Category Archives: Green Living

Waste Free Living – Bulk Additions/Changes

We have been answering so many questions lately about our refill products, that we felt we should probably fill you all in on some changes and additions.

First off we want to give a huge shout out to all of you that have been using the refill system in an effort to reduce waste.  We have been amazed at the amount of interest and use at this location, so much so that we want to keep adding to it!  Please be sure to let us know your requests and if there is enough interest then we would look at bringing that in.

The biggest change that many have noticed is the brand switch of our main household line.  We had been stocking and offering bulk products for the past 5 years from Sapadilla Soap Co. and have now been replacing it with a line from The Unscented Company.  The reason for the change had nothing to do with the product itself, it’s a fabulous line!  Unfortunately though Sapadilla has been sold to a US Corporation called Gorilla Glue and this is just not inline with our mission and commitment to stock Canadian.

The Unscented Company is from Montreal, it is entirely plant-based, biodegradable and yes, unscented.  However, we know many loved the scents that the previous line offered so we are encouraging customers to try their hand at scenting using essential oils that we stock in store.  We have considered offering a custom scenting add-on if there was enough interest.

In addition to the The Unscented Company we have a hair/body line available for refill from local manufacturer, Pure Anada, our always in demand Dry Patch lotion from Di Erbe and from Mama Pacha we offer refills for their popular Calendula infused diaper cream & wipe away bum spray as well as their face cream and beard oil.  Our newest addition is an unscented castille liquid soap that is locally made in Steinbach by Naturally Powerful.

The last of the Eco-life cleaning products are available for purchase & refill until they are finished.  There are also some of the bulk concentrate available for retail purchase on a clearance price.  This line is no longer being manufactured it seems after the farmer that created it passed away.  It’s a wonderful line that we have carried from day one and are sad to see it fall away.

Lastly, we have heard from many of you that are interested in making your own products that you are wanting us to bring in raw ingredients.  We are slowly doing this!  We currently have organic dried Calendula, lavender and rose petals. We plan to add a couple of carrier oils next, citric acid and some popular clays.  Again if there is something you are hoping to find here and there is enough demand we will do our best to add it to the line up!

Of course we should also mention our small bulk food section, this is the list of what we currently offer for organic bulk food:

  • Adagio Acres Naked Oats *MB
  • Tamarak Farms Quinoa *MB
  • Wildman Rice *MB
  • Pistachios
  • Spanish Almonds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Non GMO Popping Corn
  • Garbonzo Beans
  • Medjool Dates
  • Aluminum Free Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Flour
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Lightly Dusted Ginger
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Lentils
  • Cane Sugar
  • Trail Mix
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Xylitol

One last reminder, you are more than welcome to bring in your own container to fill, we will weigh it before you fill and deduct that off the product price.  Please only bring CLEAN and dry containers to be filled.

Thank for doing your part to reuse and reduce as well as support local!

 

Conscious Consumerism – Fashion

If you’re looking to be a more eco-friendly consumer when it comes to your clothing, you’ve come to the right place! Fast fashion is mass produced inexpensive clothing retailers create in response to the latest trends, which leads to the over consumption of clothing by customers, ultimately creating more waste on Earth. There are more than a few problems with fast fashion. First off, have you ever thought about why you can buy that H&M top for $5? Well, huge producers like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc outsource their factories in developing countries, paying their workers unbelievably low wages, in poor working conditions in order to sell their clothing so cheap. Second, producing such inexpensive clothing based off trends that come and go creates a problem for our environment. Often these clothing items don’t last long due to poor quality and when the trend dies off, that cheetah print top you bought last month will most likely end up in the trash or stuffed in the back of your closet.

The fashion industry is one of many huge polluters destroying our planet, thrifting your clothing is just one more way to live a greener life. If you care to learn more about the damaging effects of the fashion industry I highly suggest the documentary “The True Cost”, which discusses the ethical and environmental dangers of fast fashion.

Holly in one of her thrift find outfits

To counter the effects of over producing clothing, thrifting is an amazing alternative way to shop. There are already so many stunning pieces out there just waiting to be found! Thrifting is about finding pieces you love, that you might not normally think to get at a big department store.

