The May Challenge

Over the past few months Ole and myself have been trying our hardest to eliminate plastic and waste producing food. This means taking our own bags to the store, fruit and veggie bags too. Avoid food packaged in plastic. Avoiding over packaged food. And so on. I think that we have been doing very well, but before I am going to allow us to get to comfy – we have to take a challenge.

This challenge will go the whole of May, feel free to join me it you want! This challenge will have 2 parts.

Part 1: The Plastic

We will be collecting all the plastic we produce the whole month in a bucket. I hope that we don’t produce much, but I have a feeling the downfall for us will be ice cream containers and candy bar wrappers. Until we get a ice cream machine we are going to keep buying ice cream, I told Ole I would not take everything he loves away, and he really loves ice cream. Not that I really have taken other things away, thought there were a few thing that we have decided are better to avoid knowing that dangers that can come along with them from preservatives and being in chemical leaching packaging.

We have a system set up for all out trash/waste. Let me walk you through it, as I am asked alot about if I am drowning in my system. We have 2 sections for gathering trash. Under a extension of our counter, which has no shelfs we have 3 bins. The largest bin is for paper products. Then there are two smaller ones; one for glass / metal and one for beer cans / bottles. I also have old cd lid full of batteries, to take to the grocery store to the battery/lightbulb recycling station. Under the skin we have a compost bucket attached to the door. This has been a new and great investment, much better then the lidded bowl we were trying to use. Also, under the sink we have a small 8×11″ tupperware box to collect what in Norwegian is called ‘restaval’ – which is the rest of the things that are really not fitting into any other bin. Also under the sink we have a small compost bucket (I originally wanted a bigger one, but I like that it is small. It makes us take it out regularity and avoid stink.). We have bins outside that the city collects for paper, compost and restaval. Then around the corner from my house there is one for glass/metal and plastic. The beer cans / bottles go back to the grocery store for a refund, since you pay a deposit on them when you buy.

This organizational system in whole is fairly new to us, it has taken me some time to get it organized just how I want it- where it will be the easiest for use to use and not to feel like it is a hassle. The compost was a issue for us in the start, as it was a small tupperware and we had to pull it out and ..well, it was just not ideal. I really like the box we got from Ikea, it mounts to the door and the lid is easy to pop up – my only complain is that the compost bags we get from the city fit it but it does not hold them well. We will have a small bucket in the corner for the plastic. My hope it that we eliminate the need for a bucket and can rid our selves of it. If we have plastic after this, we will have a small bag to collect it under the sink and then take to the recycling center. Another question that I get asked alot about this if we are constantly taking out our ‘trash’. Well simply put, no. At this point, the paper goes out about once a month and the bottles go back to the store once or twice a month (or when we want to have the cash from them 🙂 ). Compost goes out about every other day. The glass / metal when it is full, which has been about every 2 weeks, and when we go around the corner for the glass / metal we take any plastic we have with us. I am still unsure about the restaval, it was going down more often.. but now it has not went down in like weeks.. so I’ll go out on a limb and say it is monthly too.

So back to the challenge. We are going to keep all plastic in a bucket in the corner of our kitchen. Anything put it will be rinsed or washed if needed to keep the smell and ick away. Plus I found out recently that if there is any food on the plastic or metal you send to the recycling that they can not use it because by that time it is baked on and would take to many extra resources to wash all. I am not sure where it goes, was just told by a friend who had found out. At the end of the month we will take a photo and post the results. In the challenge we will not count beer lids and the like – metal lids that are covered in plastic, as they can not go into the plastic recycling and have to go into the restaval. Besides that, all hard and soft plastic will be in the bucket. I think that this will help us really see where we are, since I think we are doing so good. I hope that there is almost nothing in the bucket, but I fear that it will be much more then I think.

Part 2: The Cost

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. To the best I can, sometimes like at the farmers market you just get a final price.. so I will do my best. So anything we buy from the grocery store, farmers market, butcher, liquor store or organic store. 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. The organic store is local and what they don’t have that is not local is responsible; the butcher is local and family owned since 1828; the farmers market is obviously local and the liquor store – well in Norway the liquor stores are run through a monopoly through the State, they are call Vinmonopolet and are the only option.

The point in this is to see if we are in fact eating for cheaper when we are eating healthy. Plus having alcohol and beer separate is good, as it can tilt the scales. I know that we will be drinking more this upcoming month then in October (the month we are comparing back too), due to the fact we both have jobs now, it is getting warmer and there are many parties coming! Not to mention we have just become abit obsessed with trying out specialty beers.

So wish us luck! Join in if you want! And leave any pointer and tips if you have some.

What do you think?