This project is closed... but don't let that stop you! Simply execute your idea!

Live during one month without producing any garbage.

An idea from Joan

At first I thought this would be kinda easy, then I realized it wasn't, and then it became kinda easy again.

After one day I figured out that I needed to set a border for myself of how far I wanted to go, because otherwise I wasn't going to live very long! Indirectly almost everything you consume creates waste and since I didn't expect myself to be able to become self sufficient within a day I decided to take it step by step. First stop my direct waste. Then reduce indirect waste.

 

Yeah or no?

No garbage meant no plastic, no paper, no metal, no glass, etc... Many people asked me in the beginning why I wouldn't accept glass and paper, since you can recycle it. But I thought that would be a little easy. :-) Second, some materials (for instance paper) lose their strength after having been recycled a lot, so they need to add fresh paper every now and then to keep the quality high. It's a form of downcycling, which is especially the case with plastics. Btw, recycling is great! But still it's good to think about the amounts we produce, because I realized it best if we start with reducing, then reusing and as last, recycling…

 

// more about food and which products I did or didn't use in the video.

 

Good or bad?

I noticed that often I think very black and white. This is good, that is bad. Glass is good, plastic is bad. And in a sense that is true, because the one is indeed better then the other. But thinking like this constantly I experience as exhausting and even sometimes contra-productive. Because I can't all the time live up to my own ideals and judgment, I make mistakes and fail every now and then. Sometimes I decide not to do what is 'good', because I'm tired, hungry or just generally feel down. And when that happens I feel guilty, because I know I did something 'bad', something I shouldn't. Funny thing is that that can make it even worse, since I don't want to feel bad I try to avoid being aware of the fact that it's bad. I simply try to ignore it completely…

 

And then the other day I finally found a way out of my own guilt loop. I realized that it helps to simply see things for what they are. Plastic isn't bad, plastic is a great material which can be shaped in any form and has many uses, it's a flexible material to use and reuse. When you throw it away it sometimes gets recycled, more often it gets burned which puts toxins in the air. Plastic degrades very slowly which can confuse ecosystems. So is plastic bad? No. Plastic is a great material which can be shaped in... :-) Knowing this, I would prefer to use glass, or use and reuse it as long as possible. But it isn't bad, neither good. It's just plastic.

 

I know this is a very tiny tiny difference, and maybe it only works in my head. But for me it makes it possible to make choices based on knowledge, not based on guilt and judgment. And I find it kind of liberating! Yes, I prefer one above the other, glass above plastic, reusing something above throwing it away. But it's not good or bad, it's a preference, because I prefer to have more nature then less, because I prefer kids to live on soil and not on my trash.

 

Thanks a lot to Davide for helping with the video and lots of other technical stuff. And thanks to all the people around me for their support this month and accepting my sometimes odd behavior. I did like all the food, tea, cookies, bread, candy you guys offered me, but this month I couldn't accept!!! unless you were going to throw it away :-)

Comments

Davide
Davide
March 4 2012  | Bart loves thisLoveUnlove

cool man!!

Kasper
Kasper
March 5 2012  | Miquel Ballester and Maarten love thisLoveUnlove

Very funny video man, keep it up! And congratulations on finishing this assignment. Yes you made the world a better place by leaving no garbage on your trail in life for a month. Already a lot won!

sara
sara
March 6 2012  | LoveUnlove

joepie! great to hear that you received only positive reactions, talking about odd behavior, i have had some pretty odd/funny reactions to similar actions. like always walking around with my little cup when i buy ice cream, coffee etc on the street. ('oh, you do not want to waste, well i can do it for you!' or 'why don't you want plastic bags, they are for free!!!')

anyhow. not sure i already wrote it here or not. but baking soda also works as a toothpaste substitute. and as deodorant. and if you keep doing your laundry with the magnetic ball, you can also put some etheric oils like lavender or lemon grass in there, if you want it to smell something except of nothing.

plus, i hope and i am sure this challenge inspired people around you. like you said, it starts with the small things and if many do a lot of small things it sums up to a nice amount of changes. changing our mindset about reducing is a key point. cause what do we actually need in life?

Maarten
Maarten
March 7 2012  | Miquel Ballester loves thisLoveUnlove

Yeah, but it get's better when you go back to the same place every now and then no? Then people get used to it... Maybe you can do a small docu ones about sara and her foldacup!!

