- Think before you buy!
The products we buy often have unnecessary packaging. Do fruit and vegetables have to be bought in plastic wrapping or can you buy them loose? Do meat and fish have to be pre-packed? Before buying disposable plastic razors, think about buying a metal one that lasts longer. Consider biodegradable nappies, which decompose much faster. When you come to taking your shopping home, why not use a string or fabric bag, instead of lots of plastic ones? So before you reach for that item on the shelf … think! Is there a better alternative?
- Recycling Centres in your area
Most local authorities run recycling centres, where you can take almost anything for recycling. Batteries, cans, electronic equipment, computers, fluorescent tubes, furniture, glass, household appliances, metals, oils, paper, glass, plastic and textiles can often be taken to recycling centres. To find the nearest one to you, put your postcode into the Recycle Now website. For more on recycling, have a look at the Waste Watch website.
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee is the leading national local authority organisation promoting waste reduction and recycling. They have lots of information on recycling with links to useful sites.
There are often bottle banks and recycling bins at the big supermarkets situated in the car parks. These sites sometimes also take paper and textiles, so next time you’re at your supermarket, keep your eye out for them.
Inside some supermarkets there are also recycle bins for plastic bags, so rather than throwing that pile of bags in the rubbish, pop them in the recycling bin instead.
- Charity Shops
You can do your bit for the environment and help others by taking your unwanted items like clothes, shoes, books, etc. to your local charity shop. The Red Cross, RSPCA, Help the Aged, Salvation Army, Cancer Research and Oxfam all have charity shops, which will take your unwanted items. You can use the Association of Charity Shops' website to find charity shops in your postcode area.
- Get Composting
You can compost your vegetable peelings, grass and all manner of things in a composting bin, which can be used to enrich your garden. You can find out how to get one started by going to the Composting Association website where Alan Titchmarsh has a guide on how to get started. Local Authorities can also provide advice on composting and some sell composting bins.
- Get Active
Is there something you feel strongly about which is damaging the environment in your area? Do you think recycling could be improved? Act locally. Contact your local Councillor, MP or your newspaper to get your views heard. Most local councils can be found on the Web and will provide you with the name of your Councillor or MP. Alternatively you can find out from your local Council Office or Local Authority Library.
- Get browsing
If you want to know more about recycling and doing your bit for the environment here are some great sites to visit:
- Recycle Now has quick and easy tips on dealing with rubbish at home, at work and at the shops.
- To find out more about recycling go to: recycle-more.co.uk.
- A guide to products available in the UK which contain recycled materials can be found at: Recycled Products Guide.
- Hate junk mail? You can stop it by registering with the Mailing Preference Service .
- Consider using re-usable nappies for your baby, find out more at: Real Nappy Campaign.
- What are the Government doing about all this? Find out at: Doing Your Bit for the Environment.
- What choices do we have with waste? For articles on waste reduction visit Choices.
- The Environmental Services Association is a non-profit making trade association for companies providing waste management.
- Save energy
You can find simple energy saving tips, money saving ideas and a directory of energy efficient products at the Energy Saving Trust website.
Get a Home Energy Check from your local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, call free on 0800 512 012.
For articles on choosing energy options visit the energy section on the Choices website.
Children will enjoy this interactive site: www.funergy.org.uk.
If you are interested in an organic lifestyle contact the Soil Association.
Learn more about seasonal food at bbc.co.uk's Food section.
Sustain is the alliance for better food and farming.
Environmental Information Exchange tells you about cleaner fuels and grants to convert your car.
- Climate change
Get involved in monitoring climate change with the UK Phenology Network.
And have a look at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.
- Protect the Environment
Measure your environmental impact and how to cut it with our Postcards from the future interactive.
The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. What's in Your Backyard? gives you on-line information about nearby landfill sites, river quality and industrial pollution an other quality of life measures.
In Scotland contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
In Northern Ireland contact the Environment and Heritage Service.
- Join in
There are a number of groups actively campaigning to improve our environment. Here are a selection.
- Friends of the Earth is the largest international network of environmental groups in the world, with over 200 campaigning groups in the UK.
- Greenpeace exposes global environmental problems, their causes and solutions
- RSPB is Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity and campaigns on a range of local and global issues.
- The National Trust is developing its environmental and conservation work.
- WWF campaigns to save endangered species and protect our natural environment.