You’d think that being in The NL, on a sailing boat, we’d be green – at least lime, even if not pea. We’ve got bikes as well. We always thought that The NL was a very green place – deepest bottle – but it seems this might not be the case. I’ve been reading about their high mileage in cars, the pesticides and other chemicals they use on their fields, particularly the bulb fields and the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by all those dairy cows.
It’s difficult to get numbers on all of this and most of the information I have uncovered is in Dutch. So it might be best to just give you my own impressions.
Yes, we’re ‘green’ when we use the sails to get around. If the wind is in a constant direction and more or less behind us, up goes the jib and we can hurtle along at up to 3.5 knots. With the wind in front and a straight waterway, we can go even faster. It’s been fun to use wind power like this, to actually get somewhere and not switch the engine on.
We’re also ‘green’ when we use the bikes – which we do- for shopping and just for fun. It’s amazing how much our range is increased, just by having two wheels each.
Shopping is another matter though. Lack of storage space, or a fridge, means we rely more on convenience and partly-prepared stuff than we do at home. And it all comes in plastic packaging. I’m horrified by the amount of plastic I throw away every day. For someone who once brought the ‘silver’ paper from a chocolate bar home from Wales to recycle it, this is truly painful. Sometimes we can get our fruit and vegetables, cheese and flowers at a street market, but even then, some of the wrappings are oil derivatives. I know there’s bio-degradable plastic, but it isn’t used much and even if it was, there’s a dearth of places to recycle it. Supermarkets supply plastic carrier bags, but we and lots of NLers use cotton bags or wicker baskets or panniers on their bikes. Bit of a win there. Poiesz, one of the Fryslan supermarkets, has just started supplying paper bags for purchases of loose fruit and veg. Hurrah!
Lots of the produce in supermarkets, from fruit and veg to coffee, wine and toiletries, is organic or ‘biologishe’ as they say here. Another win, then.
I’ve written before about the patchy provision of recycling facilities in the Passentenhavens. In towns, there are separate bins for glass, paper, clothing and textiles, garden waste and things destined for landfill, just as there are in the UK. But the Passentenhavens often only have one bin and everything goes in it. The bins are emptied frequently though, so there aren’t the odour and fly problems that we can get in the UK. Very definitely something to be thankful for.
So I reckon we won, several times over, with these free range eggs, in cardboard packaging, which I carried on the back of my bike. And all arrived at the boat still intact. Incidentally, you can buy eggs in 3s, 4s, and half and whole dozens here. I think that’s a god idea and could help reduce food waste.