10 Ways To Reduce & Reuse

There is a very good reason why ‘reduce’ and ‘reuse’ were chosen as the first words in the phrase ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and it wasn’t just because it trips off the tongue nicely! Before we think about recycling anything, the very best thing that we can do for the environment is simply to use less resources in our daily life.

This is a hard concept for many of us to get our brain around; in the west we live in such a consumer driven society that it is easy to think that the purpose of life is to Buy More Stuff.  Yes, we have to buy some stuff, but there are many ways in which we can minimise the amount of stuff we buy and resources which we consume. 

  1. Boycott over-packaged products. Manufacturers are getting much better about this – they have realised they can save money this way. Refuse an item in a pointless plastic sleeve or an unnecessary box.
  2. Turn your central heating down. Just one degree could save you almost £50, and with the price of fuel having almost doubled since 2005 it is much easier to think about lowering it even more.  Cold?  Put on a sweater.
  3. Use both sides of a piece of paper. Now is the time to find out how to use the ‘print on both sides’ feature of the office photocopier.
  4. Support Buy Nothing Day.   Buy Nothing Day is held annually at the end of each Novemeber.  Yup it’s a Saturday.  Yup, its close to Chritmas. You’ll cope I promise.
  5. Reuse sturdy envelopes.  If you get a strong envelope, jiffy bag or one of those cardboard book packages, save it and reuse it.  You can simple stick a piece of (scrap) paper over your address or use specially produced labels such as those from FOE or Natural Collection
  6. Make friends with your local shoe repairer.  Your favourite shoes will last for years longer if you get them repaired regularly. Polishing your shoes is also a little unfashionable, but shoe polish protects leather from water damage as well as keeping them looking smart.
  7. Fit a low energy light bulb. Yes they cost more to buy but you could save between £5 and £10 on electricity per year per bulb.
  8. Don’t chuck out used printer ink cartridges.  Get them refilled at one of the many specialist shops springing up or buy your own refill kit, available from office supply shops.
  9. Sorted out your wardrobe? Give items in good condition to a charity shop, jumble sale or sell them at a car boot or on eBay, but what about the items too tatty to wear again?  Cut them up for dusters, dish cloths or floor cloths.  They can actually work better than the sort which you use a couple of times then bin.
  10. Use less water.  Have showers instead of bathing; don’t run the tap while cleaning your teeth or washing dishes, don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it is full.  If you are a gardener get a water butt to collect rainwater, and use a biodegradable detergent such as Ecover and divert ‘grey water’ from washing up and bathing to use on the garden

Organic and Fairtrade Chocolate Eggs for Easter

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