'; Berent Korfker | CCC2019 cCHALLENGE
I moved to Findhorn 5 months ago with my wife and our two children. I often worry about the collective impact we have on our environment and am always interested in finding new ways to reduce it. I’m excited about joining our Findhorn community in taking on this challenge!
My challenge
Reduce non recyclable waste by 50%, or more!

Day +8: Final tally, if anyone is still here :-)

Susie has already so eloquently summed up the ups and downs of our efforts! So I will just add a simple update. 

 

We ended up having used 450 grams of non recyclable plastic. Down 300 grams from December. When we were ill and needed extra soft fruits and did shopping based solely on what was going to make us feel better Susie still managed to buy food mainly in recyclable PET packaging. 

 

Regarding the recycling of compostable plastic the NFA showed support for my plan to add a bin to the one stop drop, but asked me to check if the NFD may be a better partner for this before we will take it further. I got sidetracked by being ill and the need to catch up with work. But it will be continued. 

 

Many thanks to all in this temporary community. Sending love and encouragement to all who strive to challenge their patterns and behaviours!

 

Berent. 

Day 14: Trick question! Which is our rubbish bin??

It’s really amazing how much influence the options to recycle/compost in the community have on what we can do with our waste.

 

Raw food waste (about two full caddies) goes to Inga’s compost bin

 

Cooked food scraps (about two yoghurt pots a week) go to Eveline’s hotbins.

 

Paper, recyclable plastics, cans etc. (the majority of our kitchen waste) go to recycling.

 

Non recyclable plastic in now kept in boxes and measured 🙂

 

Then there are the occasional things which need to be thrown out…… 

 

We were putting those in the black bin in the picture, but after two months there was hardly anything in there, hence the Pombear bag being reused for the small scraps 🙂

Day 13: Bye bye, ye old plastic bag!

This is a bag we acquired when we bought a bread last month (on the 14th of December). Since then I have used it about 10 times for keeping my own baked bread in… Now it has some holes and I’m chucking it out. 4 grams…

Day 12: Compostable Plastics Update

A quick update on my progress regarding the composting of compostable plastics!

 

Thanks to everyone who has been so helpful in getting me to this point. After some discussions it seems like the best place for a community bin for recycling (composting) PLA and compostable plastic in general will be the One Stop Drop project behind the Boutique.

 

The NFA will discuss the financial implications of Gray Composting picking up the waste in their business meeting this coming Tuesday.

 

It will be essential that any compostable plastic being disposed of will need to be clean. Dirty packages will lead to a stinky bin which will need to be emptied more often (which in turn leads to higher costs).

 

We also need to be very disciplined in not adding any non compostable plastic by accident. For instance, No 7 plastic simply means “others”. Only the addition of “PLA” makes it compostable.  Adding non recyclable plastic can lead to contamination of a whole load of food waste being picked up by Grays Recycling.

 

Discipline will be key!!

 

Enjoy the gorgeous weekend!!

Day 8: Time for a plastic snapshot

As we started our challenges 2 days early we are now on day 10!

 

Actions:

Buying veg box and farm shop veggies without packaging.

Baking our own sourdough bread.

No dairy, so no packaging from that.

Avoiding plastic packaging as much as possible…

 

Interestingly after the first seven days we had used close to 200 grams of non recyclable packaging plastic which put us on a higher usage than the average during December. We were obviously still finishing food bought before the challenge.

 

In the mean time we have been buying products with less packaging so three days later we are still around 200 grams, but I see some food almost finished so this will go up soon! I’m afraid though that halving our usage, as we planned, will be a real challenge. We would need to use no more than 350 grams of plastic… 150 grams and 20 days to go. That is 7.5 grams a day :-(…. Especially depressing because even a thin film bag for 150 grams of Falafel mixture weighs 3 grams!

 

What I am finding is that due to the fact that our usage is already relatively low, we may have to put in a lot of effort to bring it down much further. Then the question comes up…. can that effort be better used to reduce our carbon/waste footprint in another way?

Day 1: PLA, Polylactic Acid or compostable plastic

I have always been interested by compostable plastic, PLA. It is often made with corn starch and can be an environmentally  friendly alternative to plastic. Read all about it by following this link:

 

https://www.vegware.com/news/2018/12/10/all-about-pla-cpla-compostable-bioplastics-made-from-plant-starches/

 

The problem is that it cannot be recycled in the plastic bin as it is neither type 1 or 2 (it is type 7…). Rules for garden waste disposal don’t allow us to put this type of plastic in the brown bins either (compostable plastic liners which can be bought in super markets are an exception).

I have been in touch with a manufacturer of this type of packaging (Vegware) and they put me on the trail of  Gray Composting, the company which already picks up the food waste from the CC kitchen. This company can compost PLA and would be happy for us to either put the compostable plastic in the bins already available, or to add a bin for the community. There are costs involved in picking up the waste: £8.50 for a full (small) wheely bin so for now please don’t start using those bins until we have either an understanding with the CC kitchen about this or an alternative solution.

Next stop is to chat with the Pheonix. The recycling area next to the shop would be the perfect place to put such a bin. But who will pay for the collection? The saga continues 🙂

Day 1: Finding strategies

During the past days Susie and I have identified ways to reduce our plastic waste. 

Order a weekly veg box plus extras (no packaging)

Find out more about a local organic farmer selling carrots in bulk

Continue to use the dispensers at the Phoenix

We are still looking for a solution for when pasta is concerned…. it’s an important food when making meals which the children enjoy but it always involves a plastic package. Maybe the Phoenix can add pasta to the dispensers?

Day 1: Some figures can be sobering

I figure before the challenge our household use would have been between 12 and 15KG per year for household waste. Packaging for receiving parcels may add 5KG. It’s hard to tell. Much too much if you ask me….

But I was curious to put our plastic usage into perspective and found some statistics.  What I found was worse than I thought…

 

According to figures, US citizens produce around 120kg (264lbs) of plastic waste per person every year. The UK produces around 76kg (167lbs) of waste while in Sweden, it’s around 18kg (40lbs) 

(BBC website)

Day -2: Our usage for December…,

In the picture you can see the non recyclable waste we collected in our household during December and Yep! … it’s a shock to see it in numbers for the first time. 

Plastic bags/wrappers/packets/films from things we have bought:

  • 522 grams 

Plastic pots and containers other than type 1 and 2:

  • 249 grams

I am weighing it so we can make a comparison at the end of the challenge. Tomorrow I will post about the ways in which we plan to reach our goal. 

Day -2: Deciding on the Challenge and chat with Susie

So it’s official now! We are taking the challenge. Susie and I found that we wanted to tackle more than just one challenge so I signed up as well. 

I will be tracking and tackling our non-recyclable waste. Susie will report about our efforts to remove as much dairy as possible from our already meat-free diet. 

I see that through this challenge I come to feel a stronger awareness relating to my waste and carbon footprint from moment to moment. This can express itself in many small but meaningful ways apart from the main challenge. A great by-product of this process!