Since starting to thrift I’ve grown into my own style, discovered pieces I love to wear, that make me feel confident. Not to mention the excitement you feel when you find a pair of jeans that hug your curves just right, and you only paid $2.00 for. In addition to the great pricing, your style will become completely distinctive. Finding cool and unique pieces ensures you’ll never have an awkward ‘who wore it better’ situation at work or school.

Also, you can find high quality clothing items that will last you much longer, and survive the come and go of trendy fashion. We have some great local fashion designers right here in Winnipeg that design and manufacture statement pieces that will take you through all seasons and last forever!  Check out a couple of our personal faves; Prana Vida StyleLennard Taylor & Sarah Sue Design Plus your supporting local! Win Win! But if you really want to stick with the trends you can still find them at the thrift store, often for a way better price.

Plato’s Closet is one second hand shop that selects the clothing they sell, and they choose pieces that are more trendy and appeal to the fashionistas out there. Plato’s is a great place to start if you’re just getting into the swing of things. Value Village and Salvation Army are also really good chain thrift stores and I highly suggest giving them a shot as well! And last, but definitely not least, there are many vintage shops in Winnipeg that offer a wide variety of vintage clothes.  

All in all, thrifting is great for the environment, your wallet, and your style. What could be better! Check out the tips below on how to begin your thrifting journey, and good-luck!

Thrifting tips:

  1. Don’t expect to find everything you want the first time you go. Thrifting is a process, and it takes time and patience.
  2. Look in ALL the sections, some of my absolute favourite jackets, jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters are from the men’s section.
  3. Keep your eye out for colours and patterns that you love and go from there. Having a place to start can make the huge selection a little less intimidating.
  4. Don’t forget to look at accessories! Purses and jewelry can be very expensive to buy new and the thrift stores have a large selection for a quarter of the price.
  5. Try EVERYTHING on! You never know until you try it! If you find something your not 100% sure about, give it a shot and you might surprise yourself.

Written by: Holly Simpson

The Good Planet Project

There are a lot of good people in the world, although sometimes it may be hard to believe when we are bombarded with negativity, greed, and consumerism on all sides. I remember reading once that all that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to meet some of the people who are fighting the good fight. Dylan Leeder, the founder of the Good Planet Project and his travelling companion Brittney stopped in at Generation Green. It was one of many stops during their road trip across Canada.

When I first met them, they seemed like very humble and kind people. They had had trouble finding parking for their van, just like anyone else would in Downtown Winnipeg. When they arrived, we made sure to serve them some coffee from Acorn Cafe, and we just…talked.

In one short hour, I felt more inspired than I had all summer to make a change in my lifestyle, to travel, to be open minded…

And I want to share this feeling with you. This is the feeling that can spark a movement, make changes, empower people.

So let’s start at the beginning. What is the Good Planet project?

The first thing you’ll see on their website is that the Good Planet Project is a documentary exploration of the people, lifestyles, and efforts that are dedicated towards the repair and conservation of our planet. Dylan has been driving across Canada in a self-made van, decked out with solar panels, trying to find the ways in which people are facing environmental issues in their own cities. Through photography, Dylan is also showing people the natural beauty of our country and inspiring us to protect it in order to keep it that way.

They told us about their travels and their goals. When we asked how they had found us, a small business in the heart of Winnipeg, they told us that after a quick Instagram search of ‘sustainability Winnipeg,’ we were the first thing to pop up. Although I’m happy that my workplace is apparently the hub of sustainable and healthy living in Winnipeg according to Instagram, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that there weren’t more results.

As we were talking, the conversation steered toward the difficulties of trying to change a system while still being a part of it.

Allow me to this explain further.

Dylan has had his own struggles with this. For over eight years, he worked in the advertising industry. The work took its toll on him. He felt a lot of guilt about the work that he did, the unnecessary products he encouraged people to buy, and how much of those products have ended up in a landfill. He goes into more detail on his website, so be sure to check that out.

