Every single one of us can make a difference to our planet. Sarah Allen challenges you to make one or more of these small changes and make the world a better place in 2017.

Change your toothbrush
It is recommended that we change our toothbrush every three months, so that’s four toothbrushes you will use in 2017. There are 65 million people in the UK so that’s a potential 260 million toothbrushes that could be thrown away each year. However the solution is easy, replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush which will rot away naturally. They also look and feel great!

toothbrush set
Izola Months Toothbrush Set, £15 Henry Tibbs Ltd. – www.henrytibbs.com


Re-use, re-use, re-use!
How about completely banning the use of cling film in your house? This is made of plastic, which is typically thrown away after one use. The solution? Use a reusable container for your sandwiches and other food items. There are lots specifically designed for this purpose but any container will do. The same applies to any food you might normally cover in cling film and pop into your fridge, put it into a reusable container instead.

Go organic with your cotton buds
Most cotton bud stems are normally made from plastic, but it is possible to buy cotton buds with paper stems instead. I buy ‘Simply Gentle Organic’ cotton buds from my local health food shop which are biodegradable and do the same job. Once you have used them pop them in the rubbish or even better, your compost bin and they should quickly biodegrade. Remember to never flush plastic-stemmed or paper-stemmed cotton buds down the toilet as they can easily enter the marine environment and can be eaten by turtles, seabirds or fish which can be fatal.

Get your own coffee cup
Take-away coffee cups are not normally recyclable. They have a plastic liner and can not simply be put in with cardboard to be recycled. However, it is perfectly possible to make cups that are completely compostable. The National Trust now uses entirely compostable cups and lids but I know it’s not possible every time you want a take-away coffee to go to a National Trust property. The current solution is to have your own reusable coffee cup. I know it’s not so convenient but taking reusable bags every time you went shopping wasn’t thought to be a convenient option for many in the past. Now we are charged to have a plastic bag many people automatically remember to pick up their shopping bags before they go to the supermarket. Could you think each time you go out, “am I likely to want a coffee?” and if the answer is “yes”, take your own cup.

Bamboo fibre travel coffee cup in Vintage Ivy design, £6.99 Jeremy’s Home Store – www.jeremyshomestore.co.uk


Ditch the unnecessary packaging
So much of what we buy comes in, usually plastic, packaging. One simple way of cutting back is to start off by concentrating on the fruit and vegetables you buy and whenever possible buy them loose. And I mean loose. Don’t pick up a bunch of bananas and then put them in a plastic bag before putting them in your trolley. There is no reason I can think of that they need a plastic bag to be transported from the shop to your house. Grab a handful of carrots and just place them in your shopping basket. There are many more fruits and vegetables you can buy this way, sure they may roll around a little on the conveyer belt but they won’t come to any harm. If you really do need to use a plastic bag then bring it back the following week and keep reusing it.

Find Sarah online at: www.facebook.com/rhubarbandrunnerbeans

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