Eco Tips are a series of short articles published monthly. Each explains an environmental issue and provides advice on what we can do to reduce our impact on creation.  Each Eco Tip includes links to relevant information or suggestions for local service providers or suppliers.



Stitching up the planet. Many of us are creative and enjoy making items for ourselves and others. I have been asking myself recently if I can do this in ways which help protect our planet. Here are a few ideas I have found.
Look for fabrics, threads and yarns produced without large amounts of water and toxins. Organic cotton is grown without using chemicals or pesticides. Hemp is made from plant fibres. Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and is also biodegradable…read full article

Eat Ethical Easter Eggs. Each year, we eat over 8 kilogrammes of chocolate per head in the UK(1). We eat more than almost anywhere else on Earth and much of it at Easter. Around 80 million Easter Eggs are sold each year in the UK. Most are packaged in cardboard or plastic, generating around 3,000 tonnes of packaging waste. Cardboard packaging is readily recycled, but much of the plastic is likely to be thrown away….read full article

Recycling cosmetics packaging – A beautiful return. According to a Zero Waste Week¹ report in 2018, the global cosmetics industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging each year. Many beauty products are packaged in materials that can’t be put into our recycling bins. This means much of it ends up being incinerated or sent to landfill.
Recycling beauty packaging can be complicated, although Reading Borough Council do accept clean and empty shampoo bottles and soap dispenser bottles which show a recycling symbol, as well as cardboard packaging. But they do not take the caps or trigger spray pumps, flexible plastic tubes, plastic pots or their lids, flexible plastic wipes packaging and a multitude of other, hard to recycle, materials …read full article

Can you replace plastic in your garden? Plastic is really useful in the garden, but it comes at a cost to the environment and wildlife. Luckily, there are alternatives and sometimes they are better for your plants too. Plastic pots, trays and root trainers are lightweight and cheap. They may not rot, but they do degrade and become fragile with exposure to sunlight.

Changing the way we garden to avoid using plastic, by turning to biodegradable materials like wood, paper and coir, full article

Act to cut medicine waste: Wasted or unused medicine is a serious and growing problem for both the NHS and the environment. And it is something you can help tackle.

It is estimated that as much as £300 million is wasted every year in the UK on unused or partially used medication which cannot be recycled or re-used….read full article

Greening your Home this Autumn: With 40% of UK carbon dioxide emissions coming from household energy use, our homes have an important part to play in meeting our 2030 emissions reduction targets. As we move into winter and temperatures drop, you can help to tackle climate change and reduce your heating bill by testing how draughty or leaky your home is. Find the gaps…read full article

Fit more active travel into your day: As the lockdown eases and we move back to travelling regularly for work or leisure purposes, it is worth considering what journeys can be made by walking or cycling. So called ‘Active Travel’ – the new phrase for walking and cycling – fulfils the twin objectives of improving health and well-being, while also reducing emissions which harm people’s health…read full article

Choose song-bird safe olive oil: Do you use olive oil for cooking and in salad dressings? If so, you may be shocked to know modern harvesting practices are killing migratory birds. Portugal’s Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests has found millions of birds are killed each olive harvesting season in the Mediterranean full article

Facemasks – a hidden problem: From 15 June 2020 it is mandatory to wear facial masks or coverings when using public transport in England. Many people are already using them in shops, or even when out walking or driving. It is inevitable we will see a massive increase in the use of PPE, or personal protective equipment.
According to an analysis by scientists at University College London, if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, an extra 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste would be created and have ten times more climate change impact than using reusable masks …read full article

Keep topped up and cut plastic bottle use: Many of us like to make sure we have plenty to drink when we are out and about. Picking up a bottle of mineral water from a shop along the way has become a routine for lots of us. The problem is, in the UK we use 35 million plastic bottles every day, most of which are immediately discarded.

But it doesn’t need to be like this. …read full article

Knit one, purl one and save the planet: If you like to knit or crochet, you probably have a selection of yarns made from a variety of fibres. It is worth pausing before purchasing yarn for that next project to consider its impact on our environment…read full article

Gardeners – time to go peat free: As spring approaches, gardeners think about planting seeds and preparing their gardens. A supply of compost is essential, so we head to the garden centre. Although peat free compost is available, most of what is available contains peat. After more than twenty years of campaigning by environmental groups and gardeners like Monty Don, we still use huge amounts of peat in our gardens… read full article

Let the train take the strain – cut your carbon footprint: At this time of the year, many of us are considering summer holidays. Cheap flights have transformed travel. Short breaks in Europe or holidays in the sun are increasingly popular and affordable. But the carbon dioxide emitted from flying can be a large part of an individual’s carbon footprint. So is there any alternative? …read full article

Fighting fatbergs: The word “fatberg” was coined after the discovery of a 130 tonne blockage in the sewers of Whitechapel in 2017. They are caused by a build-up of wipes, fats, oils and grease in the sewers. Fatbergs have increased in frequency recently, causing around 300,000 sewer blockages each year, at a cost of around £100 million. In addition, they cause sewer flooding in thousands of homes and businesses…read full article

Plastic milk bottles: Are you thinking about ways to reduce your use of plastic containers in response to David Attenborough’s 2018 Blue Planet programmes? One product which generates vast numbers of single use plastic bottles is milk. But there is a simple option to help reduce use…read full article

Lighting: There has been a revolution in lighting in recent years. The familiar orange Sodium street lights have gone, replaced by smaller, more efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). We are increasingly using these in our homes and anywhere we need light. But they cost more than traditional bulbs, so should we use them?… read full article

Shopping for presents? At this time of the year, many of us are looking for that special gift for friends and family. The obvious option is to visit local shops, town centre malls or increasingly to look on-line.

But there is an alternative which will save you money and may provide a unique gift… read full article

Reducing your carbon footprint – food: There is plenty of advice on reducing home energy use (and the resulting bills). One less obvious way of reducing our carbon footprint is to look carefully at the food we eat. Meat and dairy products use a lot of land and energy in their production….read full article

Me and my carbon footprint: You may have heard of the term “carbon footprint” in discussions about climate change and the environment. But what does it mean for us?

We all have a “carbon footprint”, an estimate of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of our lifestyle choices. Carbon dioxide is a so called “greenhouse gas”, because it traps energy in the atmosphere, increasing temperatures.Everything we do in some way produces carbon dioxide…read full article