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Our readers’ top tips for green living

As part of our Christmas competition we asked our followers and readers to tell us their top tips for a green life. We were looking for the small acts that, when combined, can create a huge positive impact on the world around us. After receiving a huge number of responses we decided to collect some of our favourites together to share some wisdom and inspiration for a greener 2018.

Think we’ve missed one? Comment below to share your tried-and-tested tips.

Make do and mend

  • Keep your clothes a little bit longer before buying new, or keep them in the back of the wardrobe to rediscover years later. Helga Wills
  • Take the trouble to repair things when they break if possible, even if its a bit of hard work, even if it’s more expensive than buying a new one – see the big picture! Chris McCartney
  • I teach an up-cycling craft class and my top tip is to try to reuse rather than putting things straight into the recycling bin. For example, T-shirts can be made into cushion covers, beach bags, book covers, headbands, necklaces, t-shirt yarn to weave coasters, rugs, bowls etc, etc. Claire Olif

Get creative

  • Use vinegar (preferably in glass bottles) and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning. This saves on all those plastic detergent bottles, all those chemicals which invade the environment, and is cheaper and usually at least as efficient, and sometimes more so. Carolann Samuels 

    • My husband got a pram at a charity shop and refurbed it so I can transport my instruments to class without a car – works a treat, and doesn’t rattle them too much. (I don’t mind looking like a bag lady…) Mary Benefiel Dunn  


Ditch single use plastics

      • Stop using disposable coffee cups and buy a reusable Charley Autumn
      • Reject pre-packed fruit and veg at the supermarket, and buy only loose. They are happy to weigh them without a bag or, if necessary, you can take your own small bag and keep reusing it. Ian Bradshaw
      • Reduce one use plastics and containers. Carry a reusable water container and stop one-use cups by carrying reusable cup. Great Christmas gifts to encourage family and friends to do the same. Iona Hughes

Your money

      • Buy less, but buy better: for example, high quality, organic, free-range meat once a fortnight; a pair of well-made shoes which will last and which you can have resoled; things which can be repaired rather than intended to be used then discarded. Think before you buy something: do you need it? how was it made? what will happen when you’ve finished with it? Adelheid Russenberger
      • Switch to a renewable energy provider ☀ Rouben Freeman 
      • Change your current bank account to a Triodos account. Deborah Richardson-Webb
      • Switch banking to more ethical banks (Triodos wooooo); wash clothes slightly less; eat less meat; buy/make a canvas bag instead of plastic carrier bags; use soap instead of shower gels/body wash. Boom – environmental superhero. Immy Sykes 
      • Ask your pension provider how they incorporate sustainability issues into their investment strategy, demand transparency and action in line with the Paris agreement. Pavel Kirjanas
      • When you spend money realise that how you spend it shapes the world, so buy ethical, faritrade, local, independant and organic for a better world. Graham Watson


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What do you think of "Our readers’ top tips for green living"

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Elizabeth Newman 3 years ago

Some I do, others I will do. I wish there were more clothes not made from fossil-fuel-based fabrics, even though they do last much longer.

Julie 3 years ago

I think they are great top tips – varied and interesting and confirms the Power of One. Each individual CAN make a difference 🙂

Boris 3 years ago

The largest negative affect on our environment is cause by the meat and dairy industry. So, cutting down on meat and dairy or ideally cutting them out altogether will make the biggest difference.

Mark 3 years ago

I like the ideas. One way to re-use plastic bottles is to make a greenhouse with them…find out by searching n the internet. You can also make sheds from plastic bottles, and houses such as the refugees in Tinduf refugee camp do in Algeria. Plastic water bottles are useful for drip-feeding your plants whilst away..fill with water and put a cork in the top with a hole in it and then put into the plant holder.

Diana Ray 3 years ago

Great suggestions here. We can also use the simple power of encouragement- by noticing when other people are re-using or when shops make it easier to buy quality, or people have mending skills, and we make a point of appreciating what they are doing, and telling them. This is because all of us activists need encouragement to keep going.. Don’t give up!

Hilary Byers 3 years ago

The ‘green’ options often cost more in the short term. In the long term they are often better value, but many people cannot afford to think long term, they are ‘just about managing’ day to day. So we need to make suggestions that work for people in the short as well as long term.

Francis 3 years ago

I’d like to switch to a Tripod current account, except that my present provider pays 5% interest on the first £2500 and provides other significant benefits.

Karen 3 years ago

Here’s another…switch to loose leaf tea instead of tea bags which contain plastic.
Great ideas

Reply to Karen
june purvis 3 years ago

Have recently started to do this too, much better for our health

Angela 3 years ago

Very good but probably the most damaging to the environment, human health, food security and social justice is the livestock industry. Why is that not on the list?

Jimmy Altham 3 years ago

Here are a few more.
(1) When a shirt is in good condition, I wear it in town. When the collar is frayed I wear it for gardening. When it falls to bits, it wipes dirt off my bike.
(2) Have milk and fruit juice delivered in glass bottles that are collected for reuse.
(3) Cut the grass with a push mower, or a scythe if the grass is long. Use no power tools in the garden, and cancel your subscription to a gym.
(4) Buy hemp products when you can find them. Hemp clothes -shirts, jeans, shoes,-are durable and much more comfortable than you might think. Hemp soap is excellent, and hemp seeds are very nutritious..
(5) Then there are the big items that need significant capital outlay, such as solar panels and an electric car.

june purvis 3 years ago

Great ideas but overall I believe that we should just use less of everything.

Rodney King 3 years ago

Good, they are things that you can do every day wherever you live, and they are resource saving. However, climate change is a major challenge, why not include activities that will have a direct reduction on carbon dioxide emissions. Cycle to work, insulate your flat/house.

Suzy Hill 3 years ago

I have plenty of tips on my blog watchingmywasteline.wordpress.com. i’ve just switched to Triodos for my current account and I will be posting about my experiences soon!

Carol Graves 3 years ago

Wear an extra sweater rather than turn on the heating !

May 3 years ago

Organise a clothes exchange afternoon at home! It’s fun and sustainable, whatever is not picked can go into the local charity shop!

Margaret bending 3 years ago

Will you be opening a bank in cardiff,, or are you only using on line banking?

Hazel Collis 3 years ago

I like Think before you buy and end not replace.Many of my nicest clothes are about 40 y ears old!

B Church 3 years ago

Enjoyed it

+ Show all 19 comments