I think that a lot of us can relate to this feeling. So much of the work that we do to support ourselves and our families involves doing things that may go against our values. Maybe that means sitting at a desk all day when you really wish you could be working outside. Maybe it means working in building or planning, and knowing that you have to tear down nature to build up a house or business or road. Maybe you work with food and drink, and see how much of it goes to waste every single day.

Within capitalism, we find so many contradictions. Not to get too technical here, but the exploitation that comes with capitalism – the exploitation of the worker, the environment, the children, the poor – is not sustainable, and eventually it will fall apart. Our planet does not contain unlimited resources, and sooner  or later we are going to run out. It’s just a question of what we’re going to use up first.

But in order to do something about this, it’s pretty much impossible to both reject capitalism and fight it effectively. The most difficult issue to get around is money. It’s pretty much impossible to live in this society without money. You have to buy things to support yourself and when you do this, you are supporting the industry. Short of moving to the middle of nowhere and growing all your own food, providing all your own power and being completely self-sufficient, you can’t completely reject the unsustainable system we are all living in.

Take Dylan’s project for example. One of the things we discussed is the contradiction between driving across Canada to find ways to save the environment and live sustainably, while driving across Canada in a gas-guzzling van.

But what I learned from Dylan and Brittney is that you have to make the best of what you’re given. The optimism and inspiration that they have brought with them through this country have done a lot to counteract the emissions from their van. There is a lot to be said about just doing what you can. For example, they have outfitted their van with solar panels, as I mentioned, and they are very conscious of their potential impacts on the environment.

Being conscious, and wanting to do the best you can are integral to living sustainably, or in developing any skill. Once you are self-aware and have a desire to improve, it’s hard not to change.

I look forward to following the rest of Dylan and Brittney’ journey as they return home to Calgary and begin to debrief everything they have learned on their travels. Stay tuned to The Good Planet Project to learn more, and hopefully get inspired to be one of the good people!

Series written by Chantal Delaquis

 

No Dairy?! – Ethics

Veganism for health or for the environment is easy to get on board with. They are full of facts, statistics, and science. But ethics? That’s a trickier one. There isn’t a bunch of numbers and research I can throw at ya to convince you that consuming dairy isn’t ethical. The ethical motivation has got to come from your gut.

It’s nice for some to imagine that your milk comes from a cow who is free to roam, who loves her caretaker, and can’t wait to go in every morning to get pulled by the udders. The unfortunate truth is that basically none of the milk you can purchase at a store is harvested like this. And even if it was… why do we consume a cow’s milk, and not mi

For starters, when I was going vegan I was hit with this argument a lot: “but females cows constantly produce milk anyway, naturally.”

Stop that right there…. what?!

How does any mammal come about producing milk?

Through pregnancy. Cows are not some marvel of evolution that are exempt from this. So let’s be clear – cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy.

But what about the endless supply of milk in North America then?! The answer is as f’d up as you think it is. Cows are “forcibly impregnated” …every 9 months. Then specific measures are taken to stop the baby cow from drinking their mother’s milk (Which is “meant” for humans?)… *ahem* the veal industry.

Andy the cow was taken from his mother at birth. He would’ve be killed at 4 months old for veal if he wasn’t rescued by a sanctuary

All this, is aside from the fact that cows and all farm animals are kept in totally horrifying conditions. Lots of animal agricultural factories keep animals in a space not big enough for them to move. They are stuck like this their whole (very shortened) lives. Livestock cows are usually killed around 2-5 years old, because they’ve been worked so hard by the industry and their potential is worn out. Non-livestock cows on sanctuary grounds can live over 15 years old. I won’t go much further into this, and it’s pretty easy to google videos of inside factory farms, and see for yourself these horrifying practices. Or check out the movie “Earthlings” or “Dominion” if you wanna go really deep into it.

So even if you commit to exclusively getting your milk from a local, “happy”, “free-range” farm, these questionable practices still take place. Take the time to ask yourself if that’s something you are comfortable with contributing to (with your money.)

