Arbor Teas is an online retailer of organic, loose leaf tea and teaware. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Arbor Teas’ mission is to find the world’s best organic teas and deliver them to its customers as sustainably as possible. Arbor Teas has both organic and Fair Trade Certified teas, as well as Carbonfree business practices.
Arbor Teas uses packaging that is completely backyard compostable. Since the launch of the most recent iteration of Arbor Teas’ backyard compostable packaging, approximately 150,000 packages have been shipped to Earth-conscious customers across the United States. Not only are the new packages compostable, they’re also lighter than their predecessors, and lighter than many other options on the market. Overall, Arbor Teas was able to reduce the weight of its packaging materials by more than 60%! This translates to a meaningful reduction in the carbon footprint of Arbor Te as’ operations. And, in response to customer requests, this packaging also accommodates more tea. On average, Arbor Teas packages contain 27% more tea than they did previously. The result: more tea, less packaging!
There are a lot of packaging choices available to food companies, but understanding the environmental implications of certain packaging alternatives isn’t always easy, and finding the vendors to do such can be difficult as well. Small businesses, such as Arbor Teas, have the fewest options available and are often forced to use “stock” materials that are not always the most environmentally friendly choice. .Many small businesses may consider the effort to find an environmentally friendly option a daunting task.
While it may be, finding and implementing a solution is entirely feasible if we work together. To that end, Arbor Teas created a short documentary to leave a “breadcrumb trail” for other businesses to follow, providing a video on YouTube that outlines their thought process, the evolution of their packaging, and the specific vendors and materials they utilize.
Additionally, we encourage other businesses to look “up stream” t o determine if unnecessary materials can be eliminated entirely. For example, Arbor Teas has committed to avoiding single-serve packaging solutions, selling all of their products in loose leaf form.
Finally, we encourage all small businesses to remember that every decision matters (no matter how big or small). Even if the “best” option i s not available or affordable, choosing the option that does the least harm can make a positive impact too. Then, never stop improving! Continue to revisit those decisions (as time passes and/or as business grows) to determine if each decision can be improved upon. Extraordinary results can be achieved by the summation of many seemingly ordinary decisions.