Special Feature: Small steps add up to giant strides

PUBLISHED: 11:17 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 13:54 04 May 2010

Invest in a shopping bag to take with you on shopping trips – carrier bags can take up to 100 years to decompose.

Invest in a shopping bag to take with you on shopping trips - carrier bags can take up to 100 years to decompose.

IN a more green-conscious age there are grants available for home-owners to install wind turbines and solar panels, but you needn t go to these kind of lengths to improve your eco-friendly credentials. As well as using environmentally-friendly natural cl

There are simple things we can all do to help the environment

IN a more green-conscious age there are grants available for home-owners to install wind turbines and solar panels, but you needn't go to these kind of lengths to improve your eco-friendly credentials.

As well as using environmentally-friendly natural cleaning products, there are dozens of small steps you can take around the house that can add up over the year to make a genuine difference to the impact you and your family make on our environment.

Simple things like using a lid on saucepans will save energy and money, as well as turning lights off when you're not using them.

Organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, however, say a subtle shift in our thinking as consumers is what is needed in the long-run.

Much of the damage caused to the environment, they say, is down to manufacturing. The thinking is that, by making ourselves less dependent on a constant stream of newly-manufactured products, we will ultimately bring down emissions.

The simplest way to do this is to stop and think before you throw something out. Could anyone else use it? This is particularly true with furniture, and smaller items can be taken to charity shops to be sold on to someone who can make use of them.

# Making use of the services at the local library is also a good way to save cash.

# Libraries don't just loan books, they also loan CDs videos and dvds for £1 a throw.

# Try and shop for household products that have the highest energy rating and the longest guarantees. Although higher quality products can be more expensive, they often last longer.

# Invest in a shopping bag to take with you on shopping trips - carrier bags can take up to 100 years to decompose.

# Energy-efficient light bulbs last 12 times longer and save money.

# Avoid PVC products. The reason for this is simple - they cannot be recycled.

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