Dylan the cow, saved from the veal (dairy) industry, now over 15 years old. Living free at a sanctuary

Another small thought – have you ever thought about that fact that humans drink the breast milk of a cow, into their adulthood? Human breast milk is meant for a growing baby, and after the time of milk production in a person’s life, that baby is no longer in need of breast milk. Even if they were, why do humans consume the milk of a cow and not a pig, a giraffe, or a dog?

I feel like I could write about this topic endlessly. Cows are also totally sentient mammals. Have you seen those adorable videos of cows who live inside a house with their people? We know they’re adorable, and no one has a natural inclination to kill them. Cows feel, cry, and have a desire to live.

Everyone’s veganism journey and experience is different. Veganism is a wonderful lifestyle for a passionate environmentalist, or a major health enthusiast. But you could not give even give a crap about the environment or health, and still totally understand why this is a rad way to eat and live. Veganism at its core, I truly believe, is about ethics.

Article series written by Savannah

Sustainable Living

If you’ve been following along with this series, then you’ve read about the difference between compostable and biodegradable, and have learned to rethink the way we recycle. But what if we could reduce our waste altogether?

It’s all well and good to know how to dispose of our waste properly and divert it from landfills by recycling or composting. But a more long term solution would be to minimize our waste entirely. Reducing our waste is the most sustainable way to take care of our planet, as the abundance of waste, whether it is food waste, plastic, clothes, or just ‘stuff’ in general is really the problem.

To live sustainably, what needs to change is our lifestyle; the way we go through our day.

But that isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the most difficult things for people to do. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it! 

I recently interviewed an incredible woman, whom I will refer to as A. Patterson, who is dedicated to living as sustainably as she can. She educated me about Zero-Waste Living, and she gave me some information that I’m very excited to share with you.

I started with the basics and asked her what zero-waste living meant to her.

“To me, zero-waste living is about reducing as much waste from going to landfill as possible. A core belief of the lifestyle is that it’s a journey and not a destination.”

The less trash we send to landfills, the better. It’s not about being a perfectionist and having absolutely no waste, or getting overwhelmed by just how much waste we produce. It’s about transitioning to being more aware of what we’re throwing out, and finding solutions along the way.

We are all intelligent human beings who are capable of adapting to our changing environment. We live in a society that likes things to be done fast and efficiently (in terms of both time and money), with only the short-term gains in mind. We’ve become comfortable, and less accountable for our actions. It’s easy for us to fall into this mindset when our waste disappears after we throw it away. We can get caught in the trap of thinking that our actions have no consequences. In reality, a plastic bag we have used for maybe a few minutes to carry our groceries home has harmed or even killed a creature in the ocean, thousands of miles away.           

Patterson says that one of the biggest things she has learned in her transition to zero-waste is just “how many of the things we think just disappear when we throw them away actually make their way into our environment and oceans. As well that small actions can have huge consequences both positive and negative. A simple balloon, straw or plastic bag that is used for a matter of minutes can have consequences to wildlife on the other side of the world. As well that what we think is recycled in our local municipal system is actually fairly limited. It has definitely made me research more sustainable ways of dealing with items I no longer need.”  

I believe we’ve gotten to a point where we have a hard time distinguishing between what we want and what we need. We actually don’t need boxes of kleenex. It’s possible to clean your kitchen without using paper towels. You don’t need to buy a coffee in a disposable cup on your way to work. These are all things that we want to do; things that are easy and comfortable.

I’ll state it again because I think it’s such an important thing to remember: changing your habits to live sustainably is not easy. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to want to buy that coffee and throw away the cup afterward without a second thought. You’re going to want to buy more things than you need. It might be a confusing transition.

I think that a lot of people expect green living to be easier than they thought, and give up when it gets challenging. I find myself falling into old habits more than I’d like – it happens to everyone. But once you build a new routine for yourself, it becomes as natural as breathing – and the air will be cleaner too.

To be conscious of it is the first step, and doing something about it is next.

