Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Reduce, reuse, recycle

How far do you follow the three 'R's of a zero-waste lifestyle philosophy? Tamanna Kalhar suggests some key strategies to help you earn extra eco-friendly brownie points

May 1, 2007
5 min read

Don’t bin it

Contact your local council for details of its waste disposal policies and the nearest recycling facility.

The best option for household organic waste, including food, is home composting. It eliminates the carbon footprint of waste transport and returns valuable nutrients to the soil. Visit: www.recyclenow.com/home_composting/composting/index.html for more information.

Give your clothes a new lease of life by reinventing them. It’s amazing what you can do with some haberdashery and trimmings. It could be as simple as swapping the buttons on your outfits, or using iron-on letters to bring that old tee shirt back into fashion. Use undyed yarn to knit your own jumpers to avoid toxic materials and sweatshops.

Do book swaps with friends instead of buying new. Donate unwanted toys to nurseries or children’s hospital wards.

Don’t buy products with excess packaging; choose those with re-useable containers. Invest in a reusable natural fibre bag to carry your shopping home.

Return unwanted junk mail and ask for your name to be removed from the mailing list by emailing the Mail Preference Service.

Don’t standby, switch off

A computer left on all day results in the emission of 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year. Even a mobile phone charger left plugged in wastes power and money. Switch off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use. See www.tiptheplanet.com for information on computer power management and other energy saving tips, such as not overfilling the kettle.

Use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs and turn down your thermostat by just 1°C to save one tenth of your home heating bill. Make your home more energy efficient by insulating your loft, lagging your boiler and pipes, and using draught excluders. And switch to a green energy provider like Ecotricity.

Nullify your carbon footprint

For zero carbon emissions cycle and walk as much as you can. Use public transport. If you must drive make sure you do so in the appropriate gear to reduce exhaust emissions and switch off your engine if not moving. Invest in a fuel efficent car. The Environmental Transport Association features the environmental rating of all new cars and other tips on becoming a greener motorist.

Sacrificing overseas air travel will significantly diminish your carbon footprint and personal contribution to global warming. Research train and boat options at www.nofly.co.uk and www.seat61.com and pledge to limit or stop your flights at www.flightpledge.org.uk.

Be sustainable material-istic

For every tonne of paper we use each year, we consume an area of forest about the size of five football pitches. Buy recycled or recyclable products such as toilet tissue and stationery. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo when buying wood products – from paper to raw timber. This ensures the wood comes from a well-managed forest. Re-use envelopes and recycle paper after use. And use e-mail where possible, rather than faxing or writing.

Consume zero waste

There’s a multitude of reasons why you should buy local, organic food. As well as saving on carbon miles and packaging it supports the endangered farmer species and is healthier. Check out your nearest farmers’ market for fresh food, often organic, direct from the farm. Visit www.farmersmarkets.net for more information.

The Organic Directory provides information on organic box schemes and local food resources. Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables to reduce the environmental transport costs. Or grow your own allotment. Call your local council or contact the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners for information on getting started.

What a waste of water

Fix dripping taps and turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Install a Hippo water saver – or a brick – in your toilet cistern to save between 2.5 and 3.5 litres of water when you flush.

Ban your hosepipe; use a watering can for the garden and a bucket of water for car washing. Install a water-butt, available at local garden centres. Using rainwater for the garden, toilet and washing machines can save up to 50 per cent of household water use. There are a number of different rainwater harvesting systems available, which can be installed in both new and existing buildings. See www.environmentagency.gov.uk.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Contribute to Conter – the new cross-party platform linking Scottish socialists
Jonathan Rimmer, editor of Conter, says it’s time for a new non-sectarian space for Scottish anti-capitalists and invites you to take part

Editorial: Empire will eat itself
Ashish Ghadiali introduces the June/July issue of Red Pepper

Eddie Chambers: Black artists and the DIY aesthetic
Eddie Chambers, artist and art historian, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali about the cultural strategies that he, as founder of the Black Art Group, helped to define in the 1980s

Despite Erdogan, Turkey is still alive
With this year's referendum consolidating President Erdogan’s autocracy in Turkey, Nazim A argues that the way forward for democrats lies in a more radical approach

Red Pepper Race Section: open editorial meeting – 11 August in Leeds
The next open editorial meeting of the Red Pepper Race Section will take place between 3.30-5.30pm, Friday 11th August in Leeds.

