As you may already know, I ~ Nat are living in Norway with my husband (he is Norwegian), our 3 teenage kids and a house packed with furbabies, running my small business in our house from the 1800’s.
I am writing this blog post to talk some more about us and the rest of the Norwegians and how we are living here ~ reducing our carbon footprint.
The recycling process in Norway is amazing!
Norway has one of the most efficent recycling plans in the world, and an intricate system that we; the locals have been taught since childhood.
If you ever travel to Norway, it might feel confusing or even a bit overwhelmed to see our color coded bins.
What’s the deal with all these different color coded bins anyway? Well, i will tell you the recycling «rules» that we have here in Norway, and in no time, you will be a pro at recycling when you’re visiting beautiful Norway.
Our green, black, orange and black, green and black system; the first thing that you will notice is the color coding on our waste bins that are «parked» outside of our houses. The color coding on them is to help you decipher what type of waste goes where: Paper goes into the green bin, foodwaste goes into the black and green bin, plastic waste goes into it’s own recycable plastic bag to hang on the outside of the black and green bin, glass and metal included cans goes into the orange bin, and everything else goes into the black bin.
Once you’ve mastered the bin system, it’s time to learn about our PANT system.
Every plastic bottle of juice, ice tea, water, soda as well as every can of soft drinks and beer etc has a «pant» value printed on them.
This value, usually around 1-2,50 NOK, is what you’ll have to pay in addition to it’s regular price when you buy a can of soda or plastic bottle of water. However, you can get it back when you return the can/plastic bottle to one of the pant machines, found in the entrance of all supermarkets.
How does it work? Well, simply place your bottles/cans one by one on the slot in the pant machine, and the system calculates the Pant value you’ll get with each can/bottle. Once you’re done, the machine issues a receipt with the amount in NOK.
You can use that receipt to pay for your goods at the supermarket, or you can donate it to charity through the machine which is a lottery donation (you can actually win alot of money), if you don’t win, the money is donated. You can also show the receipt to the cashier and get money in return.
We also recycle/donate our clothes and shoes, toys etc at one of Fretex’s collection bins (there’s other brand bins too); if they’re in good enough condition, they will be sold on their own, otherwise Fretex’s team will use the fabric to create something new and beautiful. Our H&M stores does also collect your old clothing, so if you have some old clothes you wish to drop off at H&M when you’re out shopping, then you can do so. Fretex is a part of the Salvation Army by the way ~ and if you’re looking to buy cheaper furniture, you can always check out Fretex OR FINN (that’s our online marketplace where the Norwegian people can sell everything from cars, houses, furniture to clothing, and business use that platform as well.
When it comes to the environment, Norway is not holding back anything. From initiatives for recycling and the cross industry struggle to keep the air, seas, and nature as free from pollution as possible, every aspect of life is imbued with a need to go greener. We have this huge place where we can throw away garden waste, old furniture, tv’s, and different electronics etc. When we arrive, we pay a small fee, they then let us in and the personell working there, then take care of the waste the proper greener way.
Here are some other things worth mention that Norway is doing to make sure life on planet Earth remains sustainable:
• REUSING; the thrift/reuse culture is big here in Norway. And as most things, it starts with school; books are reused, passed on from child to child. Nowdays however, the schools have Ipads for the children to use, laptops etc. This minimize paper waste and no new books is being printed.
Thrift markets provide a perfect opportunity to both sell and buy old furniture, clothes, frames etc. I personally have made alot of amazing scores on original artwork and antique frames. Second hand stores like Fretex and the Sudan help (they do charity work and donate the money towards Sudan, and other stores like this does the same, but to other countries), are gathering donations for various charities, (Fretex is an important part of the Salvation army), while giving you a chanse to buy anything from clothes, books, to furniture, records, and homeware at really low prices.
Cleaning the nature when you’re out for a hike, walk in the nature, or a run etc is something that you’ll see many Norwegians doing, including me and my family. Picking up waste in the forest where the waste collection bins is not so frequent. We are picking up any litter that we/they may find along the way to recycle it.
