Banff Tea Co. is the latest recipient of the Zero Waste Trailblazer Awards, a recognition for Banff businesses and institutions that go above and beyond efforts to reduce, re-use and recycle.
We sat down with the team at Banff Tea Co. to learn more about their efforts to move towards zero waste, along with the unique challenges and opportunities that come with being a tea shop. We quickly learned that management and staff alike are working hard to reduce their waste footprint in all areas, and continually seeking opportunities to improve.
As a tea shop, most of the waste comes from packing, and there is a “tea tasting station” where tea samples are offered. However, by focusing on waste avoidance, Banff Tea Co. showcases a great example of what can be done to reduce single-use items. Examples of initiatives include:
Instead of pre-packaging the tea, the products are set-up in bulk-style reusable containers.
Offering a discount to those who bring their own jar or containers for purchasing new loose tea or for fill-up, and when customers do not have reusable jars, the staff encourages them to bring back the tea packaging for reuse or to purchase reusable tea mugs, jars, & towels provided at the cash register.
Attempts are made to reuse cardboard boxes thrown out by other businesses to package their orders in.
When no reusable alternative is available, Banff Tea Co. is working hard to source to-go items that are fully certified compostable or recyclable. Under the sampling station, a signed, accessible compost bin is provided for customers to dispose of their compostable sample cups.
The team at the Banff Tea Co. are enthusiastic and passionate staff who walk the zero waste talk. Michele, the manager, takes out the delivery e-bike on her free time to pick up garbage around town. Siona, the owner, informed us that “we approach everything from a zero-waste mind set.”
The tea shop is currently exploring opportunities for alternative packaging, while there’s a ways to go in eliminating disposable packaging altogether, we congratulate Banff Tea Co for tackling what is in their control and not being shy to share it with the community. Thank you to the enthusiastic team at Banff Tea Co. for providing Banff with excellent tea that we can feel good about!
Zero Waste Trailblazers are selected based on 10 categories and 20 certification criteria relating to waste reduction and diversion practices, measured results, and related environmental protection initiatives. The categories are listed at BanffZeroWasteTrail.ca/Commercial. Businesses must score higher than 16 points (80%) to achieve Trailblazer status. Special recognition will be given to one business who demonstrates exceptional efforts each quarter.