Mogg-mentum? Thatcherite die-hard Jacob Rees-Mogg is no man of the people
Adam Peggs says Rees-Mogg is no joke – he is a living embodiment of Britain's repulsive ruling elite

Power to the renters: Turning the tide on our broken housing system
Heather Kennedy, from the Renters Power Project, argues it’s time to reject Thatcher’s dream of a 'property-owning democracy' and build renters' power instead

Your vote can help Corbyn supporters win these vital Labour Party positions
Left candidate Seema Chandwani speaks to Red Pepper ahead of ballot papers going out to all members for a crucial Labour committee

Join the Rolling Resistance to the frackers
Al Wilson invites you to take part in a month of anti-fracking action in Lancashire with Reclaim the Power

The Grenfell public inquiry must listen to the residents who have been ignored for so long
Councils handed housing over to obscure, unaccountable organisations, writes Anna Minton – now we must hear the voices they silenced

India: Modi’s ‘development model’ is built on violence and theft from the poorest
Development in India is at the expense of minorities and the poor, writes Gargi Battacharya

North Korea is just the start of potentially deadly tensions between the US and China
US-China relations have taken on a disturbing new dimension under Donald Trump, writes Dorothy Guerrero

The feminist army leading the fight against ISIS
Dilar Dirik salutes militant women-organised democracy in action in Rojava

France: The colonial republic
The roots of France’s ascendant racism lie as deep as the origins of the French republic itself, argues Yasser Louati

This is why it’s an important time to support Caroline Lucas
A vital voice of dissent in Parliament: Caroline Lucas explains why she is asking for your help

PLP committee elections: it seems like most Labour backbenchers still haven’t learned their lesson
Corbyn is riding high in the polls - so he can face down the secret malcontents among Labour MPs, writes Michael Calderbank

Going from a top BBC job to Tory spin chief should be banned – it’s that simple
This revolving door between the 'impartial' broadcaster and the Conservatives stinks, writes Louis Mendee – we need a different media

I read Gavin Barwell’s ‘marginal seat’ book and it was incredibly awkward
Gavin Barwell was mocked for writing a book called How to Win a Marginal Seat, then losing his. But what does the book itself reveal about Theresa May’s new top adviser? Matt Thompson reads it so you don’t have to

We can defeat this weak Tory government on the pay cap
With the government in chaos, this is our chance to lift the pay cap for everyone, writes Mark Serwotka, general secretary of public service workers’ union PCS

Corbyn supporters surge in Labour’s internal elections
A big rise in left nominations from constituency Labour parties suggests Corbynites are getting better organised, reports Michael Calderbank

Undercover policing – the need for a public inquiry for Scotland
Tilly Gifford, who exposed police efforts to recruit her as a paid informer, calls for the inquiry into undercover policing to extend to Scotland

Becoming a better ally: how to understand intersectionality
Intersectionality can provide the basis of our solidarity in this new age of empire, writes Peninah Wangari-Jones

The myth of the ‘white working class’ stops us seeing the working class as it really is
The right imagines a socially conservative working class while the left pines for the days of mass workplaces. Neither represent today's reality, argues Gargi Bhattacharyya

The government played the public for fools, and lost
The High Court has ruled that the government cannot veto local council investment decisions. This is a victory for local democracy and the BDS movement, and shows what can happen when we stand together, writes War on Want’s Ross Hemingway.

An ‘obscure’ party? I’m amazed at how little people in Britain know about the DUP
After the Tories' deal with the Democratic Unionists, Denis Burke asks why people in Britain weren't a bit more curious about Northern Ireland before now

The Tories’ deal with the DUP is outright bribery – but this government won’t last
Theresa May’s £1.5 billion bung to the DUP is the last nail in the coffin of the austerity myth, writes Louis Mendee

Brexit, Corbyn and beyond
Clarity of analysis can help the left avoid practical traps, argues Paul O'Connell

Paul Mason vs Progress: ‘Decide whether you want to be part of this party’ – full report
Broadcaster and Corbyn supporter Paul Mason tells the Blairites' annual conference some home truths

Contagion: how the crisis spread
Following on from his essay, How Empire Struck Back, Walden Bello speaks to TNI's Nick Buxton about how the financial crisis spread from the USA to Europe

How empire struck back
Walden Bello dissects the failure of Barack Obama's 'technocratic Keynesianism' and explains why this led to Donald Trump winning the US presidency