REDUCTION OF PLASTIC: Norwegian supermarkets, resturants, clothing stores etc are on a mission to do better when it comes to plastic bags, packaging, plastic disposible spoons, forks etc. The plastic bags already came with an extra charge charge to dissuade people from using them, and now most plastic bags are replaced with recycled plastic bags or paper bags. Fruit and vegetable packaging has received an overhaul, drastically reducing or already reduced the plastic used to package the products such as strawberries, avocados etc. Salad bowls are now paper with wooden disposible forks in them.
Norway is fighting foodwaste too; younger people are dumpster diving to both save some money good money (students), and grab some amazing food for free, thrown out in special dumpsters by the supermarkets. Some supermarkets also sell food that’s 1-3 days close to their exp. date for 50% or less.
Norway also have alot (!) of electric cars, let’s talk about that ~ because it’s pretty darn awesome to be honest.
ELECTRIC CARS IN NORWAY; Norway’s preference for electric cars has grown immensely since 2014. In 2020, the numbers showed that one in two cara bought was electric. The numbers now in 2022 is higher of course. This is a higher rate than in any other country! This all ties to Norway’s plan to end sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2025, switching completely to electric which, of course, is better for the environment.
By 2030, Oslo aims to have reduced 95% of its Co2 commissions, making it one of the most clean air cities in the world.
Now, let’s cross our fingers that they can and will reach that goal, because that would be amazing.
Norway also has an HYBRID BOAT going on both gasoline and electricity. We have taken that boat several times when we’re off to Sweden, and honestly; it’s such an amazing experience, sitting there or walking around in that boat. It‘s silent, no vibrations, clean and futuristic looking inside.
About two weeks ago (in writing moment), Norway christen the worlds first container boat that’s fully electric! My daughter was there to watch it, and our Norwegian crown prince Haakon was there to christen the container boat, and he held a speech too.
And yes, i might suspect that you’re thinking; does that Blotmani chick own an electric car too? YES! We do own an electric car, we also have our good «old» Land Rover, our big car, that we use only for our hikes with the dogs.
Norway is also ambitious when it comes to have a plan for electric airplanes. Rolls Royce and Siemens are both working with Avinor, the proprietor company of Norway’s airports, to create a hybrid fuel-electric plane model by 2020 (I will have to look into that to see how far they have come by now).
The long-term goal is for all flights of up to 1.5 hours (which would cover all domestic flights and flights to other Scandinavian capitals) to be 100% electric operated by 2040.
This will not only result in less greenhouse gas emissions, but also in significantly less noise pollution in the skies.
Norwegian fjords are breathtaking, and understandably a very popular tourist destination. Perhaps a bit too popular if you ask me; a 2016 study has showed that the air quality in some of the fjords is more similar to that of a city, because of all the emissions from the ferries and cruise ships. So the Norwegian parlament voted that from 2026 onwards, only zero-emission electric ferries will be allowed to travel the fjords of west Norway.
That would make Norwegian fjords the first emission-free marine zone in the world!
For now, diesel-electric hybrid vessels as well as an electric vessel are being tried out, hoping to see both a climate and a marine industry impact.
Then we have this amazing seed vault on Svalbard (an island far far up above Norway). This is more like a «breake glass in case of emergency», literally.
The seed vault on the Svalbard archpelago is a «Doomsday» bank, a place where over a million seeds of plants from all over the world are gathered and preserved in perma frost, to be used in case of a global crisis. This could mean anything from climate change, a nuclear war, or any geopolitical disaster that would require replanting the future from the ground up.
Norway understands the importance of the vault, so on its 10-year anniversary, it spent 100 million NOK (US $ 10 million +) to upgrade it.
So yes, Norway is really invested in the future.
There’s some things here mentioned that i need to check up, too see how it’s going ~ but this is so far the information of how we, the people in Norway is working towards a better, cleaner planet to live on.
Now let’s hope that the rest of the world will follow us and do as much as they can.
Remember; try to recycle as much as you can, reuse things, keep the nature clean ~ don’t throw out you trach from the car window and so on.
/Nat K BlotMani