Everyday changes

Everyday changes we can make now … for a better future
Join Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth is a respected non-government organisation (NGO) and is the only local-global environmental campaign group. Join or make a donation to National Friends of the Earth, or come along to a local meeting.
  • Recycle everything you can – if your council collects recyclable material make use of this service. Anything else recyclable can go to a recycling centre
  • If you have a green bin use it
  • Buy refillable, reusable, repairable and reused products eg. shopping bags, printer or toner cartridges, cleaning liquids (See Plastic-free shopping for places in Leighton Buzzard where you can use your own containers, or buy refills)
  • Use durable items where you can, not wasteful disposable items eg. razors, cameras
  • Buy from and give items to charity. Most charity shops welcome donations that are in good condition which can be sold on (ie. clothes/books/CD’s/DVD’s/Tapes/non-electrical kitchen items/toys/jewellery)
  • Buy recycled paper products for use in the office & home
  • Don’t drive if it is avoidable – take a train or bus. By leaving the car behind just one day a week, we could cut congestion by 20%
  • Walk or ride a bike if you can – enjoy your parks and avoid main roads. It’s good for you & good for the environment!
  • Report water pollution to the Environment Agency, car dumping and fly tipping to the Council
  • Speak up!  Write objections, go to public meetings to save green spaces and old buildings and ask for better public transport and cycle paths.
  • Cut down on over-packaged products. Take your own carrier bags, long-life bags or boxes with you and refuse carrier bags at tills – ask the shop assistant not to wrap things up when they’re already packed.
  • Buy Fair Trade, organic and locally produced food, and support local shops and markets
  • Cut down on meat and fish (many welfare/environmental/health issues)
  • Buy products which have as few as possible food additives and cut down processed food
  • Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans-fats), salt, and foods with long lists of chemicals
  • Get together with a friend or neighbour to share the delivery charge from a supermarket
  • Buy cruelty-free cosmetics and shampoos etc
  • Don’t buy clothes that need dry-cleaning – it’s a polluting process!
  • If buying wood, furniture, or doors, please shop around carefully to avoid rainforest timber.  Much is illegally logged. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council’s FSC logo on wood and paper products
In the Garden
  • Don’t use chemicals in your garden, or slug pellets (which kill birds). Leave an area for wildlife, and plant wildflowers attractive to bees and butterflies. Start a pond. Use hoses sparingly and never a sprinkler!
  • Get a water-butt (perhaps cheap from your council) – use for the garden and washing car
  • Grow your own vegetables if you can – it’s very rewarding & they taste much better!
  • Make your own compost – if you buy, get peat-free (list of local suppliers here) as a lot of carbon dioxide is released from peat bogs when they are drained to produce the peat used in ordinary multipurpose compost.
  • Join a gardening club or allotment where you can share plants and advice, and buy cheap seeds
  • Plant a native tree (perhaps a fruit or nut); if you have a big tree put up a bird-box (high as you can, facing north)
In the Home
  • Use eco-friendly cleaners. Please don’t put bleach down your sink or toilet, or any solid items at all. These enter rivers and kill fish – sewage works can’t cope with everything
  • Switch to an electricity supplier using renewable sources
  • Don’t have water that burns you!  Turn the heating down a little and use a timer; lag water tanks; insulate loft; use radiator foil; draft-strip doors & windows.  Buy low-energy light-bulbs for the rooms you use most – they last 8 times longer and save you money
  • Turn off lights, appliances and machines when not in use.  Turn off computer when not using, and at night turn off TV, video and music equipment – do not leave on standby
  • Dry clothes in the sunshine and wind when you can – it’s free!
  • Get a water meter – it saves money (unless you have a houseful of kids!)  Use bathwater for house plants
  • If buying a fridge/freezer or other white goods, look for the most energy efficient (A)
  • Buy a charger and use rechargeable batteries
  • Don’t buy vinyl flooring (polluting process, bad for health in house) http://www.healthyflooring.org/
  • Avoid oil-based paints – try environment-friendly.  Never pour oil, paint, white spirit or oil-based solvents down the drain. Take used oil to container at council tip or a garage