We thought it was time for an update on our project plastic free now that we are over halfway through. We suspected that it would be challenging and hoped it would engage you guys out there, but we never expected the response we have received! What a bunch of fantastic, inspiring and smart brains we have had the pleasure to meet.
As many of you may know, we are two sisters behind Radical Broccoli, and as we speak, one is up in the mountains at a winter cabin, and the other is at a yoga teacher training close to the equator. When we considered having a plastic-related challenge, we went back and forth discussing when would be a good time, what we needed to prepare and so forth. As soon as we got challenged by a big news channel to announce it on their snapchat, we just had to jump into it, without preparing anything. Nevertheless, it made the whole thing more relatable and trustworthy.
The first week - easier than expected?At the beginning of the month, we presented to you the rules we were going to stick to. For example that the plastic-free challenge didn't include food prepared by others and that we would use everything we already had. This made it extremely easy the first couple of days, except for a lunch meeting out and about at a café in Oslo, when we had to ask for reusable cutlery, as they serve with plastic also for those eating in. What an idéa! When we asked why, they said it was because people mistake the real forks and knives for plastic, and throw them out. Don't know whether to laugh/cry believing it or by the excuse!
Our first big grocery shopping took about two hours, and we stopped by Kiwi (average grocery store), Juels 33 (more of a specialty store) and Røtter (health shop) to get everything we thought we needed for a week. We got quite a lot of fruits and vegetables at Kiwi (mango, banana, tomato, grapefruit, lemon, dates, avocado, beets, pineapple) that we packed into cloth bags to weigh them together. We also got some dried goods in cardboard boxes such as beans and lentils, crisp bread, flour, oats, and tea. What a pleasure to not bring a single piece of plastic out of a plastic-filled shop (almost - we saw afterward that each fruit and veg had a sticker on it - now collected in our jar). We almost bought a bag of snacks that looks unmistakably like paper but actually is made of plastic - good thing some stuff is labeled!
Week two - some good fortune and some failure
At the beginning of the second week, we started to run out of all the main frozen breakfast smoothie ingredients and cosmetic products such as shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. One Instagram and some comments later we learned that apple cider vinegar and baking soda works like hell for a nice hair wash and that many of you guys use this regularly (!). We tested it out, skeptical about the smell, but it turned out quite well and looked all shiny and nice. The second wash was not so successful, and we are considering another of the advice - buying a shampoo bar wrapped in paper from Lush.
At the end of a long work week, we were ready for some Indian take away. We both completely forgot about the challenge when we ordered, and had such luck as it came in aluminum and cardboard containers. Which then again made us think of whether this is any more eco-friendly?
Anette also got some juicy plastic wrapped packages that she had ordered in January - three plastic bags - one covering the other. How on earth will it all fit in the jar?
Oh, and we had some kombucha bottle failures too!
At the end of the second week, it was time for departure for both of us. The traveling yogi had to prepare food for the trip - and made these scones - all plastic free minus baking soda which we had from before. She also checked how they consider plastic at the yoga retreat, and it seemed to be a conscious kind of place. The hardest thing was actually at arrival - not knowing whether or not the tap water was safe to drink. The first day out in town the water bottle was left at home at a trip planned to last for 20 minutes that lasted 8 hours. A day with a whoooole lotta tea! Shampoo and conditioner were borrowed from new friends.
The mountain goat got a real bonus as the cabin was full of food and shampoo from those who were here the weekend before. Jackpot. And a feeling of cheating a bit.
Now we have nine days to go, and we will be even better at the updates in the coming week+. The biggest, best-hidden secret behind all of this is how it feels so good to use every last drop of the body lotion and cooking the weirdest new meal of veggies we have never even considered buying.
Some lessons along the month
- Always always always bring a water bottle, cup and tote bag (even though you don't think you're going shopping, you might end up doing it. Life is insane).
- If you're getting take away - check in advance what kind of containers they use, and consider bringing your own
- If you're eating out make sure to ask if they can give you real cutlery if plastic is their thing. They often have it, but they just didn't put it on display
- Question the eco-friendliness of plastic's brothers such as glass and aluminum. Sometimes plastic is the most eco-friendly!
- It's actually not embarrassing to bring cloth bags to the store :)))
- It is very embarrassing to leave plastic at the store
- You can freeze things in glass and tin containers (as many of you probably knew)
- Homemade oat milk is a winner - recipe coming soon!