Tagged: Plastic trash challenge

Another tree saved…?

A few months back I wrote an article Saving a tree or two… about how my February plastic challenge had inspired me to pay more attention to the trash we produce.

In the article, I told you how I convinced B to put a “No junk” sticker on his mailbox, to reduce the amount of paper trash we produced. Since I was the one that paid attention to the good deals to be had from the grocery stores, we figured he no longer needed the advertisements.

Now, you would be happy to know, that since that day, B is no longer the only one with the “No junk” sticker on his mailbox, I’m in as well 🙂

B told me how great it was not having to shuffle the junk straight from his mailbox to the trash (as he never really read any of them) anymore. And after having looked, I found that about 90% of the stuff could be found online anyways, so there really wasn’t much reasons to keep the paper…

About 2 months ago I put my own sticker on the mailbox, and it’s a blessing! There is hardly any junk mail anymore, and funnily enough it keeps my house a little “neater” (I never realized how much of the paper stuff I would actually keep, hanging around, for a few days).

Now the “downside” is, that since I’m trying to limit my online time, I’m not paying as much attention, to good grocery deals, as I normally would. On the other hand, the upside is that I don’t waist any time looking through electronic, furniture, sportsstuff, tiles, lamps, paint stuff, garden stuff ++ (you get the drift) anymore either, and I’ll take that 🙂

So here we are two households, less off paper, and loving it!

Now, if I could just figure out a way to reduce paper receipts from when we go shopping (I collect them to keep track of my finances), then I might really be saving a tree 😉

Guess, that’s next on my list! Suggestions, anyone?


PS. For opting-out in US, UK and Norway, try these resources; US – FTC site, UK – Royal mail opt-out and Norway Posten opt-out

Saving a tree or two…?

After my February plastic trash challenge, I got inspired and started to look more closely at everything else I toss.

Now that I have some sort of control over my plastic trash, and gotten into a good routine of using the plastic recycle bag, I have found that most of my other trash is paper (advertising/junk mail) and food scraps.

Let’s talk about the junk mail. I tend to look through all the advertising from grocery stores, as I try to save a little when possible. I bulk up on some of my everyday products, when there is a good sale. All these adverts ends up in the paper recycle bin, so the paper is recycled, but I would have loved not contributing so much to paper waste.

I discussed this with a friend of mine that I do a bit of grocery shopping with, and we decided that, since I am the one who pays attention to when there are good deals to be had, he would be the one to put the “No junk” sticker on his mailbox. This way we can at least reduce one household of paper! And hopefully over time, I can figure out what advertising I “need” and see if I can find it online instead, to ultimate reduce two households!

But for now, the sticker is on his mailbox, there is one less household filled with paper junk and he think this is the best idea we (I’ve) have had since… ever!

I know it’s not much in the big picture of things, but a bit here, and a bit there… ads up eventually 😉

February in a nutshell!

I can’t believe I’ve almost forgot to post February’s summary!

I’ve been a bit on the busy side, it’s getting down to the wire when it comes to my step-mums move. They are working like crazy to finish her new bathroom, and we’ve been working on putting up lamps, painting and putting in storage shelves. This weekend we just finished putting in new bookshelves, today we are putting up blinds in the bedrooms, cleaning up the new place and packing the last bits and pieces, as the movers are coming tomorrow.. oh yeah, and I have a dishwasher and a washing machine to disconnect….

Since I will be occupied with the move and sorting things out for a few more day (ok, probably more than just a few), I figured I would give you a quick summary!

So here it is – my February in a nutshell!

Yes I did actually get a few things out-the-door during February, my Wii, a bunch of clothing and a few books! 101 items all together 🙂 

Activity and exercise
My activity plan really didn’t happen much in February. Between work, treatments, running around sorting things for my step-mum and not to forget the rain, that blasted rain, I averaged only 2 times a week 😦

Only buying necessities
I’m on schedule. But what about my allowances?

  • Books – none
  • Eating out – not doing to well in February either, like I mentioned in January, when we have been working at someone’s house, I sometimes just need food “now”, or we are to tired to bother about making food and we eat out.  So it racks up! Hopefully when this moving business is out of the way, we can do better…
  • Flowers and plants – no purchases
  • Buying a non essentials – yes, one purchase, I finally found something I have been looking for, for the last couple of years, I’ll tell you about it in a separate post!

Other financial goals
Mortgage: Due to how the interest rates are doing, I made a one time lump sum payment, which I told you about a few days back… I’m really chuffed that I’m now down to about a third left of my mortgage 🙂

Other activities/projects this year
As I mentioned above, the focus is getting my step-mum into her new house…

Oh, yeah, and I did a plastic trash challenge in February. I have to admit, it was an eye opener…

I guess that’s it for now, I told you it would be quick 😉

February plastic challenge!

I can’t believe how fast the month of February have gone by. It feels like it just begun, and here we are, February is over and I’m at the end of my plastic trash challenge.

There is no doubt! I use more plastic than I realised. I have to admit, I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon together with Every Week Is Green, as it have made me more aware of the type of trash I have and how much.

As I mentioned at the start of this challenge, we have several ways to recycle our stuff, in the area I live. I have always been pretty good at sorting the paper in the paper bin and food scraps in the organic bin, but I have to admit, that unless I have had bigger plastic items, I have not been good at sorting the plastic, and neither have I been good at separating glass and metal tins either.

Well, all that has changed!

I am now much more into separating the stuff. I have a dedicated glass/metal tin container, a plastic trash container (a mason jar for the time being) in addition to my old paper, organic and other trash containers.

