Friday, June 24, 2016

The plastic-free challenge - part 3

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
Reducing plastic is easier said than done. We've had our ups and downs this past week, and we have learned to not lose our heads in this plastic-free project :-)
The plastic-free challenge part 3
The plastic-free challenge part 3


How much plastic waste has been generated the past week?

This week's bag weighs ... ehem... 225 grams!

The challenge started 16 days ago, and we have produced 407 grams of plastic waste. Last month's waste weighed 2,1 kilo. I'd be super proud if we ended up with less than 1 kilo for this month :-)
This week's plastic waste - the plastic-free challenge part 3
This week's plastic waste - the plastic-free challenge part 3

It's been a hard week - plastic-wise ;-)

Until now, I've been avoiding purchasing meat-free replacements that almost always come in plastic. This approach easily takes the fun out of the challenge. So, today I decided to give a damn! My boyfriend on the other hand, was eyeing the meat at the grocery store, but was reluctant to buy because he knew that this would add to the waste.

An alternative would have been driving across town to buy meat from a butcher. But should we use more fuel, time and money to save maybe 50 grams of plastic? Ouff, not today.

The goal is to find plastic-free versions. But if there aren't any, the shopping becomes too complicated or the plastic-free version is too expensive, then we need to swallow our plastic-pride and move on.

Bulk shopping

Laundry detergent

To my surprise it was a little cheaper to fill up a bottle of liquid laundry detergent than buying a new bottle. For 1,5 liters we paid NOK 108 at a place called Mølleren Sylvia in downtown Oslo. A new bottle would have cost us either NOK 130 for Sonett - or NOK 120 for Ecover laundry detergent.

Check out the comparison table below the photos.
Bulk liquid laundry detergents,  all purpose cleaner and washing-up liquid at Mølleren Sylvia in Oslo
Bulk liquid laundry detergents,  all purpose cleaner and washing-up liquid at Mølleren Sylvia in Oslo

Seeds, nuts and oat flakes

Unsalted (non-organic) cashew nuts in bulk was pretty expensive, even in a Turkish grocery store where everything else is cheaper. For about 500 grams, we paid NOK 121. Bulk organic almonds as well is grossly expensive, but organic pumpkin seeds was fortunately cheaper. The nuts and seeds were transported in produce bags and paper bags. So, there was no plastic involved :-)
Bulk flaked oats, pumpkin seeds and almonds - 100% plastic-free
Bulk flaked oats, pumpkin seeds and almonds - 100% plastic-free

At an organic health store (Helios) we got bulk oat flakes at a pretty decent price. For 900 grams of organic oat flakes we paid NOK 27 in contrary to NOK 25.50 in the grocery stores. I brought a glass container with me, but before I filled it up, the staff weighed the container (so I don't pay extra for its weight).

Here's a comparison:

A comparison between price bulk shopping and price ordinary grocery store
A comparison between price bulk shopping and price ordinary grocery store


Definitely grow your own food

Kale, Swiss chard, leaf lettuce, sugar peas, radishes and herbs. This is what we've harvested so far in mid-June! We only harvest the mature and older leaves, and leave the center alone so the plant will continue to grow throughout the season :-)
Sugar peas on the balcony and lots of leafy vegetables in our allotment garden
Sugar peas on the balcony and lots of leafy vegetables in our allotment garden

We're not self-sufficient, but a kale here and there helps and is an excellent way of reducing plastic packaging.

Last week we re-used a large plastic box and harvested lots of Swiss chards from the allotment garden. Swiss chard leaves can be used as spinach or lettuce, and the stem can be cooked like you would cook asparges. But if you ask me, fresh chard leaves are the best!
Harvesting Swiss chards from the allotment garden, and reusing a plastic box
Harvesting Swiss chards from the allotment garden, and reusing a plastic box

Swiss chard is an excellent source of various vitamins and iron. Not as much iron as you'll find in spinach, but the chard is a viable competitor. Trust me, it is very easy to grow this leafy, colorful gem :-)

My better half bakes a lot

We continued making large batches of round breads this week. It is way cheaper to make your own bakery goods than purchasing the same amount at the bakery. And you avoid the plastic/paper bag!

We haven't bought any bread this past week and consequently reduced the plastic in that area :-)
Start baking and reduce plastic
Start baking and reduce plastic

Bread and crackers are stored on the bench in metal boxes. For freezing bread, we used reusable plastic bags.

Other things we did the past week to reduce the plastic, was making our own taco seasoning and taco wraps. Making taco seasoning is ridiculously easy! Once you've tried it once, you're never going back :-)

Making sandwich spreads for the first time

Homemade sandwich spreads - nutella spread, kale pesto and sun dried tomato pesto
Homemade sandwich spreads - nutella spread, kale pesto and sun dried tomato pesto

Last week we made our own hand soap. Well, this week we did some magic in the kitchen and made four different sandwich spreads. All of them turned delicious! :-) I used Jane's book recipes for nutella and dairy-free cream cheese. As a popular vegan food blogger here in Norway, she provides exciting (and accurate) recipes for sandwich spreads.

Homemade vegan sandwich spread with cashew nuts, chives and dill
Homemade vegan sandwich spread with cashew nuts, chives and dill

I had low expectations to the cream cheese, and to my surprise it turned out creamy and tasteful. Not sure if I'm ditching Philadelphia cream cheese for this one, but the vegan version can be a nice alternative once in a while :-)



Continue to read:
The plastic-free challenge part 2.

How to deal with environmental guilt.

Have your say about what you just read :)

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