North Sea- food, waste & cosumtion
Almost directly after coming home from my summer vacation, I took off to the North Sea with my family. We did mostly the same things as always, but additionally made a mudflat hiking tour to an East Frisian Island. This was not something on my impossible list, but definitely a fascinating and great experience.
What was on my impossible list, however, was bathing in tidal flat, what I did this year for the first time. I had thought about doing this literally for ages and this year, I just went to the beach, wore my bikini and jumped into the mudder. It was amazing. For some reason, I enjoyed the cold shower on the beach afterwards almost even more.
On the service area on the way there, I am proud to say that we produced no waste. We ate and drink out of porcelain and glass containers instead of plastic and paper boxes and ordered food at the snack restaurants there instead of buying packaged snacks. I bought a soft drink bottle, though, with the intention to use it as my new (bigger) refillable bottle. The waste, we did necessarily produce were the receipts. As for this, it would have been better if we paid all food at once to get only one receipt. This was something, that we did not do. I had the feeling that I was infecting other members of my family with my zero waste idea. My brother, who is definitely not somebody thinking a lot about his garbage, told us that he took a piece of cake on a porcelain plate instead of a pudding in a plastic box.
As we go shopping there together, I, again, got a new perspective on my food & waste. I could decide more than usual, what I want to eat and so choosed a lot of fruits. We also bought smoothies regularly. Buying drinks, I wondered, whether it is more sustainable to buy out of a glass- or plastic bottle, also considering if they are returnable bottles or not. At home, I researched about this topic a little more and will let you know my opinion soon. (Of course, not drinking out of a bottle is still the best way).
Apart from fruits and vegetables, everything was packaged in one way or another. Bread, noodles, vegetable pastes, cornflakes and sweets were all filled in plastic and paper. Especially sweets produce a lot of waste. While fruits and vegetables were not packaged, they did have unavoidable fruit stickers. The waste aspect made me question my food consumption. I felt slightly less enthusiasm for sweets and cornflakes, concerning all the waste, they produce.
I also recognized that I did a big step in terms of minimalism compared to the last time, I was there. Before, I was always were concerned about entering each interesting shop there at least once. Given, that most of the tourist shops sell the same stuff anyway, this was a little strange. This time, I did not care about ticking all shops off my list. I knew, what I needed and where I would buy it. Even when members of my family offered me to buy me an object of a bookstore, I did not chose a book just for the sake of shopping. I bought a sun hat and a yellow rain jacket, both items, I knew I needed and was careful choosing. At least the rain jacket is of good quality. I also realized this change with other people of my family. On the other hand, I sometimes had the feeling that others regarded consumption and buying stuff as the basis of fun.
I did not take my smartphone. Together with my brother, I wanted to make this experiment. I usually use my smartphone to chat, take photos and make notes. For the latter, I took a camera and paper and pen with me. I felt that I was making photos more consciously, but it was still a lot.
Generally, I packed very little stuff in comparison to my family members. When we went onto the mudflat hiking tour, we had got a packing list, that I stuck to completely. As it turned out, I had needed not even half of the stuff that was recommended.
We ate out quite a few times. As I found out, many restaurants do have vegan alternatives. Sometimes, however, I had to ask and got some weird looks. When I bought food at a Vietnamese snack restaurant, I took my lunchboxes with me. But because of the poor communication, I still got my rice filled in a plastic box and handed in a plastic bag. I have to train my tenacity.
In general, it was a different, more open and amazing experience that I made.
See you soon,