how you can do your bit to help protect the environment?

Something that you must bear in mind is that these ideas do need some thought and sometimes a little bit of perseverence. If some of them aren't practical to your circumstances, just remember that the important thing is to do your best – do what you can!

  • Re-use envelopes by purchasing sticky labels (there are many worthwhile causes to support in this : Friends of the Earth 020 7490 1555, or Baby Milk Action 01223 464420 among many others) to put on envelopes that are sent to you. It's cheaper too!
  • Use your kerbside recycling scheme if you have one. If you haven't got one, ask why not and lobby for change.
  • Send e-cards not paper or card ones. The thought is what's important, not the material. If you add up the cost over a year's celebrations it really does make a difference.
  • Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposables.
  • Reuse plastic bags. To help you remember to do this, keep some in your pocket or handbag – they don't take up much space and it stops you accumulating bags at home.
  • Buy your fruit and vegetables from a local market ot grocers. Support your local Farmer's Market if you have one – you'll be amazed how good the fresh food is! Buy organic produce wherever possible.
  • Use cloths rather than disposable kitchen roll. Saves you money!
  • Consider using your local milkman. They're an endangered species but can really help minimise waste if they use and re-use glass bottles.
  • Home compost as much of your kitchen and garden waste as possible.
  • Use the paper-recycling scheme at work. If there isn't one, why not start one?
  • Take all your cans to a Save-a-Can bank. There are at least 2000 around the country...there should be one near you. You don't even need to crush them up first.
  • Think before you print! How many times have you printed something and not referred to it again?
  • If you do print, use both sides of a piece of paper.
  • Recycle your inkjet cartridges. Visit www.wasteonline.org.uk for more information.
  • Turn off any electrical equipment when it's not in use.....you'd be surprised how many items this applies to!
  • Reduce the waste of resource and time presented by junk mail by contacting the Mailing Preference Service – www.mpsonline.org.uk.
  • Don't buy sandwiches from shops – save on packaging and expense by making your own. This way you can control exactly what you're eating – good for the waistline as well as the pocket!
  • Did you think milk and juice cartons were impossible to recycle? The answer is provided by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the environment on 020 8977 6116 for Freepost stickers so you can send flattened cartons for processing.
  • Hire videos and DVDs rather than buying them.
  • Use your local library rather than buying books.
  • Don't drive to your local shops if you can walk. The exercise and fresh air will do you good. Remember to take your plastic bags with you!
  • Save about 40 litres of water a time by having showers instead of baths.
  • 15% of parents now use cloth nappies for their babies and the number is growing. Join them!
  • Instead of disposable goods, give cinema or concert tickets as presents.
  • Having a clear out? Before dumping your unwanteds, think about how much value they could be to someone else...charities/car boot sales/ebay.co.uk are all excellent options to simply binning it and using up landfill.
  • Borrow tools for DIY jobs from family or friends – if they can't help, hire what you need rather than buying things that you don't need more than a couple of times.
  • Don't consign your old mobile phone or printer cartridges to landfill. Instead contact Oxfam or Actionaid which can recycle them and re-sell them.
  • Stop subscribing to magazines unless you really do have time to read them! You'll save some money as well.