I’ll end with some of Patterson’s tips and tricks to living more sustainably and producing less waste:

  • Carrying a reusable water bottle/coffee cup
  • Carrying a reusable shopping bag
  • Carrying a small kit of reusable cutlery, food storage and a cloth napkin 
  • Buying produce in cloth bags instead of plastic
  • Buying pantry items at a bulk food store or in recyclable/compostable packaging
  • Using your own containers when buying bulk
  • Buying personal care items (shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc) without packaging or in packaging that can be reused/recycled/composted or refilling them at Generation Green 😉
  • Donating unused items to places like Goodwill and ArtsJunction
  • Composting and recycling as much as possible!
  • Take special recycling items like old electronics to proper disposal locations;  BellMTS will take old phones for recycling and places like staples and hardware stores offer more types of recycling for thing like electronics, printer cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, etc.
  • Another big challenge is snacks and ordering in food (Skip the Dishes is always so tempting after a long day of work) and while it’s something I’m still working on my solution is to keep pantry staples for quick meals and easy snacks (bought with minimal packaging or at bulk stores) at home and with me to reduce the temptation. If I do order take-out I make sure to bring my own reusable containers
  • Some great resources are the “Journey to Zero-waste” Facebook groups. There’s a global one and ones broken down by region. Winnipeg has one too!

Stay tuned for articles about special recycling items, travelling sustainably and more!

Article written by Chantal Delaquis

 

 

No Dairy?! – Environment

Oh boy, this is a long one! But stay with me! Animal agriculture has all types of negative effects on the environment that are somewhat “hidden” from the public! I’ve tried to summarize here all the major points! If you don’t have time to read through this article, feel free to skip to the header that most interests you. There is a paragraph on water usage + pollution, air pollution, and land usage + destruction!

All of these effects contribute to the reasons that Acorn Cafe will not serve dairy (or any animal products!) As an eco-friendly store, we can’t reconcile being kind to the environment while eating animal products. These two things just don’t go together!

Water

Water Usage

Fresh water is a precious resource. We literally could not live without it. Did you know only 1% of all water on earth is water that humans can actually use? That 1% is fresh water, the other 99% of water on earth is salt water. Fresh water is not something that should be taken for granted! Unfortunately, 55% of all the water that is used in America is used on animal agriculture (and dairy production!) If everyone had a plant based diet we could use so! much! less! water on a regular basis.

One pound of wheat only takes about 25 gallons of water to produce. To produce the same amount of beef it takes 2500 gallons! For reference, the amount of water used in one hamburger is equivalent to the amount of water that would be used if someone ran their shower 24/7 for 3 whole months! It isn’t just hamburgers that use too much water – there are similar statistics for all types of animal agriculture (dairy included.) 477 gallons of water for 1 pound of eggs, 900 gallons of water for 1 pound of cheese, and 1000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of dairy milk. (Sources)

Water Pollution

Not only does animal agriculture use soo much water, but it’s also the top cause of water pollution in America. What does animal agriculture pollute the water with? Animal excrement. That’s right… so. much. animal sh*t.

There are an overabundance of animals bred in North America at every minute, and the amount of waste they all produce is absurd. Unfortunately, this waste must go somewhere, and usually the industries decide that it will go in our water.

Animals raised for food produce excrement significantly faster than the human species. Animals in agriculture produce about 130 times more feces than the human population. About 86000 pounds of animal waste are produced per second which equals to 5 to 7 million pounds a minute. This is a huge amount of waste that doesn’t really have anywhere to go. (Source, source)

When this sweet, loveable breed is overbred – they create an unsustainable amount of waste!!

The water polluted by animal waste is also the cause of all and any E. Coli, salmonella, and listeria outbreaks. Despite popular belief that E. Coli can be sourced from plants, E. Coli only comes only from literal sh*t. Plants don’t produce any, so ultimately any plant with E. Coli has received it from animal agriculture/animal excrement.

This generally happens from lake or river runoff, or from spraying plants with unfiltered water. Sometimes filtered water even does it, considering the MASS amount of waste it tries to sort through, filtration can’t always successfully cleanse this water. (Source)

Air Pollution

Animal agriculture is also a major source of air pollution. Animal agriculture releases more green house gas emissions than other any industry. That means even more than the transportation industry, despite popular belief.

