Tea Room launches Teas for Trees initiative

New initiative seeks to reduce campus’ carbon footprint, plants one tree for every three coffees sold

Izzy Hazan stands in the Tea Room this summer during renovations. 

The Tea Room has a deal: three coffees equal one tree.

Partnering with Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), the Teas for Trees initiative plans to promote sustainable living on campus. The initiative runs from Nov. 12 to 16 and will plant one tree for every three coffees or teas sold.

In an interview with The Journal, Izzy Hazan, Tea Room head manager, said the idea for the campaign was inspired by the Café’s mission to be carbon neutral.

“Although the Tea Room is doing all we can to make sure we’re as eco-friendly as possible, we still have to account for the basic energy sources necessary when running a café,” Hazan said.

Though the Tea Room is North America’s first zero consumer-waste, carbon neutral café, Hazan said the coffee shop can always be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Teas for Trees campaign aligns with the cafe’s three key pillars: environmental responsibility, community education, and fiscal sustainability.

“Teas for Trees is a direct representation of our goal to create a financially sustainable business which can still act environmentally responsible, [and it] fosters all three pillars by motivating more sales through the education of how we make a positive impact on the environment,” Hazan said.

Hazan added, through its day-to-day operations, the Tea Room is still responsible for emissions produced through the use of lights, fridges, and basic cooking appliances.

Next week, after the total number of trees has been confirmed, the RVCA will plant all the trees funded by the Tea Room. The trees will be planted in a field in the Kingston area—a space specifically reserved for the café’s campaign.

Hazan said the planted trees “will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced in Kingston,” but more importantly serve as a reminder to students that small steps translate into big differences.

“Small actions are the key to reducing our ecological footprint as students. The Tea Room works to cultivate easy, sustainable choices for students,” she said. “[B]ut there are plenty of ways to be mindful of our impact beyond caffeine-related habits.”

Last year, the initiative planted a total of 550 trees, which were able to collectively reduce 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

As of Thursday night, the Tea Room has sold approximately 1,120 coffees and teas—equaling a total of 373 trees planted.

For Hazan, it’s critical students become aware of the impact their daily activities can have on the environment. With the Tea Room’s new initiative, taking steps to live a sustainable life can be as simple as buying a single coffee or tea. 

“[The initiative] will promote sustainable life on campus by allowing students to harness a habit they rely on daily, [like] coffee [or] tea, into providing a positive impact on the environment,” Hazan said.

“Teas for Trees facilitates that directly.”

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