May Challenge: All Results

Part 1: The Plastic

Week 1 we used/collected 26 items equaling 229 grams / 8.07 ounces total.
Week 2 we used/collected 12 items equaling 138 grams / 4.8 ounces total.
Week 3 we used/collected 11 items equaling 109 grams / 3.8 ounces total.
Week 4 we used/collected 6 items equaling 103 grams / 3.6 ounces total.

Month of May Total: 55 Items equaling 579 grams / 20.4 ounces.

I am rather proud of our efforts, and I think it is good to have a new goal. It was interesting to see out plastic count fall every week 🙂 My hope is that at the end of June we have went from totaling 20 ounces to 15 – at least.

The things that we continue to buy in plastic will be candy, ice cream and chips. I do plan to make our own ice cream sometime in the future, but need to wait till I get a full fridge and out of my dorm sized fridge. We will have some beer wrappers too.

In this have learned to make some of my own things to avoid plastic. They are:

  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream / Crème fraiche
  • Yogurt – regular
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Pasta (this is on hold until I buy a proper roller)
  • Cooking Syrup
  • Deodorants

I am also learning to make some things, that will take some time to master 🙂

  • Cheese (Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan)
  • Ice Cream

I have learned to really watch if I am buying something packaged. When buying fresh fish for example, they always try to slip in a plastic bag inside the paper – now I know to watch them like a hawk the whole time. Or even if I buy something in a paper box to shake it around to see if I can hear plastic. Ole and I are always laughing at ourselves, we know we must look crazy while at the grocery store. I have also come to realize, that if I can get a good quality used product I should – but when that is not an option to not beat myself up over buying new and gaining tons of plastic wrapping.

I have now also stopped buying the oil I was before. I just read ‘Real Food: What to eat and Why” by Nina Planck – I highly recommend it! Ok well not all oil.. but I am buying only cold pressed organic Olive Oil in glass, Coconut Oil in glass and then we have butter and lard. The Olive Oil is easy to get with a metal lid and no plastic spout, so I am excited about that. But I guess that is a whole other post. 🙂

You too can join the Show you Plastic Challenge here! I challenge you to do it for at least one week, week all the plastic that you use – you will be amazed at how plastic is everywhere! If you need motivation, read this to learn about the health dangers of plastic – Plastics: The Sixth Basic Food Group – and watch this.

Part 2: The Cost

If you recall from the May Challenge post:

We will be keeping tack of all the money spent on goods. Not just a general we spent this amount, but a we spent XX on bread, XX on fruit, XX on toilet paper, ect. … We have looked back into our bills from October to see how much we used on these items then, when we were only shopping at the regular grocery store and the liquor store. We have been working to put our money to better places then big business, and now we are buying I think 80% of our goods not at the regular grocery store.

Now I am not sure if that 80% organic is correct, I am not sure of the exact percentage but I know we try to always get the ‘good stuff’ over the commercial stuff. When I compare the numbers of October food bills, our food spending has only went up 6%. Which is not bad, as in the summer months we eat lots of ice cream and Popsicles (no A/C). Personally for me it is really nice to see exactly where this money has went too. I kept a detailed list, but in the end simplified it. For me it broke down into 11 categories: Meat & Fish, Fat & Oil, Fruit & Vegg, Grains, Milk & Eggs, Spices & Sauces, Juice & Drinks, Desserts, Alcohol, Toiletries, then a few Odds & Ends.

It is nice to know that I am trying to send my money to smaller more local business’. We are shopping at Idsøe – local butchers, Økologiske Dagligvarer – local organic store, Stavanger Torget – farmers market, and a commercial regular grocery store. Now that summer is coming the Torget will be open more, I am very excited about that. Also, I am still working to try to get out of the regular grocer but I think that we will still have to go until I can have a small plot to grow.

I am challenging myself to buy my fish from the local fish market sometime in June, I have been avoiding it because I am worried it will cost to much. We have just bought a house that is in the Sentrum of Stavanger (downtown) and move in September, and the fish market and torget/farmers market will be just a 5 minute walk from my house – so I will have no excuses.

Have you been more aware of your plastic intake/use since hearing about this? I would love to hear if knowing about the plastic dangers has got you to thinking!

Weekly Recap: Minimalism, pesticides, babies, and food

While I am not a mother now, I plan to be someday. For me that means when I can read/hear advice that will benifit my future children or grandchildren, that I want to soak it in. I read this interview with Alexandra Cousteau (granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau), she is expecting her first child this summer and Shares Tips For Green (Blue)-Minded Moms and Moms-To-Be. Check it out here. And while we are on it, the interviewee has written another article about having a green pregnancy. It is full of great tips that you can apply to your life anytime – check it out here.

