During the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12, the Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee presented the 2020 Environmental Business Hero and Environmental Youth Hero Awards.
Each year, the committee awards the title to businesses and students living in Kawartha Lakes who have shown a commitment to improving the wellness of the environment.
This past year saw a variety of nominations and efforts, from more sustainable products, to waste collection, to recycling and education programs. Here are the 2020 heroes:
Environmental Business Hero Awards
* Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault (Lindsay) is a great example of a small business making many small changes to reduce their environmental impact, including: switching to “sippy” lids to reduce straws, switching to paper straws, biodegradable cutlery, products and packaging, and more. They also donate their surplus food through FoodRescue.ca.
* Burns Bulk Food (Lindsay) has been a family business for over 35 years and has recently taken additional steps to promote zero-waste, encouraging shoppers to bring their own containers. As an incentive to shoppers who bring their own containers, Burns is providing a 10 per cent discount for everything purchased in one’s own container.
* Country Cupboard (Fenelon Falls) has gone above and beyond trying to reduce plastics, making sure their products are produced as environmentally friendly as possible and by encouraging other local businesses to do the same. They offer a discount for patrons who use reusable containers, made the switch to compostable spoons and containers and offer sterilized glass jars for use instead of plastic bags. Owner Julia Taylor has also spoken at different events offering environmental ideas and suggestions.
* Dive Kawartha (Lindsay) has made a massive impact on the Kawartha Lakes community by holding multiple events called Dive Against Debris, where the team dive into local rivers and waterways to remove waste. The last event saw over 700lbs of garbage removed. They also have a fun promotion where if an employee spots you using one of their stainless-steel straws you get a free tank refill.
* Flex Fitness (Lindsay) is a fitness studio that has become more of a community hub. Owner Cathy Steffler takes extra steps to make sure the environmental footprint of her studio is as small as possible, encouraging people to use refillable containers and providing glassware for her members to use. You won’t find any vending machines filled with plastic bottles, Cathy leads by example and would rather do dishes for her members than create unnecessary waste.
* La Mantia’s Country Market (Lindsay) has become a model of environmental responsibility thanks to the practices Owner Dave La Mantia has put in place. Before the City’s policy on plastic recycling for businesses had even taken effect last year, La Mantia’s was achieving a 78 per cent waste diversion rate and they’ve kept that momentum going. Vegetable scraps go to local farmers for animal feed or composting, the store avoids unrecyclable waxed cardboard and 144 solar panels are mounted on the roof and sides of the building. All light fixtures are being replaced with LEDs and display cases for dairy products have been upgraded to be more energy-efficient.
* Unwrapped (Lindsay) was opened in January 2020 after its owners struggled for many years to find more sustainable options for household goods in the Kawartha Lakes. Today, Owners Jenny Connell and Jessica Moynes, sell refillable bulk items like shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products and more to reduce the amount of plastic bottles used in our area. They also offer a variety of eco-friendly alternatives to other disposable items. More importantly, they’re both committed to helping people in Kawartha Lakes make the switch to more sustainable lifestyles and are willing to chat about ways to reduce household waste.
Environmental Youth Hero Award
The Grade 5 and 6 Student Leadership Team at King Albert Public School (Lindsay) embarked on an ambitious project to support Kawartha Lakes’ voluntary ban on plastic shopping bags, by educating their school and the wider community about the impact plastic shopping bags have on the environment.
To facilitate change, the team is also working on a project to design and produce environmentally friendly bags to replace plastic bags, with the partnership of local businesses. The project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still very much alive and planned to continue in 2021.