- You don't have to be a rocket scientist to cut plastic waste!
Ducky Success Story | Future in our hands
If all Norwegians copied what the participants in The Plastic Challenge did, we would have reduced plastic bags by more than 10 million, single use coffee cups (and lids) by more than 1 million and picked up more than 260 tons of plastic – in just two weeks.
The Plastic Challenge is a collaboration between Future in our hands (FIVH) and Ducky.eco with a goal of mobilizing households to reduce plastic consumption, and impact politicians and industry to do the same.
133 families from Oslo, Kristiansand, Trondheim, Tromsø and Lillehammer competed in the challenge. With Ducky, participants got access to 33 activities they could do to break free from plastics in their everyday.
Gabriela and Agnieszka took first place in Trondheim and were the best at cutting plastic waste
Gabriela Kazimiera Warden and Agnieszka Wesolowska was the best household in Trondheim. In just two weeks they did a total of 526 big and small actions to cut plastic consumption and plastic waste.
«Breaking free from plastic is easy. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to cut your own plastic waste,» says Gabriela in an interview to Adresseavisen.
The couple chooses grocery stores that sell vegetables without packing wrapping, buy rice and grains in bulk at Etikken in Trondheim.
Here are some tips from Gabriela and Agnieszka:
- Always carry shopping bags,
- Use beeswrap instead of plastic wrap,
- Take your own bread bag,
- Use bamboo straws
- Always bring a multifunctional reusable coffee cup and water bottle,
- Take public transport!
Photo by Terese Samuelsen, local coordinator, Future in our hands Trondheim.
Individual measures are necessary
Plastic is a complex, global and structural problem that we as individuals unfortunately cannot solve alone. But even with a plastic problem so large and pervasive that changes at a system level is crucial, individual measures are also necessary. In fact, as individuals we are responsible for a significant portion of the overconsumption and plastic waste.
Gabriela studies materials technology at NTNU, and has written a paper on plastics.
«Plastic is a fantastic product if used the right way,» says Gabriela. «The problem is that we have become too accustomed to single-use plastic. When we were kids, everybody used single-used plastic. And it’s hard to stop something you’ve gotten so used too.»
«If everybody just stopped thinking “just me” or “just a straw”, we might see a big change.»
Photo by Terese Samuelsen, local coordinator, Future in our hands Trondheim.
What can you do?
You don’t have to participate in The Plastic Challenge to reduce plastic consumption and plastic waste. Here are some simple things you can do in your everyday that contributes a lot:
- Leave the car. Did you know that tire wear is the biggest source of microplastics emissions in Norway? By leaving your car, and choose walking, cycling or public transportation when possible, you contribute to the reduction of microplastics in nature.
- Always bring a reusable cup. More and more cafés give you a discount if you bring your own reusable cup. The coffee will also stay warmer for longer and you contribute to reduced consumption of single-use cups and lids.
- Plan your grocery shopping. Then you can bring your shopping bags and re-usable containers when you buy fresh food. This is how you reduce the consumption of plastic bags and -wrapping wherever you can.
- Plastic free meals. Are you up for the challenge of making a plastic free meal?
- Plastic smart laundry. Most of our clothes are made from – or with – plastics. In a load, one piece of clothing kan release as much as 1900 micro plastic particles! An easy way to stop this is reducing the amount of laundry, and be conscious of the way you wash when you have to run a load.
- Push politicians and industry. In The Plastic Challenge participants sent Facebook messages and emails to businesses, politicians and the waste industry with an encouragement to reduce overall plastic consumption and to improve waste systems. It’s not as hard or scary as it sounds like, and it has a big impact – consumer power does work!
133 households competed about being best at cutting plastics for 2 weeks.
Large amounts of plastic has been cut
Over a two-week period, 133 households have contributed to:
- Reducing consumption of plastic bags by 927,
- Reduced consumption of disposable plastic bottles by 1365,
- Said «no thank you» to unnecessary plastic products 902 times,
- Had 654 plastic free meals,
- Fixed 91 products of/with plastic instead of buying new,
- Reduced consumption of single-use cups and lids by 1173,
- Encouraged politicians and industries to reduce plastic consumption, prevent plastic from being misaligned and improve our waste system 533 ganger,
- Picked up more than 1400 plast products on the loose,
- And organized 20 plastic free events.
Plastics creates engagement!
We have found that people want to help solve the plastic problem. And they’re willing to do a lot to change their own habits everyday to contribute. Maintaining a positive focus on solutions, alternatives and how to contribute works. Still, more work is needed to find ways to calculate and make visible savings from plastic initiatives, influencing politicians and businesses to join in. This project is financed by Handelens Miljøfond and Bymiljøetaten in Oslo Municipality.
Ducky and Future in our Hands want to continue the collaboration and have more exciting plastic projects coming in 2020.
Read more about The Plastic Challenge 2019:
- Adresseavisen: “Husstander i Trondheim skal konkurrere om å få ned plastbruken”
- Trondheim 2030: Familien deltar i plastkampen
- God Morgen Norge: Familien Harnischfeger konkurrerer i plastreduksjon,
- TV-reportasje på Dagsrevyen: NM i plast
- Kronikk i Adresseavisen: “Vi drukner i plast”
- Norgesglasset (hør fra …)
- Distriktsprogram Sørlandet (hør fra…)
- Adresseavisen: “Gabriela (24) og Agnieszka (29) var best i Trondheim på å kutte ut plast i hverdagen
- Artikkel på Japansk Yahoo-side (av en journalist som deltok i plastutfordringen)
More success stories
The National Schools Championship this January saw eleven counties, fifty one schools and over 11,000 students compete. Participants saved enough CO2e in two weeks to roughly equal to driving a fossil car 2.5 round trips from the Earth to Moon. But most importantly the championship once again proved that no matter how young or old you are, you can do something to help with climate change.
FEE Norway and Green Flag ran the Alcoa-Klimamesterskap 2019. In two weeks pupils at 7 high schools in Agder and Nordland reduced Co2e-emissions equivalent to a passenger flight flying 3 times around the earth.
A kindergarten took first place in Norway’s first unofficial Climate Championship. On the 30th of August, thousands of people around Norway shouted for political action for the climate. For ten companies this wasn’t enough, and followed with a two-week Championship.
Night-train to Oslo? Bike to work? Or on foot home from a fotball match? Some took things further than others when NTNU started their one year Ducky Campaign this spring, to motivate their employees to travel less and more environmentally-friendly.
More than 100 pupils at Firda VGS participated in a Climate Challenge. Because the pilot was so successful, the school will now join 10 other schools in Sogn & Fjordane County to compete in the first National Climate Championship in January 2020.
More than 6 000 students in Telemark and Trøndelag show how powerful individual actions can be when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Their savings would be equivalent to 40% of Norway’s total annual carbon emissions!
Ready to get started?
Get started with the Climate Challenge, or get in touch with us to learn more about your options.