Air pollution has the potential to sicken the earth and all its human and non-human inhabitants. The meat, dairy, and egg industries all emit two highly poisonous pollutants  –  nitrous oxide, and methane. In addition to this, animal agriculture clears and burns rain forests. This process produces 165 pounds of carbon dioxide per hamburger that is produced on that land. (Source) This ends up being 51% of all worldwide CO2/greenhouse gas emissions.

More than that, methane is another air pollutant that can be 86 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Cows happen to produce 150, 000, 000, 000 gallons of methane per day! (P.s. that’s 150 billion gallons.)

And even nitrous oxide happens to be 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. 65% of its human related emissions are due to livestock. (Source)

Land

Usage + Destruction

There doesn’t need to be an over abundance of cows, but since there are they require an unsustainable amount of space!

Animal agriculture requires a huge amount of land. 2 to 5 acres are needed per indivual cow that is raised for beef. That’s 20x more land than what is needed to grow crops for a vegan diet.

On top of the land that is needed for livestock – tons of vegetation land is used to exclusively grow crops to feed to live stock. So 80% of all agricultural land is used to raise animals for food. There could be so much more food produced to feed so many more people if all of of the agricultural land was used for grain and plant production for human consumption.

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. 290 million acres in America have been cleared to grow animal feed. Most of the topsoil that is lost in America every year is due to dairy and beef production.  To feed a person who consumes animal products, about 3.25 acres of land are needed per year. Meanwhile, a vegan would only require 1/6 of a single acre per year.

To try and keep up with this unsustainable amount of land needed to meet the high and excessive demand of meat and dairy products, tons of land and rain forest destruction takes place. In rain forest countries, about 220 square feet of rain forest is cleared to produce 1 pound of beef. The amount of rain forest destroyed for animal agriculture everyday is larger than New York City. This displaces and destroys 2600 pounds of other living matter (not to mention habitats,) and endless species. Unlike coniferous forest, tropical rainforest can never be replaced once it’s cleared. It is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. (Source, source)


*Please note – information and facts here are not Generation Green or Acorn Cafe’s. All information has been outsourced. Please reference the links in this article to further investigate! You are your own health advocate so make informed choices!!

Article written by Savannah

Compostable vs. Biodegradable

My last article touched on recycling and how our focus needs to be on reducing & reusing and now will dig a little into composting and biodegradable products.

It seems like common sense that something biodegradable must be good for the environment. Break down the word and you have bio and degradable; will degrade naturally. But like most modern “Green” marketing schemes, the details and science behind the products are easily overlooked.

What most people don’t realize is that Biodegradable plastic will NOT decompose in a landfill. Anything biodegradable requires oxygen to break down in order to decompose properly. Companies also do not specify a time requirement for how long it takes the biodegradable plastic to decompose other than ‘a reasonable amount’, which translates to: less than 1000 years.

photo credit: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com

Say you bought a Blue Majik smoothie at Acorn cafe. You walk the streets getting stares because of the bright blue drink in your cup, but it’s so delicious, you don’t care. When you’re done, you throw it in the trash with confidence because you know that it is biodegradable plastic.

Now, imagine a landfill.

Mountains and mountains of plastic garbage bags full of discarded, lost or unwanted possessions, all wasting away. That ugly mess will be there for thousands and thousands of years.

Needless to say, a biodegradable cup squished between heavy plastic garbage bags will have little to no oxygen. In the end, it’s basically as bad as throwing regular plastic into the trash. (So if you’re not already composting, please feel free to bring it back to our location & toss in our compost collector).

Biodegradable material will degrade when composted properly in the bins we provide at the cafe, but when thrown in a landfill, there is hardly any benefit to using them at all.

Compost is a little bit different. Compostable products will break down into carbon dioxide, water and other small pieces within about 90 days. It is a completely organic process, and will not leave behind a toxic residue.

