What will change at our Espresso Bar as a result of the ban on single use plastics?
Big Fat Goose Egg!
We banned them before we even opened our doors!
Here’s another single use plastic we eliminated – the takeout coffee cup lid. Ours are made from compressed sugar cane fibres. They’re biodegradable and back yard compostable. If your coffeeshop doesn’t use them, ask them why not?
Last week, the Federal Government announced plans to ban plastic bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and hard-to-recycle take out containers starting sometime in 2022 (we think, but the timeline is vague).
Great news! This is a good first step but a timid one, in our opinion. Why take so long and, more importantly, why not include more items?
In all the time we have been here (16 years at time of writing), the big chains, who will have the greatest environmental impact, have done nothing.
Small socially and environmentally responsible companies are leading the charge on making business more sustainable. Just look around next time you visit one. You’ll see less plastic, more organic, fair trade products, and more locally sourced products.
Dryer sheets, along with other scented household products including fabric softeners, contain a cocktail of industrial chemicals. As single use items, they do not biodegrade but do leach their chemicals. These convenience items are not necessary!
Moss Creek Wool Works hand crafts each dryer ball from pure wool. No colourings or scents added… just pure wool from free range sheep.
Using 3 balls in a dryer load leaves clothes static free and reduces wrinkling. If you want to scent your clothing, you can add for favourite essential oil to the dryer ball! Fragrance without industrial chemicals. Yay!
And using wool dryer balls can reduce the drying time significantly (20%-50%). Given the dryer’s high use of electricity (you see that plug!) this is a meaningful reduction. No single use dryer sheets can do that.
Use these dryer balls up to 500 times! And then, well, they are wool! … leave them to naturally biodegrade.
The packaging is not only delightful, but also plastic free! And did I mention they are down the road in Norfolk County?
All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only.
Have you ever considered the quantity of plastic in the packaging and product of dental floss? It might be a small thing, but everything we do is small until we add it up through our lifetime and across a population. And when there is a great alternative, why wouldn’t we choose it?
SenzaBamboo dental floss is 100% plastic free. The floss is made of natural silk. By spinning the floss cleverly into a cocoon, they were able to ditch the plastic knob in the middle. The cocoon is sealed in a waterproof cornstarch bag that is placed in a paper box.
This is what is possible by just trying and committing.
We also added their charcoal infused toothbrush with bamboo handle and 100% compostable packaging.
All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only.
We select the products in our curated market so we can support others who, like us, and you, strive to make a difference. It is always a matter of weighing one aspect against another. “Do I purchase conventional loose produce or local certified organic packaged in plastic?”
Its complicated. And there is a lot of BS out there. With the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spin, we consumers intuitively know that while many of the claims may have merit, but it is difficult to sort out their comparative “goodness”.
To help us with our own purchasing, we consider these aspects to help us evaluate “goodness”. They are based in our knowledge and judgement of their impact on ecosystems and people. I should be clear, that we have found that quality is often aligned with sustainable production, and exceptional quality is always a prerequisite in our collection.
Our curators’ corner items are available at our storefront.
Our Bird Friendly certified coffee is grown in a biodiverse forest ecosystem that supports wildlife including our migratory songbirds… and Howler Monkeys too!
All Bird Friendly coffee is certified Organic too. Most is also certified Fair Trade and the others are direct trade with estate growers with better than fair trade prices.
“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.” ~IFOAM.org
The organic certification forbids the use of GMOs, so all certified organic products are also non-GMO
More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.2 As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteen-fold since GMOs were first introduced.3 All genetically modified food crops are modified to withstand the application of agro-chemicals.
Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 1
Factory farming inflicts unimaginable cruelty upon livestock. Imagine a laying hen’s life in a cage with 4 other hens, unable to turn around without shoving one another… feet forever on chicken wire… laying almost daily for years. This is the life of hens in industrial egg production facilities. Factory farming is a monstrous example of what happens when decisions are made by uninvolved people using only money to decide and without regard to the consequences.
Palm oil is an environmental disaster laying waste lush biodiverse forests to monoculture. There is no excuse for the monstrous suffering inflicted by the palm oil industry.
Palm oil is not heathy and there are many alternative oils. It is used primarily in processed foods to keep them appearing fresh as they travel through long industrial supply chains.
Palm oil is in most processed foods, most soaps and many cosmetics. It appears on labels in sneaky forms like vegetable oil and ammonium laureth sulphate and Glycerin.
The problem with plastic arises from one of its best qualities: it does not breakdown in natural systems. That is great for something you want to last forever, but it is a very bad characteristic for single use items like product packaging, bottles, takeout food containers, and all items with short useful lifespans.
While decisions in big companies are made based on a spreadsheet, independent suppliers are influenced by other measures of “goodness” like the wellbeing of their co-workers and their families, their passion, and providing value to their customers. They are innovators inspired by factors other than money.
Local and independent companies are more likely to use local suppliers. Instead of profits being concentrated in the hands of big companies, they are distributed throughout our communities. This results in more resilient networks of suppliers and allows our collective values to thrive.
Vegan is a great way to go cruelty free. By ensuring the vegan option does not contain palm oil we can know it did not contribute to clearcutting Indonesian forests. And with strictly non-GMO vegan options, we know that it did not contribute to ecosystem poisoning. And if it is certified organic, we can know it sustains soils and water.