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Research links pesticides with ADHD in children! Ekk! Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they’re still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight. More reasons to know your farmer, or be your farmer 🙂 Read the article here, and why take the chance with those chemicals!

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Once you get in baby articles, you get stuck 🙂 Give this article a read, it is about the chemicals that we are exposed too and how they are in babies umbilical cords. In the month leading up to a baby’s birth, the umbilical cord pulses with the equivalent of at least 300 quarts of blood each day, pumped back and forth from the nutrient- and oxygen-rich placenta to the rapidly growing child cradled in a sac of amniotic fluid. This cord is a lifeline between mother and baby, bearing nutrients that sustain life and propel growth. Chemical exposures in the womb or during infancy can be dramatically more harmful than exposures later in life. Substantial scientific evidence demonstrates that children face amplified risks from their body burden of pollution. Prepare to be shocked – read it here.

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Over on ‘The Zero Waste Home‘ this week, there was an article that sparked some discussion. You see, Bea and her family have been living with zero waste, and doing a great job at it. Her blog stands as a source of inspiration to declutter and consume less, therefore wasting less. You see the issue is that she has a very modern style, which I love, but some people feel she is trying to push it on them. People are accusing her of saying you can only live zero waste in a white and empty house (this is her house picture, I love the style!), but she is just showing how she has decluttered. I have never herd her say you need to paint everything white or give decorating advice. She runs a blog about reducing the impact we have on the earth, not a decorating blog – I am saddened that some people are not able to see past that and have to go get defensive and therefore miss the real point she is trying to make. Give her reply to the [rude and confused] comments a read and chime in with your opinions here.

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I have just read Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck, and gosh I loved it! I will be doing a full post about it in the future. If you care about what you are eating, where it comes from and if it is truley good for you then I strongly suggest picking up this book. It is great since she goes back to what our forefathers ate and really digs into the facts and science of it in a way that is super easy to follow.

[If you know me, you know I really do not like reading books often. And if you dont know me, now you know that 🙂 I tend to dread pick up a book, then I do remember it is not all that bad to sit around and read. However it does normally take me ages to get through a book. But this time I picked up Real Food, and it was the hardest book for me to put down. I wanted to know everything she had to say in it right away. I am so passionate about wanting to eat right and this book was the perfect answer for me to be able to have answers to many questions I have been having. Now I am excited to eat traditional and healthy food. It seems so obvious after reading the book that this is what we should have been doing all along, and where until the industry wanted to make a fast buck.]

May Challenge: Week 4 Plastic Results

We have decided to post weekly results for the May Challenge. Instead of monthly, then we can see more often what we need to fix. I am happy with our results, but know we can do so much better. It is good to see everything laid out, it helps to see what we really need to work on. Below is the photo from Week 3 (May 22-28) of all our plastic that we used.

Week 4 we used/collected 6 items equaling 103 grams / 3.6 ounces total.

OLD PLASTICS
none, all is new

NEW PLASTICS
Ice Cream box
magazine sleve
packaging from butchers meat
chocolate bar wrapper
hair brush cover
chips bag

I have submitted our results to the My Plastic Free Life: Plastic Trash Challenge. Beth, of My Plastic Free Life, ask some questions when you submit your weeks tally. Here are my answers below.

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
There is a store that sells chocolate bars in paper, I buy them sometimes – but they dont have many flavors.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
Magazine Cover, I don’t ever remember ordering it nor have I ever gotten it. But it made it to me from the States so I guess I did order it.

Brush cover. I had been looking for a boar bristle wooden brush. I bought one, then a friend who knew I had been looking for one brought one back for me from her vacation. Was nice of her, but now I have 2 brushes 😛

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
We could nix the snacks (chocolate, chips and ice cream), since I do know how to make them all.. but at the moment we are to busy. I am going to try to make our own ice cream soon though.

Meat, sometimes the butcher has packed it down to smaller bags 🙁

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I have a new house now (yay, but dont move till September) so that means I can get a deep freeze. We are going to look into finding a local farmer that would sell us 1/2 a cow and 1/2 a pig. Then we can get it all in paper and freeze it!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Not sure that there are any this week that we would give up.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
We have decided to drive up to the other butchers just outside of town next week to check out there meat selection. I am hoping that they will have less plastic. (I also hope that since they are smaller they will have more time to talk to us. I really want to know exactly where my meat is from, not just a ‘yeah its local’ response.)

