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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.

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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