Our first Zero Waste lifestyle summary...
Here is a sneak peak of Guri's summary on our "Zero Waste Failures" – meaning plastic items we simply could not avoid during our voyage and experiment.
Guri is swinging our one and only bag of plastic trash – the items we could not avoid. Collected from two months sailing with 3-7 people onboard. In the past we would easily have collected one bag every day.
We spent a day on an island outside of Gullholmen, organizing all the plastic waste we have collected along the voyage around the coast. Some of it from our Zero Waste Failures (Check video below), some of it was the litter we picked up on islands and beaches and some was picked up from the waves while sailing. The items on which we can identify a manufacturer's name will be documented together with an open letter and sent to those companies, asking what their plans are to avoid plastic in times to come. These letters and all the trash collected from our voyages will be part of our Ocean Art sculpture project.
Did your company produce any of these items? If we find your name or logo on any them we will send you an open letter about it and put you on display...
Here's the sneak-peak video from our summary session where Guri is showcasing some of our Zero Waste Failures.
It's time to waste more time on waste...
Let's face it – our human lifestyle in terms of waste has developed into an accumulated emergency. It is almost like a virus, it could even be compared with a global pandemic. Because it is contagious and it kills people, animals, insects, plants, entire landmasses and bodies of water. We know where it comes from and we see it fill up everywhere. We know that it brakes down into nano-particles, releasing toxins and entering our food and water supply. And into our cells. We also know that we have brain capacity enough to fix it. But we just can't collect ambitions, motivations or measures enough to shut it down. Or even to reduce it. Like what we have seen happen when virus from bats turn into real pandemics. Nope, we keep protecting our wasteful lifestyles and habits like there was no tomorrow.
These green trash containers welcomed us in a cute little marina in southern Sweden. 20 meters from the pier. In times when most activities are snoozed by a real pandemic. There was only a few visiting boats around and a handful of cars on the parking lot and we were shocked – how is this even possible?
Ok, enough about the problems. What are the solutions? How can we motivate ourselves to to fix it? Where do we start?
Old-school is the new future:-)
Our decision to try to live a zero waste lifestyle onboard this summer was truly an effort made to find answers. And it turned into an adventure with exciting dimensions as well as some tricky challenges. But the feeling when arriving in a marina without any trash was a true blessing. We had some stuff to recycle (glass, metal, paper) and some waste water to take care of, but nothing to put in green bins like the ones above. Normally we would have had a bunch of stinking plastic bags with mixed trash stored in the boat...and yes, normally we would have pushed them into the green bins.
But not this summer. Starting with ourselves, in a small individual scale, we experienced that the path towards a zero waste lifestyle is there if we want it. Ok, achieving 100% zero waste is impossible currently, but moving towards 100% is absolutely necessary. No matter from what level we start. We realised that zero waste is not about rocket science, depending on futuristic tech solutions. On an individual, or family, level it is rather about looking back to the lifestyle, habits and values of our grandparent's generation, You know, from the times before fossil fuel, electricity and smartphones. We will get back about that on separate blog posts and share the tricks we learned.
The one and only bag with plastic waste after two months sailing with 3-7 people onboard. This bag proves that it is possible to change habits towards zero waste. It takes a little extra time in the beginning, but it feels really good, it is fun and it saves money and space. One of the corner-stones to reduce our waste was simply to REFUSE** single-use plastics. We just didn't accept it. We started to think about it as if we were allergic to plastics. Sometimes the sales people had a hard time to understand what we meant when we said that we didn't want their plastic containers or wrapping. It is so built into the norms to accept it – just take it and then just throw it away. Saying no thank you by claiming plastic allergy would possibly be easier, since respect for allergies also is a strong norm today. Nobody would insist to serve nuts to a person with nut allergy. Anyway, bit by bit we got used to being more proactive and ask for alternatives and bring our own containers and wrapping. We also learned to accept the fact that we can not always get what we want. If the store we were standing in did not sell honey in any other packaging but plastic bottles, we could not buy honey. Or if a café could not serve a fika without plastic, we just went somewhere else. Nature does not have a problem with waste. We have created it to be a problem. We can learn from nature and create a circular system and economy if we want. Read more about circular waste/economy.
A big salute to the ones who embrace change
The change of our habits made us discover that there are alternatives around. More and more stores, bars, restaurants and shops are doing hopeful progress when it comes to sustainable wrappings or bulk sale opportunities. We also learned to shift our own mindsets – instead of complaining that 90% in a grocery store is packaged in plastic, we saluted the 10% that wasn't. And we saluted the staff who helped us to come out from their store without any plastics around the food.
A salute to a hero in Oskarshamn...she accepted to put the cheese in our wax wrappers without giving us that "are-you-serious" look. The stickers are plastic though so we put them in our zero waste failure bag. In times to come we hope that the stickers may be made of compostable paper.
A salute to Hanna and Sarah from the Swedish start-up Unwrapped.se who sell organic bulk food and hygiene products online, delivered in reusable containers that you return after usage. If you live in Stockholm they will deliver by hand, and if not deliveries are made via post. Try them, they sell good stuff and they are making great efforts reducing waste.
A salute also to the owners of zero waste stores – who dare to challenge the big chains, our habits and our never-ending demands for convenience and quick fixes. You can bring your bags and containers, buy as much as you need of dry goods, oils, vinegar, soap, spices, and eco-friendly supplies with no single-use-plastics. Here's the ones we visited: Stockholm: Hushållet Copenhagen: Løs Malmoe: Gram Gothenburg: Fram Haga Eco Livs How did we get to these stores?
** REFUSE – the first of the five Rs in Bea Johnson's Zero Waste methodology. Read more in our policy,