Close to downtown Covington, Campbell’s Coffee and Tea is convenient to most of the schools in town as well as the hospital corridor. But Campbell’s owners Campbell Morrison and Elizabeth Van Sant say their loyal customers choose Campbell’s because of the fabulous coffee.
Campbell’s is the only coffee shop on the Northshore that roasts its own coffee, resulting in the freshest coffee experience in town and one that fits its green business model. Elizabeth explains: “People who enjoy and appreciate coffee for its own sake have recognized what we are doing and reward us with their business and support.” Elizabeth hopes to see Campbell’s “increase the sophistication of the coffee experience on the Northshore” and is working with roasters in New Orleans on joint education campaigns and initiatives.
Central to Campbell’s green philosophy is its adherence to reducing, reusing and recycling. Because recycling is so difficult in this region, Campbell and Elizabeth first stress the need to reduce the amount of trash generated and energy used at the shop. The next step is to reuse whatever can be in a safe and healthy way. Recycling comes third but is an integral component in this and every green business.
Elizabeth in particular has always been passionate about this, having always wondered, “Where exactly is Away? Everyone always talks about throwing things away without any real understanding of what the trash process actually is. If more people took the time to follow their waste once it leaves their hands, they’d be much more likely to produce less trash and conserve more resources.”
The average coffee shop produces a great deal of waste: milk jugs, aerosol for whipped cream, the glass bottles of flavored syrups, cardboard packaging of anything that is delivered or brought to the premises, and so forth. To combat this excessive waste, Campbell’s recycles all of their plastics, glass, cardboard, and newspapers/magazines.
Extending the model farther, they strive to be green in all business decisions. Campbell’s makes their own whipped cream (generating no waste), avoids using excessive packaging, and composts 100% of their coffee grinds. They are also moving toward a comprehensive education campaign for customers that they hope will result in immensely cutting down on the use of disposable coffee cups. Anyone who is served in house is served in ceramic mugs and on plates; not only does the coffee taste better this way, the entire coffee experience is heightened and the amount of waste is reduced. It’s a win-win situation all around.
When you talk to Elizabeth, she probably won’t mention she was named by weekly newspaper Gambit a 2008 “40 Under 40” recipient, which recognizes some of the young people who are making remarkable contributions to the New Orleans metropolitan region.
Instead, she will reiterate concern for the environment, which she defines as the local community and the planet. “A thriving community and a thriving planet both depend on consumers; individuals need to make responsible consumer choices that not only satisfy their cravings but that also promote and sustain the local community without causing undue harm ‘away’ from the immediate area,” she says.
Supporting Campbell’s is one such choice. Consumers can enjoy the freshest coffee in town while knowing they are supporting a green business with a tiny carbon footprint that in turn gives direct support to schools and community events. As Campbell is well-known for saying to customers, “We may be making jokes and having fun, but we ain’t playing!