There is an old saying in Green circles: Refuse, Reuse, Repair, Recycle.

Our economy depends on growing from year to year, and this means a continuous process of mining, manufacturing, selling and throwing stuff away.

This is madness, since it is impossible to grow indefinitely in a finite planet. We do not need all the stuff they try to persuade us to buy.

Refuse to be Suckered by Consumerism

Think hard before buying anything new. Do you really need it? Does it have to be new? Can you get one second-hand, off eBay or from a charity shop?

Children are easily taken in by advertisements, and can set their heart on having the latest stuff. The way to do it is to spend time explaining to them about your financial situation, consumerism and the environment, so that they realise that things have a real cost. If they are really set on something, get them to save up for at least some of it by doing paid jobs. That way they get to learn the real value of things.

Rather than telling children they cannot have what they want while they are in a demanding state, set aside time to sit down with them to talk about the household finances and the environment so that they really take it in,


If you have something that has come to the end of its useful life, does it have to be thrown away? Can it be used fro something else? A broken fork handle can be whittled down and be used as a dibber. A broken watering can can get a second life as a plant pot. Just give it a second or two of thought.

If something is working but you really have no use for it, you may find a friend or neighbour who would be happy to take it, or it may find a home through a charity shop.
However, do be careful that your storage space does not fill up with junk by over applying this policy.

Freecycle is an on-line method of finding a good home for stuff that you no longer need. It stops thing from going into the waste stream. Here is the UK website.


Just because something doesn't work does not mean it has to be chucked. It may be something as simple as a fuse that has gone. Modern electrical goods are more difficult to mend, but there may be someone in your street who may be able to fix it safely for you.


Most local authorities now do recycle, so play your part in sorting out your waste well.


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