But throwing a compostable cup into the trash is not any better than a biodegradable one. Suffocated by tons and tons of plastic, compostable foods like banana peels or compostable cups, will not decompose into the rich, fertilizing soil that is the result of professional or backyard composting.

Bottom line, anything thrown into the trash – anything – is polluting the environment.

photo credit: http://greenactioncentre.ca/reduce-your-waste/introducing-compost-winnipeg/

This is why composting is so important. We create organic waste that can be transformed into nourishing, completely non-toxic soil that can be used to grow even more organic products! Composting cuts down on the greenhouse gases that are emitted constantly by landfills, allow the volume of waste to be reduced by a HUGE amount.

Even if you don’t have a compost at home, pay attention to what you’re throwing out.

You may be astonished at how much of it could actually just be composted instead!

Our friends over at Compost Winnipeg have a list of items that can/cannot be composted that you can check out here: https://www.compostwinnipeg.ca/faqs

If you’re interested in learning more about composting in your own home or perhaps signing up on the neighbourhood compost pick up, click here: https://www.compostwinnipeg.ca/sign-up

Series written by Chantal Delaquis

Recycling Explained – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

In my last article titled “Where Do I Put My Garbage?”  I spoke about the confusion that many folks can have understanding the difference between compostable, biodegradable and of course recycling.  As promised, let’s first start off with a look at recycling.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

I’m sure the majority of us have heard of these three ‘R’ words: reduce your consumption, reuse what you can, and recycle what’s left. They’re good words to live by.

In the past few decades, recycling has increased dramatically. Beside almost every garbage can, there is a matching blue bin. It is expected that plastic, glass, and paper are thrown into the latter, and those who don’t do this are often given disapproving looks. I personally find it extremely irritating to see stacks of paper or recyclable plastic in the garbage, and am quick to correct this error.

But, as most things are, it’s not that simple. Although ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is a memorable catchphrase, it fails to mention how the way we recycle is changing, especially here in Winnipeg.

In April 2018, CBC published a series called “Reduce, Reuse, Rethink”, revealing common misconceptions about recycling.

You can read the full article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-manitoba-recycling-rules-1.4625533

Basically, what can and can’t be recycled in Winnipeg has changed now that China, the largest market for Canadian recyclables, has changed many of their regulations. For example, dark coloured plastics, like a Tim Hortons coffee cup lid, cannot be recycled in Winnipeg.

Some other quick tips for your recycling include:

  • Clean your containers.The cleaner your recycling is, the easier it is to process and the less energy is required to wash it. It will also have a better chance of being reused.

  • Don’t use plastic bags. If you throw out your recycling in a plastic bag, it will most likely end up in a landfill.

  • Styrofoam is not recyclable in Winnipeg, even though has the little triangle symbol on it.

A more extensive list can be found on the City of Winnipeg website: http://www.winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/recycle/4rdepots/acceptedMaterial.stm

I know it seems like a lot, and possibly overwhelming, but becoming aware of the regulations in our city is so important. It’s easy to ignore the little details, throw containers in a blue bin and call it a day, but in reality, our city and our planet are suffering for it. If you’re reading this, you’re one of the few who are fighting this wasteful consumerism. This awareness will help us be more conscientious consumers, and it’s definitely worth the effort.

Next article: Compostable vs Biodegradable

Series written by Chantal Delaquis

No Dairy?! – Health

We talk alot instore to folks that want to make lifestyle changes for a variety of reasons. Sometimes due to health, sometimes it’s because of ethics.  Having many vegan staff working at Generation Green/Acorn Cafe really helps us to collectively have a better understanding.  We are always open to discussing, and of course, learning.  This article is hopefully able to offer some better understanding or at the very least, have you researching!

Dairy is not good. It is especially no good for our health. We all can take some time to focus on our physical well-being. Unfortunately the mass amounts of false information in the world can lead us astray when it comes to what is best for our bodies. I think its safe to say we all grew up learning that dairy was a staple to optimal health. Dairy is the key to healthy bones and teeth, right?…Wrong! Sooo wrong! Here’s a couple of my top dairy health facts, starting with the healthy bones and teeth myth.

