1 Soap. Ditch those perfumed hand washes. Those plastic containers hold mostly water, labelled trendily as ‘aqua’. Notice you never wash the dispenser’s top and then you have to throw it away. even if it is recycled, it still causes waste and unnecessary labour. A humble bar of soap is self-cleansing; you clean it each time and add your own water!
2 Public transport – start using it before it dies out completely and you are trapped into using taxis. Get to know your local bus routes and timetables.
3 Protest to your local council about the chemical spraying of grass verges, which poisons surroundings and soils. And those leaf-blowers, which merely cause windstorms and sound like a tree is being felled -plus they use either electricity or petrol. A large rake or a large garden brush does the same job and collects all leaves neatly, without any noise at all. (Much cheaper too.)
4 No decking, paving, or shingle over any soil. Any part of your garden, however small, is valuable. While the Welsh are to be congratulated in exporting chipped slate pieces, it makes a sterile surface (and the weeds do come back merrily, the in the same way as they pierce bark chippings.)
5 Flowers planted for bees, buddleia for butterflies – easy wild flowers, don’t need coddling.
6 Feed birds in winter if you like spring birdsong.
7Ask for potted flowers or bulbs instead of cut flowers for birthdays and other occasions.
8 Buy a wind-up radio. No batteries or electricity needed.
9 Buy a wind-up clock/alarm clock. You won’t need batteries.
10 Protest against fracking – a well-considered letter to a newspaper, your MP, or local council – you don’t need to chain yourself to a railing etc.
11 Try Quorn (and other substitutes) instead of meat. Less cruelty; less land needed. No abattoirs.
12 Sample non-cow milks – soya, oat, almond – there are many alternatives.
13 Why have TV or computer always on red-light standby? There is an off switch.
14 Allotments. Even if you don’t want one, defend their existence.
15 Containers of all sorts can be used to grow tomatoes and runner beans, with low-growing herbs in window boxes.
16 Bottled water. Why, just why? You’ve paid for drinkable water already at home. Why buy a more expensive version?
17 Holiday at home, where you speak the language and don’t get bitten by strange snakes.
18 Buy recycled toilet paper (not what it sounds like), one ply paper, not the thick quilted type.
19 Similarly, boxes of paper tissues disappear, but a real handkerchief will still be around next Christmastime. (The same goes for those baby-wipes that block up sewer pipes. Plain cloth can do the same function and be washed and reused.)
20 Place a plate on top of any bowl or plate of saved food. It can keep out the air. No need for cling film or foil.
21 Bring back string. It is reusable, unlike one-use sticky-tape.
Much of the items above are ‘learned’ fashinable needs, requiring repeated replenishment – batteries, constant re-buying, constant throwing away.