Task 2

MY WASTE is someone else’s treasure
During one week, make a list of everything you throw away and everything you recycle.

I threw away:
-hygienic products, toilet paper etc.
-small pieces of waste, rests that don’t fit in any of the Swedish recyclable material or things that are made out of two inseparable materials that can’t be recycled together.
-dirty water
In general there is not much that I throw away that is not recyclable. Sweden has a great recycling system!
I realized that I couldn’t really keep or measure a big part of my waste, like for example dirty water, that goes down the drain every day. But the task made me more aware and attentive to everything I use and then throw away. It made me think about how to reuse stuff, and how not to produce so much waste in the first place.
I recycled:my recycled waste
-plastic wrappers (soft plastic)
-plastic bottle/wrapper (hard plastic)
-aluminum can, aluminum foil
-organic material, food rests…

Where I live, we already started our own recycling program. We take everything that can be recycled to a recycling station once a week. And we have a compost for organic waste.

I reused:
-plastic bags and paper bags to go shopping
-plastic bottle or glass bottle to drink water from

This task inspired me to reuse my waste in a more creative way. I wanted to try and create something useful with my waste for our household. What came out is the following:

I used a toilet paper roll, a coffee wrapper and a piece of a tomato sauce package to make this pen holder. Looks pretty funny, is useful and it was definitely very enjoyable to make it!

The second project was a bit bigger and it took a while to make it (I’m not the best when it comes to gluing stuff together…):

We needed a box in the drawer for big cutlery like knives, big spoons etc. in our kitchen. I used a müsli package, a tofu wrapper, two cardboard packages of beans and a tea package and then I cut a rice milk and a tomato sauce package open, and used the silvery aluminum side as a bottom for the box.
I am very happy with the result, and mostly it was just so enjoyable to make this box and find good use for my waste. It looks good, is useful and I was able to reuse quite a lot of items and create something new from them.
A very inspiring task!
As I started going through the recycled garbage on the search for good looking wrappers and packages, my view on garbage flipped around 180º: it became something precious and useful. I am constantly surrounded by an abundance of useful and beautiful things, it’s all about tuning my focus to see them and use them in the right way.
I learned something about waste through this task. Now, I really understand the sentence ”my waste is someone else’s treasure”. My waste is also my treasure.

Observe what you tend to consume. Make a list of things you could economize.
We want to know what and how much you were able to economize during one week.

I tend to consume:


coffee                                                    tea
honey                                   sugar

bread                                                                                cheese                              butter
lots of vegetables
rice            pasta                                 potatoes                  cous-cous                            polenta


müsli                                                                   tomato sauce
spices, fresh herbs
olive oil, vinegar etc.

cream                                               meat (not frequently)
flour                                     salt

ELECTRICITY               GASOLINE             WATER

HYGIENIC PRODUCTS                          CLOTHES

What I could economize:

Electricity: take good care that I don’t turn on lights if they are not urgently needed. Cold showers. Use candles. Sweep the floor instead of vacuum cleaning.
Water: washing dishes by hand. Not use too many dishes.
Not change my clothes every day, with that not wash so many clothes, only full washing machines.
Gasoline: Use my bicycle to go shopping. Use public transportation for bigger distances instead of borrowing a car from a friend. Hitch hiking.
-no meat, this uses a lot of water and energy for its production. Only biodynamic meat.
-only organic or biodynamic food, local if possible or at least from Sweden – this saves energy as well.
-no fruit that are not in season
-no vegetables that are not in season
-pick berries and mushrooms in the forest
-ask in the local store if they have left overs that they’ll throw away and check the compost behind the shop, there is always vegetables that are still perfectly fine that they have to throw away
-make things: baking e.g.
Clothes: Only buy second hand clothes or even better: get my clothes only from clothes-swapping and have only as many as I actually need.

I was able to economize during one week:

electricity: I only turned on the lights
when it was really needed. I used candles
in the tiny one-room-house I live in.
gasoline: I used my bicycle a lot
water: I didn’t wash my clothes as often
as usual. Washing dishes by hand.
hygenic products: I am using a so called
green washing ball that uses 80% less laundry detergent.

"green washing ball" that saves 80% of use of laundry dertegent

I realized that instead of economizing my food consumption, meaning to eat less (which is not so good for me), it makes more sense for me to be conscious about where the food is coming from, what is in it, who made it, how much energy did it take to get it to me, what was it’s environmental impact in the production and delivering process etc. This is something that I am trying to be very conscious of in my daily life. The choice I have in the supermarket is a serious impact – I give my best to use it.
During this week, I economized my food consumption in the following way, mainly focusing on local and in season, organic/biodynamic, self made and picked in the forest or eating left overs:
-I ate only biodynamic, local meat
-mushrooms from the forest
-got left overs from the local store that they have to throw away (vegetables and loads of bread)
-ate self made jam
-vegetables only organic and as local as possible
-no fruit that are out of season
-here are some pictures of a meal with only organic and local ingredients. There is only a few ingredients in it that are not produced or grown around here (salt, vinegar and olive oil).

In general my current life style is very consumption conscious. I live in a small garden shed with no water and no electricity, which means that I am very aware of how much water I use every day and I also get to experience that life functions perfectly well without having electricity in your room…

“As little as I have, I know there is always someone out there who has less than I do.”
Make a list of things you don’t use and donate them to people who might appreciate them. We want to know what you donated and to whom.

Going through all my belongings, there were mainly small things, stuff, and lots of clothes that I actually never use. It was impressive to see the pile of things that were just sitting in my room somewhere but never actually used.

Donated to 3rd-year  YIP students:
Pens, CD’s, DVD’s, rolling papers, facial cream, bath bubbles, cards set, paint, folder, poster, yarn, books, bicycle bag, cd player, cell phone, towel, scarf, coat, jacket, 2 skirts, 8 pair of pants, 7 t-shirts, 6 shirts, 4 dresses, sweater, tights, gloves.

I decided that I would give most of the things I don’t need to the next generation of YIP students, who will have their opening in 2 days and with this start yet another year of YIP. They will come from around the world to Sweden and arrive with only few things. In the first weeks they will try to make themselves a home and they will make their rooms beautiful and cozy and they will love it to get new clothes and things for the winter. So I like it very much to give them most of the things I don’t need and contribute to a good start of their year at YIP through that.

There is few other things that I want to give to specific people:

Swedish children book + dictionary + a special Turkish shirt: donated to Philip, a friend who wants to learn Swedish and the shirt just belongs to him!
pair of black trousers: donated to my friend Jessica who needed some trousers
beautiful skirt: donated to my friend Andrea, because she and the skirt fit perfectly together
long white dress: donated to my friend Inga, because she is as elegant and beautiful as the dress
cute black dress: donated to my sister; I know that she will have more joy from it than I do

It felt so good to get rid of all this stuff, especially all the clothes that I don’t actually need. This outer cleaning up and going through all my belongings reflected on an inner process of clearing out and coming back to what is truly essential to me. A very inspiring task!

I just came back from traveling for some weeks and all I had in my backpack were some clothes, books, sleeping bag, toiletry bag, cell phone, laptop, guitar, painting stuff and a note book: That is essentially all I need, –  it’s not as much as I often think…


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