting in Hartford. 

During this talk, we spoke about many things. We spoke about the Bigelow family's commitment to the environment. We spoke about our reduce, reuse and recycle strategy and I gave specific examples of our efforts in each of those areas. My presentation touched upon our composting efforts and how coupled with our reduce, reuse, recycle strategies, have helped us become a "Zero Waste to Landfill" manufacturing company. As part of my presentation I shared with the froup how we have increased our solid waste diversion rates from just 38% of our solid waste diverted from the landfill to the 4% diversion rate we have today.

I was also able to share specific examples of our successes. We reviewed our composting program and how we compost almost 7 tons per month. This is a great program that has grown a great deal. We also spoke about the Bigelow specific things we do such as collect our foil overwrap and foil lined raw tea bilk bags and sell that to a recycling company that reclaims the foil. The cardboard we shred and use to pack tea chests also made it into our discussion. There are countless other successes we have had and whenever I speak about Bigelow's sustainability efforts, I always walk away thinking how rewarding it is to know that Bigelow is a successful model on best business practice. I believe that by taking the time to visit and speak about Bigelow, other companies see that too.

The highlight of the event for me was a follow up e-mail the next day that I received from a participant. While I enjoy speaking about Bigelow's successes because I love working for a company that stresses "doing the right thing", it I always nice to know one's message resonates with its intended target. The message I came to work to read simply stated: "On a personal note, Bigelow's "green" philosophy will make a difference to me in making my consumer shopping decisions at the grocery store". It was nice to see that other people get it too and embrace those who "do the right thing".

By Jim Gildea


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