When it comes to reducing the use of plastic in construction and gardening, there are many ways, most of which involve reusing and sharing.
- Reuse what you can, e.g. plastic sheets for painting.
- See if you need can be found used, e.g. in Efnismiðlun Góða hirðisins á Sævarhöfði og Breiðhella or ask in groups on Facebook.
- We choose environmentally certified products when possible, e.g. brush soap.
- Most paints contain plastic, but chalk paint is plastic-free. Most people choose swan-certified paint (which does contain plastic). According to a 2019 report prepared for the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, it can be assumed that the third largest the source of microplastics in the environment is plastic made from house paint or about 15-36 tons annually.
- You can get the Swan Environmental Certification for buildings and by searching online, it is easy to find a catalog of construction product stores with Swan-Certified products.
- We try to borrow and rent tools. Tools are usually packaged in plastic and are usually made of plastic themselves. Often you only need to use tools for a short time so once you’re done, consider sharing with relatives, friends or neighbors. You can also take advantage of tool rentals from hardware stores or Munasafnið.
- We try to choose quality products that are likely to have a long life as opposed to something that is cheap and will break easily.
- Construction is often accompanied by a lot of waste that we need to be responsible for. Make sure your waste is not blown away by the wind or rain and that it is sorted properly.
- Composting. The traditional compost bin or Bokashi converts organic household waste into quality soil. Composting reduces the formation of greenhouse gases and makes a great fertilizer for the garden (which is otherwise often bought in plastic packaging).
- Plant pots. If we buy plants in plastic pots, we recycle them or bring them to someone who can recycle them. If we grow plants from seed, we reuse plastic pots, use egg trays or toilet rolls. If we need pots for, outdoor plants we can buy pots made of clay or reuse e.g., metal cans, boots or old wheelbarrows.
- We do not need to buy new tools or equipment for the garden. Consider sharing a lawnmower with your neighbor or family members, or using shared rental services such as Munasafnið.
- If we are building, we try to reuse wood or consider choosing larch that is maintenance-free and does not require regular chemical treatment (the materials are in plastic).
- If we are laying brick, consider buying used bricks from Efnismiðlun Sorpa or in popular groups on Facebook.
- We recommend using large reusable bags (e.g., the blue bag from IKEA) for mowed grass and weeds to transport to nearby dumping stations. There are also strong paper bags for garden waste.
- Natural insect repellent. Remember that there is no such thing as a maintenance-free garden. Your garden requires a wide variety of healthy plant and bug life as possible so use natural insect repellent.