With toothpaste the problem was finding an alternative which on it's own was without packaging. Because there are good alternatives, but how to get those without producing garbage on it's own again. Maybe sand... but I'm not sure if that works! Or getting seawater and making salt on your own or something... :-)

ps. Indeed, we don't need much. Even though sometimes we think we do.

sara
sara
March 7 2012  | LoveUnlove

nice idea! the foldacup docu! and the places where they remember me, they do think it is quite funny and sweet, the girl with the cup.
i forgot to tell you about how the bedouines do their dishes, and how i sometimes did it when i was out camping, they use sand. it removes oil pretty good! :) many creative ways to solve things, once you start looking for it...

Philipp
Philipp
March 12 2012  | LoveUnlove

nice film!

Philipp
Philipp
March 13 2012  | LoveUnlove

...just because it's in the picture: Using dishwasher is most of the time not necessary because of it's atomic structure plane cold water is such a great solvent in itself. However, if dishes are oily and even warm water wont help please use bio degradable dishwasher. The Albert Hijn stuff you were holding in you hands seems far away from that.;-)

Bart
Bart
March 14 2012  | LoveUnlove

Ecover has all kinds of ecological cleaning stuff. But i don't know where to buy in Rotterdam. But (i just found it) it can be bought online: www.eco-logisch.nl

Maarten
Maarten
March 14 2012  | LoveUnlove

Well, this specific Albert Heijn detergent is actually ecological, but since I'm not a specialist in chemicals I'm not sure which one is better then the other...

sara
sara
March 15 2012  | LoveUnlove

bart-ecover can be bought at the groene passage, or at least it used to be like that...?
maarten&philipp-many products claiming to be ecological, both cleaning detergents and body/hair products are often not harmless to the nature. for instance they usually have a very high content of salt, so if you have a grey water system even the ecological products would do harm in a large dose. they might be biodegradable, but not necessarily bio-compatible and suitable for the soil.

Philipp
Philipp
March 16 2012  | LoveUnlove

@maarten: sorry, didn't see that your was ecological.
@sara: ok, now it's getting really complicated. Probably first choice should be not to use any detergent and second to use ecological ones. Besides anything in large doses does harm, doesn't it? Generally I would assume that companies such as Albert Hijn have less interest in sustainability than Ecover, the one Bart suggested.

Pol
Pol
March 22 2012  | LoveUnlove

Heee Maarten,
Wat een goed initiatief!

Maarten
Maarten
March 23 2012  | Pol loves thisLoveUnlove

Thanks Pol!

Juan Fiorenza
Juan Fiorenza
March 25 2012  | Miquel Ballester and Maarten love thisLoveUnlove

Great job! Thanks for doing it both interesting and entertaining. Congratulations from Argentina!

Miquel Ballester
Miquel Ballester
April 13 2012  | LoveUnlove

About the issue with the dishwashing liquid. At my place (a woongroep of 40 people in Delft) we buy cans of 25 liters of different cleaning products (dishwashing, wc reiniger, alles reiniger) from Ecover (Here: www.bd-totaal.nl). We go once a year to this place in Utrecht to buy all ecological cleaning products and toilet paper for 40 ppl in one year (I can tell you... that is a loooooot of toilet paper). This made us reduce quite a lot, the waste in plastic bottles. We just refill the old ones. The best of everything is that the 25 liters cans, we can give BACK and they refund us some money! :)

Maarten
Maarten
April 13 2012  | Miquel Ballester loves thisLoveUnlove

Wow, that's so cool!! Great way of dealing with this and sounds like you're in a nice woongroep! I would love to find a similar solution, but I don't live together with 40 people :-)

rita
rita
June 11 2012  | Maarten loves thisLoveUnlove

maybe what we should do is to live in the city as if we were in the country side. go to live with the Bedouins to get some basic habits like cleaning dishes with sand ;0
Thanks Maarten!

Koreansoup
Koreansoup
September 28 2013  | Maarten loves thisLoveUnlove

Maarten,
You did make the world a better place by doing this! The direction of society and how the actions of humanity (and it's affect on the world) evolves is a summation of what everyone is doing. I was thinking of taking similar steps (using reusable containers) but I have not done it up to now. This gives me motivation to get into action! Thank you for taking the time to do this for a month. It allows me to see what kind of challenges and issues you came up against! The fact that you did this strictly for a month pushed you to find new ideas and solutions that I would not of though of on my own (but now that I can incorporate). Hopefully, some people will note my actions and a little tiny tiny bit more momentum of good will exponentially grow:) Can't wait to check out your other projects! Thank you for being you!

Maarten
Maarten
September 28 2013  | LoveUnlove

Wow, thank you so much for your nice and positive feedback Koreansoup. That again inspires me to keep doing these little things as well, I guess in that way we just help eachother... Tnx.

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