My dream would be able to produce ‘zero waste’. Unfortunately I think it will be impossible for us since we live in Oulu, Finland. There are very limited number of shops where you would be able to buy non-packaged food items and due to the northern climate we will be also unable have a continuous supply of home grown veggies and fruits. Luckily we are living for the summer in Barcelona due to my partner is doing a summer internship here. Perfect opportunity to try to reduce our waste!
In this blog I will follow up the reduction of waste in our household, which includes me, my partner and six months of old baby, give our tips on reuse-recycle and take photos each week of our waste. Weekends we usually travel and sleep in our van. It is a challenge to have enough food and drink in addition to keep it cool when temperature inside the van could be +40 degrees celsius. But I will return to the #vanlife – subject in more detail later.
After three months in Barcelona we are heading in couple of days for a month long adventure in Europe. Along the way we will be meeting few friends. Our final destination will be Oulu, Finland in the beginning of September. Lovely to go on our first family holiday, but also looking forward being back in our own home and at work.
The route is: Olot-Andorra-Bordeaux-Lake Como and Garda-Innsbruck-Berlin-Warsaw-Riga-Pärnu-Tallinn-FINLAND.
I have found it challenging to find environmental friendly products from Barcelona. Correct me , if I am wrong, but I do feel that spaniards are not keen to recycle nor to be environmental. Many products are individually packaged in plastic or in multiple packaging. I will write another post about this on a later date.
Brita Taste of water in Barcelona is disgusting. I have rarely come across such a bad tasting water. After few weeks of battling with this issue and buying bottled drinks we bought Brita waterfilter from Veritas (http://www.veritas.es/) for 24e . It does include two filter cartridges, which need to be changed monthly. It has been worth for the buy also for our guests. I do wonder though if the waterjug needs to be as big? It takes over almost entire fridge door space…
Biodegradable baby towels- Biowipes When our baby O was born we received two packages of baby wipes. Although we did not want any gifts I was happy to receive some practical gifts for him. We still have almost one package left from these gifst after seven months. But in our weekend trips with the van I would only prefer to have biodegradable products only. I found these biodegradable wipes from one of the organic shops, but noticed that you can buy these from most of the shops.
Cotton puds – Masmi Small and disposable plastic items are, in my view, the most unsustainable products. That is why I was pleased to find 100% recycable cotton buds made of cardboard, paper and cotton. They seem good quality and stiff. I bought these ones also from Veritas.
Unfortunately the packaging of cotton buds, waterjug and baby towels are not 100% recycable. Cotton bud and Brita waterjug boxes are made out of cardboard, which is the only recyclable part of the packaging.
One universal issue with recycling – some people want to recycle and some not. Personally I do not understand why you have to ruin my desire to recycle eventhough you do not want to. In practise this means putting your rubbish into the wrong bin. This time it was the compost bin, which was used for mixed waste. Fair enough – you could not care less to sort out your waste and use the appropriate containers, but why to sabotage my recycling efforts too.
In the compost container had at least four rubbish bags amont compost waste. I took a photo to prove this. Photo might not be the best, but I think my point is proven.
And you have to remember this is only one compost bin – how many other vandalised compost or other recycling bins are there? Let me know!
My posts have been delayed due to guets arriving to see us. Our time is running out in Barcelona, because we are leaving at the end of the month and heading to our adventures in Europe. Exciting!
Throughout the weeks our recycling and rubbish has kept on fairly continuous level – one black rubbish bin, one to two large compost recycling bags and a variety of bottles (glass and plastic). My partner does not drink water in Barcelona or hardly anywhere else, so we accummulate plastic bottles or cardboard packaging. Not even close to zero waste!
And the amount of bread, which we waste…. In Spain the bread goes off in a day, since it has not been added any preservatives. This can be also seen on our compost recycling, unfortunately. We will need to improve on this- a lot.
Another issue what I have noticed now when the temperature is approximately 30 degrees celsius is how fast fruits, veggies and dairy products go off. I have used to going to the shop once a week, but in Barcelona you need to shop veggies etc. at least twice or three times a week. Live and learn!
As a passionate reusable nappy user I was requested to write about how we are using reusable nappies in Spain. I was given ‘free hands’ on what would I like to write on exactly. So at the end I had written two articles; one about our travel to Barcelona and using reusable nappies and the other about the culture of using reusable nappies in Spain.