While on this challenge, I have noticing that it is just about impossible to avoid plastic in your everyday life, regardless off how much you would like to! For example, I never realised how much of our vegetables and fruit that come wrapped in some sort of plastic. Even paying close attention, I find it almost impossible to find my vegetables and fruits unwrapped. I mean seriously, why the heck do they need to wrap broccoli, red peppers, carrots, ginger, onion, grapes just to mention a few?

In the Stavanger region, where I live, I have not yet found a place where I can buy everyday items without the packaging. There is no “bring your own jars and bags” alternative. Close to where I live I have several food stores, and it seems like they get a lot of their food from the same production line.

We have a few (and I mean only a few – I know of 3 or 4) farmers markets and farm shops around this area, but even there, I find that a lot of their items are wrapped in that darn plastic. Since these places are quite a drive from my everyday haunt, it’s not natural to go there for everyday shopping, even if they might (I’m saying might, because it’s not given) have a couple of more things not already wrapped.

As a lot of other people around, I have my share of plastic items, already stacked in the house! You know, items like storage containers, bowls, hard plastic plates, tumblers, lids, zip-lock bags +++  Having jumped on this “not using to much plastic” bandwagon, does not mean that I will get rid of all my plastic and only use glass or paper going forward. To me that seems a little pointless, as that would just mean that I would throw even more unused plastic out there in the world.

No, what I will be doing is use the heck out of the plastic I already have 🙂 Which among other things means wash and reuse all sorts of plastic bags, so that I can get the most out of them.

For years, I have brought my own shopping bags, but this month I also started bringing bags for fruit and vegetables++, I’m reusing the same bags that the fruit and vegetables came into the house with… I figured, that every little thing helps 🙂

So how did I really do this month?

Total of the month

  • 1 chocolate wrapper
  • 1 baguette wrapper
  • 5 salad bags + all the little bags inside that holds cheese, dressing and stuff
  • 3 cheese bags
  • 3 mashed potato bags
  • 1 puffed rice bag
  • 1 windshield washer fluid refill bag
  • 7 milk carton tops
  • 4 candy wrappers
  • 1 tikka masala spice lid (the glass for the sauce goes into the glass recycle bin)
  • 1 carrot tray (don’t ask, I cant believe they have to wrap carrots)
  • 3 bags for Norwegian “Kakemenn
  • 4 popcorn wrappers
  • Bunch of plastic that covers things like fruit, vegetables, pork chops, fish and a few other necessities
  • 1 plastic box for 500 grams of grapes – unfortunately they come in boxes, no loose grapes here in my stores 😦
  • 56 contact lenses and their storage trays – I use SoftLens daily, and they come in small plastic containers
  • 2 orchid pot (Plants no longer flowering – from my Christmas decoration)
  • 1 orchids info tab
  • 2 Christmas plant pots (Poinsettias no longer flowering)
  • 1 lamp electric wire wrapper (project I will tell you about shortly)
  • 2 magazine wrappers
  • and 2 beef jerky bags – which I have decided I will reuse, as the bags are pretty solid – so ignore the jerky bags from week three photo 🙂

Would you believe that with the exception of the contact lens trays and the flower pots, I managed to wrap all this stuff into the grape box mentioned above 🙂  Check it out, in the picture below!

So what now? Did I learn something?

Yes, absolutely! I have learned that I need to pay more attention. I have found that with a little effort, I can reduce my plastic consumption. It’s not difficult to reuse, and by keeping continuing focus… it might save a plastic bag or ten…

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A plastic trash challenge!

Johanna over at Every week is green, decided in the beginning of February to do a trash challenge, where she keeps track of all the trash she generates through a month.

I thought this was a great idea, and I decided to join her on parts of this challenge, namely the plastic part.

Were I live here in Norway, we have pretty good facilities for recycle. My trash room have separate bins for paper, food waste and general trash. They also pick up plastic once a month, which are collected not in bins but in big plastic bags.

Right next to my local shop (just down the street), there is a big container for glass and metal cans, and you can deliver light bulbs at the store itself. Any big electrical items, can be delivered at any electrical store, paint and stuff is considered special waste and can be delivered either at the fire station or you can bring it to the local recycle centre (which for me is only 4 minutes away). The local recycle centre will take everything you could think off. You pay a small fee and you can toss to your hearts content 😉

So you see, there are great opportunities to recycle if we are mindful!

During my blogging year, I’ve come across a lot of people trying to go plastic free. I’m not quite there, as I do use my plastic containers to store food and stuff, and I do use the occasional plastic wrapper. But at the same time, I also bring my own bags to the stores, both carry bags and bags for fruit and vegetables. And I do try, to keep the amount of plastic that enters my house, to a low volume, with the unfortunate exception of necessities that happen to be wrapped in the darn thing.

But just like Johanna, I’m a bit curious on how much of the stuff I actually go through in a month, so I have decided to keep track of the plastic trash this month.

I started out February 1st, and this is what I went through my first week. It’s turning out to be more plastic than normally (I think) as I went a little crazy on bagged salads (on sale) and had to refill wiper fluid on my car:

  • 1 chocolate wrapper
  • 1 baguette wrapper
  • 3 salad bags
  • 1 mashed potato bag
  • 1 puffed rice bag
  • 1 windshield washer fluid refill bag (which at least uses 63% less plastic than a regular washer fluid container)
  • 2 milk carton tops
  • 14 contact lenses and their storage trays – I use SoftLens daily, and they come in small plastic containers
  • 1 plastic box for 500 grams of grapes – unfortunately they come in boxes, no loose grapes here in my stores 😦
  • Bunch of plastic that covers things like fruit, vegetables, pork chops, fish and a few other necessities

I stored most of it in a mason jar (you can see it empty on the picture) during the week, but pulled it all out to show you the stuff. I repacked it nicely into the grape box, as I’m keeping it there while I start on a new week of mason jar collecting 😉

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