Written by: Anastasiia Ponomarenko
It is exciting to discover places with locally produced food. One of such destinations is Ekte Vare – a zero-waste shop and cafe with a variety of local products spanning from usual grains to luxurious chocolate and cheese. I like to have a drink made of house-grown ingredients at Bruket Oslo – a part of the so-called Landbrukskvartalet, an upcoming agricultural district. Another eco-friendly destination located right by the Oslo Fjord is an international vibrant food court, lecture and concert hall – Vippa. Lastly, if you are up for vegan cuisine, make sure to pay visit to Nordvegan – a full-vegan restaurant, with dishes created by Michelin-starred chef Reuben Waller and everyday new plant-based menu options. For wider collection of organic and vegetarian destinations in Oslo, check out one of these two links:
Tackling food waste
I am trying to be more sustainable by tackling the issue of food waste. For instance, quite often shops have a special sale on products when “best before” dates are approaching – a great deal for student wallet. To find these deals, you will need to look around the shop for special containers with such products (disclaimer: as usually they are gone quite fast).
Alternatively, you are almost guaranteed to fall in love with (my beloved) Too Good To Go app – a service that resells leftover café meals and grocery products on a significantly reduced price. My favorite combination is to order food from Ekte Vare (plastic-free shop) on Too Good to Go.
One of the fundamental concepts of circular economy is recycling. Undoubtedly, recycling is irreplaceable part of “Norwegian experience”. In Oslo, all students living in student houses are obliged to sort their everyday trash according to color-coding system: organic waste (goes to the green bag), clean plastic packaging (the blue bag), residual waste (normal shopping bag) and paper/cardboard (stored separately in container for paper/cardboard). Green and blue plastic bags for the recycling are available free in every grocery store. Containers for sorted trash are available almost on every corner.
In addition to sorting by these categories, trash can be further sorted into glass/metal, fabric/clothes/shoes, hazardous waste, etc. The full list of categories and places of the utilization is available on the city council website.
There is one category – «pant», which deserves a special attention. No, this category is not the one for your old pair of jeans as you might have already thought 🙂 This category is for plastic and can beverage bottles. Every plastic bottle of juice, water or soda, as well as every can of beer or soft drink, has a “pant” value written on them. One pant is equivalent to 1 NOK, and the number of pants attributed varies based on the size of the bottle from 1 to 3 NOK. This indicates the sum you pay in addition to regular price for choosing a plastic/can option. Upon consumption of a drink, people can return this money by placing such types of bottles in special pants machine, available in the majority of stores. The process is rather simple – you place the bottle in allocated slot and receive a receipt equivalent for the total number of pants. You can later use this receipt to pay for goods at the supermarket or donate it to charity via the machine. For instance, me and my neighbours prefer to collect these pants together and spend received money on common-needed stuff such as dishwashing liquid, toilet paper, or hand soap.
I hope I made it easier for you to start your green journey in Norway! 🙂