Assistant Store Manager, Savannah, at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in N.Y.

Bones + Teeth

Dairy (specifically animal protein, which in milk, is casein) actually contributes to osteoporosis! (The degradation of bones and teeth.) I’ll try to explain in the simplest way! – Blood and tissue need to always remain at a neutral Ph. Milk is very acidic to the body and phosphate is the key to re-balance Ph in the body if it is too acidic. Phosphate is found in the bones only in a form which it is bonded (stuck) to calcium. The body extracts this phosphate that is bonded to calcium from the bones to offset acidity caused by dairy. It only needs to use the phosphate and then excretes the calcium through urine. (Source)

What does this mean? What we do know is that calcium is key to strong bones and teeth. When we consume dairy, it literally causes us to dispose of calcium!! This Harvard University Nurses’ Health Study states that dairy products offer no protection from bone fractures or osteoporosis!

Cancer

Unfortunately, animal protein in dairy is a huge factor in the formation and reemergence of cancer. For a similar reason actually as to what I mentioned above. Dairy is very acidic! Even if cancer is entirely removed, cancer “activators” will still remain present and thrive in an acidic environment. A plant-based diet does not cause an acidic environment in the body! (Source)

Intolerance

Dylan the cow, resting and free, at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, N.Y.

Many people are intolerant to dairy, by not being able to produce the lactase enzyme to digest lactose. Its actually not really natural for humans to produce the lactase enzyme. Many people do though because they begin to consume dairy as children right after being weened off of breast milk/formula. This is also why if you stop consuming dairy at any point in your life, you will likely become much more sensitive or even intolerant to it, since your body will not naturally produce lactase. It only produces lactase as a response to consuming lactose. These issues lead to common side effects of eating dairy such as bloating, indigestion, and acne and skin problems. (Source)

Hormone Consumption

The machines used to pump the milk out of a cow’s udders can very often cause infections inside and outside the udder. Even through pasteurization and inspection, a fair amount of somatic cells (pus) can end up in your dairy. This can also happen on organic/free-range/grass-fed/antibiotic-free farms as the machines still easily cause infections, and the animals are most susceptible to it if they are not treated with antibiotics. In fact – farmed animals are legally allowed to be fed grain with 2-20x the “healthy” amount of chemicals that humans are regulated to consume. Not to mention  the other chemicals that are applied to cows to kill flies, mosquitoes, and diseases… which all end up absorbed by the body and at some point processed into the foods a person can consume.


*Please note – information and facts here are not Generation Green or Acorn Cafe’s. All information has been outsourced. Please reference the links in this article to further investigate! You are your own health advocate so make informed choices!!

Organic dairy farms and chemicals

Chemical + hormone consumption

Article written by Savannah

Where Do I Put My Garbage?

It happens every day. I’ll be at the cafe, prepping food, making drinks, or doing dishes, and a confused-looking customer will come to me with a handful of empty food containers. Are these compostable???

Yes, all Acorn cafe packages are compostable!

Honestly, I don’t blame anyone for being confused and it makes me really happy to be able to say that EVERYTHING at the cafe is compostable.

Before I started research for this article, I wasn’t even sure what the distinction was between compostable and biodegradable. And where does recycling fit into this mix? Why can’t I put compostable things in the trash?

The more environmentally aware we become, the more conscious we have to be about where our garbage goes. It unfortunately can’t just disappear or be launched into space. There are real consequences of wasting or misinformation, and if you want to be part of the small population of people who know about this process and be informed, then keep reading!

Being environmentally conscious isn’t just about recycling anymore. We have to take stronger measures to save our planet, and it will affect every area of our lives, from the way we eat, to what we use to eat it, to how we dispose of it when we’re done.

My mom always told me “Waste not, want not,” and I’m really just starting to understand what that means. Now, I want to share it with you.

Follow along this series to learn about the difference between biodegradable and compostable, what can be recycled and more!

Next article to follow: Recycling Explained

Series written by Chantal Delaquis