The rise of the use of glyphosate in everyday foods in the USA correlates with 20 prevalent diseases including gluten intolerance. While no study has proved causation, neither has one revealed another cause.
Canadian producers drench millions of acres of wheat with glyphosate days before harvest to enable an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.
This week we expand our Curators’ Corner to include many more items that meet our high standards of quality and sustainability.
While the selection may seem a bit random at the moment, our aim is to connect independent suppliers who are trying to make a difference with consumers who want to support them in their efforts.
We have tried all the products and we love them! Many have been ingredients in our eats for years while others have been our favourites in our home pantries.
For example, we are offering soap and shampoo bars that are palm oil free and are packaged without plastic! And we are adding Huron Sun organic sunflower oil made from Ontario grown sunflower seeds and processed in Ontario. And I can’t wait for the Nuts to You Nut Butters are not only certified organic, but are produced by an Ontario family business!
Every item has a story, and we want to share them all! We believe that food connects us, and that sensing the connections can bring joy and strengthen community.
We hope you will join with us and live an ever more sustainable life full of simple pleasures.
We are proud that our single use cups and lids are compostable. It is our core commitment to “no-single use plastics”.
But you know we always kick it up a notch, right?
We have a trading pool of our REUSEit cups at the café. You can bring us your used cup and trade it in for a clean one with your next coffee in it! This gives you the convenience of single use but eliminates the disposable!
As we celebrate our 15th Anniversary of our Mimico Café, we are offering the REUSEit cup for only $8.00!
Over the past 15 years, we have proudly devoted ourselves our values in Birds and Beans Café here in Mimico! We think it is working out. 😉
When we opened here, everyone thought we were crazy! But we saw potential. And we chose to make our Mimico Café an expression of our values.
We are grateful for the support of the community as we dared to serve certified organic, bird friendly and fair trade coffee at a time that specialty coffee had not yet made its way west of the Humber River! Some of you are still with us. We thank all of you who have crossed our threshold.
We remain steadfast to our most basic values as reflected in our tagline: “A richer taste, a richer earth.”® We express it in our commitment to the growers of certified Bird Friendly coffee, and our in our standard of excellence in roasting, brewing and serving you the the most sustainable coffee in the world.
We carry our values through every conceivable detail, more than I can mention here: compostable packaging, native garden with food pods, no single use plastic, no palm oil, no GMOs, mostly organic ingredients. We value our community and we show it with involvement like being the sole sponsor of 10 bird walks a year. And we value each other, inviting committed employees to join into café ownership so we can build the future we want together.
We are proud to be a different kind of café. And we look forward to our next 15 years here in Mimico.
As Birds and Beans Café approaches its 15th year anniversary we decided to celebrate by launching our Curator’s Corner!
Over the last 15 years we have searched high and low for products that exemplify our values and compliment our certified Bird Friendly coffee. We have assembled ingredients bursting with natural flavours, that are healthy and are genuinely sustainably produced.
In the complexity of real world label claims, we have developed several purchasing criteria. Some are hard rules and others weigh one aspect against another:
Steadfast, unwavering commitment to
Certified Organic and Bird Friendly coffee
No ingredients with GMOs
No items with palm oil
No factory farmed animal products
No drinks in plastic bottles
No single use plastic service items
Certified organic ingredients
In celebration of our 15th year, we are assembling a corner in the café where you too can purchase the items we have found. Over the next weeks and months, we will introduce items and explain why they belong in the collection. We’ll describe some of our menu items too.
So join Birds and Beans Café as we celebrate our 15th year as we explore our Curated Collection of offerings.
Birds and Beans Café is excited to present our latest offering: Cool Creek Apiaries Honey in a 500 gram jar. We’ve been using Cool Creek Apiaries’ unpasteurized, pure and unfiltered bulk honey in our breakfast cookies for years. It is delicious!
While industry standard is to extract honey once per year and blend across wide regions, Cool Creek Apiaries extracts honey 6 times a year and preserves batches from each of their 10 bee yards in Mount Pleasant, Ontario. Each batch has its own flavour and character and thereby exhibits the “terroir” of the specific yard. If the bees are collecting nectar from late blooming summer wildflowers, that is what you’re going to taste!
Honey serves as another example of why labels and certifications matter. Honey with a label reading Canada No. 1 Grade Honey can have as little as 10% honey in Canada and it may be blended with honey from anywhere in the world. Ontario No. 1 Grade Honey is produced strictly in Ontario. In order for honey to be certified organic, it requires that all land within 3 km of the hives and bees must be non-agricultural or all certified organic agricultural – very difficult to do in Southern Ontario, so this one is not certified organic.
Most honey sold in grocery stores doesn’t contain any pollen, which means it isn’t real honey. It may be made with other ingredients, like glucose and GMO corn syrup, and it is artificially flavoured like honey. Honey that has no pollen cannot be traced to any particular region. Here is one of many articles about fake honey.
By contrast, here is a beautiful photography exhibit of Roy Allemann and his bees. We know where Cool Creek Apiaries Honey is sourced – and we can taste it!