Below the link to the article of the first mentioned topic: http://kaikkikestovaipoista.blogspot.com.es/2017/07/lauran-perheen-kestovaippailu.html?m=1
Unfortunately the text is in Finnish.
During my years of United Kingdom I must of consumed hundreds of plastic bags. Everything is packaged in plastic bags of variety of sizes and it does not cost any extra. In Finland you have to pay extra 10 cents for a bag in the supermarket, but not for the fruit bags. Some supermarkets are offering bio fruit bags and the reusable fruit bags. We have opted these ones, because I started getting frustrated how many plastic bags were being cumulated in our kitchen cupboard to store ‘possible use’. So we have now bought a collection of the Red Cross reusable fruit bags. Link for more information below: https://www.punaisenristinkauppa.fi/tuote/T1650993/Kestopussit%20hedelmille%20ja%20vihanneksille?openGroup=819 . Bags would be easy also to sow at home, if you have got the skills and materials.
According to Red Cross if one in four Finns would use these bags in Finland we could save millions of plastic bags. Think how much if everyone in the world would be using them! Lets start a revolution!
We have the bags usually on the side pocket of my rucksack, so I will always have them with me. I do the food shopping in our household and we do by lots of veggies each week, especially here in Barcelona. Cherries are my current favourites and snacks! Photos are from yesterday when I found a organic green grocers from Hostafrancs Sense Intermediaris (http://goodgoal.org/review/sense-intermediaris/). Slightly more expensive than our local green grocers and no bio waste or reusable fruit bags… Maybe they should learn something from Finland!
Above waste from this week. This iamiaai g another San Joan celebrations coca package and couple of plastic bottles, which I had already taken to the bin. A bit less waste than usually. Normally we head to Montjuic, Montserrat or Costa Brava for the weekend. Buying drinks or ice cream easily contribute a fair amount of waste. I guess we will not have this problem back in Oulu. It is only +13 c degrees there at the moment versus +30 c in Barcelona. Not missing Oulu at the moment!
We stayed in Barcelona for the weekend because of the San Joan celebrations. In Finland you would celebrate juhannus-mid summer. After Xmas it is the second biggest celebration. I guess at the spirit of San Joan or juhannus I also did overindulge with our food shopping, which accumulated to more than usual amount of biowaste. In the heat food seems to off a lot quicker than in the north plus bread goes stale. We buy bread on a daily basis from our closest bakery. It does not help either that we have found cockroaches among the cookerhood, where we kept our breads. Yök!
When we found out that I was pregnant we has no hesitation about what kind of nappies we will be buying – reusable nappies. Learning about reusable nappies was a steep learning curve. My close friend and internet were my best teachers.
First time we used the usable nappies in the hospital. Now our baby is six months old and we have used about 60 disposable Pampers and Muumi-nappies in his lifetime. By the way Muumi-nappies are produced in Finland in a family owned company, so that is why we have used them. Pampers and all other disposable nappies, which we got as a gift I gave away.
To be honest I have turned into a passionate reusable nappy promoter, buyer and user. I even joined the Kestovaippayhdistys. Through my interests I learned that using disposable nappies you produce about 1.5 tonnes of waste per child (newborn to 2.5 year old). In Finland mixed waste is burned but this does not diminish the amount of resources and fumes produced. Some fathers have been especially interested of the money saved, especially for a newborn when you could be changing nappies every five minutes.
I have bought most of our nappies used, which has saved us a lot of money. Let alone how much money we will be saving by using these nappies to our next children. In our household my partner is in charge of the laundry operations and also of most of the nappy changing, when he is at home. I am very lucky!
When we drove across the Europe we brought along the reusable nappies, but used disposable ones on our week long trip. It would have been impossible to storage used nappies for a whole week.
We brought with us around 40 nappies, since we wanted to bring variety of sizes and brands to our trip. Baby will be growing from four months old baby to a eight month old one during our European adventure. I was quit convinced that I would not be able to find any reusable nappies in Barcelona, but I was wrong! I was able to find a shop called De Tela in Gracia, which I did buy few Blueberry Capri covers and Finnish Woolhour pants. Highly recommended!