Tag Archives: Environment issues

Conscious Consumerism: Environmental Effects Of Milk(s)

Have you ever considered the resources that it takes to get the type of milk you drink into the carton?

Even if you’ve made the switch from dairy to an alternative, do you know the costs of consuming it? Dairy milk is #1 on the most wanted list for contributing extremely damaging effects to the environment when it comes to milk options.

Dairy milk is skyscrapers above oat, rice, almond or soy milk in emissions, land use and water use. Dairy milk is so damaging because it takes a lot of water, food, land and other resources to keep dairy cows fed and healthy in order to produce the immense amount of milk we consume in North America. So the first thing you can do to become a more conscious consumers is cut out dairy! Even if you need to start off slowly, removing it from your diet one day a week, then two days, then three; however long it takes, in doing this one thing you will be making a difference.

The next step is choosing a milk replacement that will best suit your needs and the environment that we so deeply depend upon. Nowadays, there are dairy alternatives for pretty much everything you can think of.  Acorn Cafe’s own: Vegan Fromagerie’s cheeses will blow your mind and I bet you won’t even miss the dairy cheese! Silk Almond for coffee (coffee creamers) are to die for and you can get them at most supermarkets. Earth’s Own So Fresh oat milk is perfect for lattes and smoothies and they also come in single serve cartons that are perfect for lunches. Not to mention they also have a chocolate variety which is equally delicious.

http://strategyonline.ca/2019/04/03/earths-own-calls-for-plant-based-revolution/

Now with that in mind, we must always consider the effects on our environment if you desire to be a more conscious consumer. Despite being exponentially lower than dairy milk, some of these alternatives can be very damaging as well. Oat milk has by far the lowest resource use out of all of the options I have listed. Despite what we may think not all milk alternatives are a better alternative; it takes upwards of 80 litres of water to produce just a single glass of almond milk! Although almond milk uses less water and land and produces less emissions than dairy, it is not the most environmentally friendly in comparison to soy or oat. This is why Acorn Cafe is switching all of our smoothie recipes to oat instead of almond milk to reduce our own footprint!

Let’s keep the conversation ball rolling! Comment below if you have any tips or tricks on how to be a more conscious consumer. Or better yet, start a conversation on our Instagram or Facebook page… we’d love to hear from you!

  • Article written by Holly Simpson

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

The Dark Side of Spring – and How You Can Help

It is really easy to talk to people about the weather. When it comes to climate, we are all living under the same sky, and our feet walk the same earth. By ‘we’, I’m referring, of course, to the human race, but I’m also referring to you and your neighbours, coworkers, friends and family. Right now, our city is going through a collective sigh of relief as the winter cold melts away and leaves behind the fresh air of spring. There’s something about blue sky and sunshine that draws people out from their makeshift caves and into the community. We can finally walk around the neighbourhood, eat lunch on the patio, ride our bikes to work and tan in our backyards. We can forget the skin-stinging cold and knee-high snow of Winnipeg winter, and appreciate our months of sunshine.

As nice as it sounds, spring isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There is a part of it that we don’t talk about. Maybe we’re ashamed of it. Maybe we have been desensitized and simply don’t care. Maybe we don’t even notice it anymore. It’s easy to forget about it in the winter because it is so well hidden. Out of sight and out of mind. But the snow evaporates into the warm spring air, and reveals an ugly truth about human nature.

Soggy drink cups and cigarette butts replace the crisp pile of snowflakes. Plastic bags roam the streets, and empty beer bottles slump against buildings. The beauty of spring is at war with our forgotten past, carelessly tossed from car windows or mindlessly dropped on the grass.

How many of us have walked outside and kicked a stray cup out of our way, or skillfully avoided spots of gum on the sidewalk? The stink of cigarettes and fumes of daily traffic hover over the city, entering our lungs without us even noticing.

Litter isn’t just litter. It’s a mentality. It seems to be socially acceptable to litter. Or maybe it’s just a bad habit. Maybe it’s disrespect for the environment, or just a thoughtless, harmless action: “The planet will be fine if I throw my cigarette butt out my car window. That’s nothing. Who cares? I wish these crazy environmentalists would relax.”

I’m sure that most people reading this know someone who thinks this way. The increasing number of climate change deniers is terrifying. We can no longer deny what is right in front of our eyes.

I don’t want to be that person, and if you’ve read this far, then I’m hoping you don’t either. If you love the freshness of spring and want to continue to experience it for the rest of your life, then something has to change. It has to. In a couple decades, our seasons could be unrecognizable. Our Winterpeg winters may pale in comparison to the climate change that is to come. We all live under the same sky and walk the same earth, and we must all deal with the consequences of actions on the environment.

One small thing you can do to help is join us on May 30, 2018  at Generation Green, at 100-433 Main Street, for a community clean up. Anyone who is passionate about the planet is welcome to meet us at the store at 6:30pm, armed with compostable garbage bags and gloves (please bring reusable gloves if you have your own – we will provide garbage bags). We will march through the Exchange, cleaning up everything in our path. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. There’s plenty of litter to go around. Start your own community clean up, and tag us on instagram or Facebook! Let’s make our city beautiful again.

Written by Chantal Delaquis

Butt Out….Like Seriously!!!

In April, Generation Green and Acorn Cafe’s owner and manager, Sherry, participated in an Exchange District Community Clean-up! She met with others in the area to benefit our beautiful nook of the city, by collecting non-organic waste that has been littered onto the sidewalks and boulevards!

Within a single hour, Sherry came back appalled, sharing that she was able to collect a full garbage bag of not only trash but a ridiculous amount of cigarette butts! We all know by now smoking isn’t any good for anybody, certainly not for our beautiful atmosphere! If you cannot stop smoking, please take the minimal time and effort to bring the end of your cigarette to a disposal bin!

“Cigarette butt waste is the last socially acceptable form of littering in what has become an increasingly health and environmentally conscious world”.

With this inspiration, we decided to host a new staff + community event, which we intend to do monthly! A Generation Green Community Clean-up! On Wednesday, May 30th Generation Green and Acorn Cafe are going to get together to walk around the Exchange District to pick up litter!

Check our Facebook event, and if you are available, come join us!! Absolutely everybody is welcome!

It’s not just the unsightly mess that bothers us, there is the environmental impact, the health issues, the misconceptions the tobacco industry puts out (like adding a filter will make it less harmful), the toxic soup (leachates) that are created when those butts get wet! Just one  of those soggy cigarette butts will kill half the fish that are exposed to that toxic soup!  Click here to read more about this huge issue. 

Written by Savannah for Generation Green May 2018 Newsletter