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What makes us green?

Since its establishment in 2006, the organization has been founded on three pillars: Environmental Responsibility, Community Education, and Fiscal Sustainability. Through our ten years of operations, the business has worked to continuously refine its environmental performance and has introduced a series of eco-projects and campaigns. Our business is 100% zero consumer waste and carbon neutral––but what does that really mean? 


Since 2011, The Tea Room has officially been a zero consumer waste cafe. That means that everything you get here will end up eaten or back in the Earth, not in the garbage. Starting in 2016, not only are all products and packaging diverted from landfill, but they are also 100% compostable. From our plant-based "plastic" lids to our cutlery, everything you bring out of our store goes into our onsite compost or a compost bin nearby. While a regular take-away cup with a plastic coating is not recyclable or compostable, our cups naturally break down over a few weeks! (Our packaging is 100% renewable, BPI certified compostable, and ASTM compliant.)


But why stop there? The Tea Room encourages all customers to further reduce their impact by bringing a travel mug. In addition to saving 15% on your drink purchase, you'll also save a cup, lid, and sleeve, as well as the energy required to make them and transport them to the Tea Room. 


The Tea Room is a carbon neutral establishment. All carbon dioxide emissions associated with every aspect of The Tea Room's operation, from heating of the cafe, to the water usage of the dishwasher, to the kilometers our vendors must travel to deliver our products, are completely off-set by planting trees through the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. In 2015, the Tea Room and Queen's Engineers Without Boarders collaborated to plant 725 trees! ​


In addition to this, the Tea Room has maintained a Bullfrog Power membership since 2008. On top of our carbon neutrality, all of the energy that powers the Tea Room comes from renewable sources, instead of fossil fuels. Therefore, we are pumping green electricity back into the grid on behalf or our organization and our customers. 


Environmental History

Over the years, we have implemented a wide variety of eco-projects. We are continuously working to better serve our environment and our customers. This timeline highlights some of our environmental milestones as a business. 

Check out our blog and calandar to find out the exciting eco-projects we have planned for the year!


  • Joined Green Economy Kingston as a member to support our carbon footprint measurement, reporting, and target-setting 

  • Partnership with Sustainable Kingston to co-promote sustainable initiatives and support community education 

  • All Tea Room products and packaging are biodegradable, and linked to a commercial composting waste flow

  • Partnership with Queen's University Experimental Sustainability Team to review and improve business sustainability (ongoing)

  • ​Power Down for the Planet educational campaign on how to live more sustainably at home (ongoing) 


  • Membership with the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation's Corporate Carbon Neutral Program

  • nternal Compost and Waste Managment Report 

  • Vermicomposting lab to refine the on site process 

  • Contracted thinkBIG consulting on sustainable business and published a reccomendations report


  • Green Electricity Certificate from Bullfrog Power 

  • Official carbon-neutral status, annual membership with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to offset emissions with tree purchase and planting  

  • Inauguration of the annual Teas for Trees campaign (ongoing)


  • Green Globe Award - Waste Reduction from CEEC 


  • Official zero consumer waste status reached, all products and packaging were diverted from landfill 


  • Promotional partnership with the annual Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference (CEEC) (ongoing) 

  • Greener and Cleaner educational campaign 


  • Weekly Planet Earth screening in the Tea Room in association with Students Taking Responsible Initiatives for a Viable Environment (STRIVE) 

  • Tea Room is powered by 100% renewable energy, through Bullfrog Power 


  • Development of a manadatory environmental for all staff (ongoing) 

  • Sustainable business class talk at KCVI 

  • Development of HATCH metric system to measure water and energy cosumption 

  • Introduction of the Tea Room Environmental Education Library (ongoing) 


  • Travel mug promotion and discount for take-away beverages (ongoing)  

  •  Vermicomposting system on site 

  •  Introduction of biodegradable cups and packaging 

  • Selling Fairtrade tea and coffee and locally sourced food items (ongoing) 

  • Partnership with a coffee co-op in Guatemala (ongoing)

  • Doors open as the first environmentally sustainable coffee shop in North America 

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