So what do you think? Are you ready to join in the challenge?


May Challenge: Week 3 Plastic Results

We have decided to post weekly results for the May Challenge. Instead of monthly, then we can see more often what we need to fix. I am happy with our results, but know we can do so much better. It is good to see everything laid out, it helps to see what we really need to work on. Below is the photo from Week 3 (May 15-21) of all our plastic that we used.

Week 3 we used/collected 11 items equaling 109 grams / 3.8 ounces total.

OLD PLASTICS
cooking syrup container
prescription for thyroid
cheese wrapper
spaghetti wrapper

NEW PLASTICS
Knife packaging
Ice Cream Lid
4 paprika/bell pepper shrink wraps
Packaging from new handmixer

I have submitted our results to the My Plastic Free Life: Plastic Trash Challenge. Beth, of My Plastic Free Life, ask some questions when you submit your weeks tally. Here are my answers below.

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
Spaghetti – but I have trouble rolling it thin enough, so I have promised the man no more homemade spaghetti till i buy the proper machine. Saving time!

Ice Cream – Need to save for this machine too. I would love to make my own ice cream and know what is in it!!

Cheese – we have a dorm sized fridge, but are getting a bigger one soon(ish) so then I can buy a whole wheel of cheese! Plus I am learning to make my own!

Cooking Syrup – this is from a stash I have from making marshmallows over Christmas. I have since though learned to make my own, which is very easy!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
this week we are somewhat down to the line, I guess I could have bought my new mixer used.. but i wanted a warranty with it.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Thyroid medication – over the last few years my thyroid has went kapoot! So now I have to take meds 🙁 I am trying to / hoping to fix the problem with better foods though.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
This week I did make it to the farmers market, that helps alot. I just need to be more disciplined to get up on saturday to make it before they close.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
cooking syrup – especially since i know how to make it now

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
After watching what we were taking into our house for so long before joining the challenge, I am still shocked at how much we have every week. I really had thought we were doing so much better, glad for the challenge since it has opened my eyes to the reality.


So what do you think? Are you ready to join in the challenge?


May Challenge: Week 2 Plastic Results

We have decided to post weekly results for the May Challenge. Instead of monthly, then we can see more often what we need to fix. I am happy with our results, but know we can do so much better. It is good to see everything laid out, it helps to see what we really need to work on. Below is the photo from Week 2 (May 8-14) of all our plastic that we used.

Week 2 we used/collected 12 items equaling 138 grams / 4.8 ounces total.

OLD PLASTICS
Lotion Bottle
Whole Grain Rice bag
Cheese Wrapper

NEW PLASTICS
2 Ice Cream Lids
1 6 pack local beer packaging
1 mail sticker backing
3 fresh veggie wrappers
2 meat wrappers
Box of packaging from shipment (not pictured, but all have Recycling #’s)

I have submitted our results to the My Plastic Free Life: Plastic Trash Challenge. Beth, of My Plastic Free Life, ask some questions when you submit your weeks tally. Here are my answers below.

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
Lotion: I’m not buying lotion anymore when my stash runs out, I plan to make my own!

Rice: I have found boxed rice now, We are just working through our stash

1 mail sticker backing: Ordered some books from Amazon and the receipt had this with it.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
We plan to make our own cheese and beer once we have a basement or storage area – which we hope will be soon! I will also make our own ice cream once I can afford the machine.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Beer, which does have an alternative. We are looking to get a growler and fill it from our local brewery, but like I said above -we plan to brew our own in the future.

Ice Cream – summer came early in Norway, even though it has only been in the 70’s to us it is hot (read: no air conditioning in house, work, or car)

My local butcher has started pre packing down the cuts of meat we buy. They used to just have then sitting out in the counter, but now they are already in a baggie. Since it was for the food I am buying I tell them to leave it in the bag, so I can add it to my count. There is another butcher abit out of our town, someday we might take a road trip and see if they have better plastic free alternatives.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I am hoping that our farmers market gets better hours, they are the only place to buy bell peppers, cucumber and lettuce without plastic.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I feel this week, they were all ones without alternatives in my new section. The beer, ice cream, meat and veggies are going to have to stay. If I can find better alternatives I will use them, as I am always on the lookout.

We did replace some computer equipment this week, and I can confidently say that that is a once in 5 years thing – so we can skip that next week for sure.


So what do you think? Are you ready to join in the challenge?


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