However, all the signs suggest that most of us need to make quite a few changes in our lives if we aren't going to destroy our environments, run out of natural resources and upset the climate, making many parts of the world uninhabitable. So, the best way to do this, I think, is by making one smallish change and then another, when we've got over the shock of the last one. Otherwise we make wake up one day to find we have suddenly got to change the way we live in many ways, all at once.
Reducing the amount of waste we create is a step in the right direction for all of us. If we think about how much we really need an item and how long it's likely to last we shall stop filling our homes with impulse buys that are not as essential as the advertising blurb convinced us it was. This will help us avoid clutter and mean that we are not mindlessly consuming rare resources. It will also mean we have less cheap, broken, 'five minute wonder' gadgets to consign to the dustbin.
Cutting back on excess packaging is another way to keep precious resources out of our dustbins. Even if packaging is recyclable, water and energy are still used to recycle the materials, and things like plastic and paper degrade each time they are recycled, so they cannot be used forever.
Karen Cannard is now on week 4 of her Rubbish Diet, but if, like me, you like to take things more slowly, you might want to look at her tips for reducing the amount of rubbish you bring into your house and put into your bin, sending it on its way to landfill, which she gave for week 2. I find one or two changes a month is enough for me and the people I live with.
I've found that buying fruit an veg from a veg box scheme that uses minimal packaging, such as Riverford, has helped me have a lot less packaging for my bin or for recycling.
A lot of dried goods, such as fruit and nuts, pulses and cereals such as oats and rice have to be packaged. Oats I can buy in a paper bag, but the rest I try to buy from Suma as their packaging states clearly that it is recyclable. Since our wonderful little health food closed down I've found the Ethical Superstore is the best place for me to buy Suma products at present.
If plastic bag style packaging doesn't indicate whether or not it can be recyclable then this tip from Karen Cannard should be helpful,
"any packaging film that's not labelled, will mostly be polythene (where you can push your thumb into the film and stretch it) or polypropylene (which makes a crinkly sound when you squeeze it). The polythene film is the type that can go in with carrier bags."