Eco tips: January 2023 - May 2023


Archive of Eco tips

Tips for sustainable living, produced by members of the eco-group, are published weekly in the Church bulletin. An archive of these tips can be found here:

At this time of year, many people are aware that their diet and fitness regimes have slipped over 
Christmas and New Year. It is probably also true that for many of us, our carbon-reducing regimes 
have slipped over the past few weeks. Perhaps, if we have a car, we have been using it a bit more – 
hardly surprising with no public transport. Or perhaps while entertaining family and friends, we 
have had more lights on than usual, and we may well have consumed more meat. Perhaps in the rush of 
pre-Christmas food shopping, we were less vigilant to avoid over packaged items.
Now is the time for a re-set- and to try to get back into a more sustainable lifestyle. Although 
January 1ˢᵗ has been and gone, there is no harm in making some belated new Year resolutions. These 
may be simple ones such as walking, cycling and using public transport more, or doing laundry less 
frequently, or shopping more at zero waste shops. They may be bigger resolutions such as reviewing 
the heating source for the home or making other major changes towards sustainability.

This week’s tip is a small and simple one. It is easy to waste energy by leaving appliances on 
‘stand by’ or switched on at the wall. Try going round your house after dark, and looking round 
each room with the light off. How many small lights can you see? Some of these may be from 
appliances such as fridges which need to be on 24/7, but it is likely that we will spot the small 
‘power indication’ lights from devices which have been left to charge, but have completed their 
charge, or from those left on stand-by. There may even be devices or appliances which have not been 
in use for some time, but by being switched on at the wall, are still using energy. By doing this 
sort of check regularly, we can make a small but significant reduction to our energy use.

Another simple one this week.
Wear an apron for household tasks. Aprons can put up with a lot more stains and splashes than your 
clothes can. This will not only protect your clothes, but reduce energy and water use in washing.
If clothes do get a spot or stain on them, rather than putting the whole garment straight in the 
washing machine,try rubbing the stain with soapy water. This may well solve the problem.It will 
also save water and energy, and will prolong the life of your clothes.

If you are a gardener, this is the time of year at which you may be doing some planning for the 
Spring and Summer. Remember to try to grow a few of your own vegetables and some fruit, if you have 
space. It is surprising what can be grown just in pots. We are likely to have another dry summer, 
so if you have the facility to install a water butt, this would save on your use of tap water in 
the summer.

The average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper daily, and a staggering 
two-thirds of that is considered waste. In the UK, we use over 9.9 million tonnes of paper each 
year, and it takes 24 trees to make just one tonne of paper. Clearly, we need to make some changes 
and learn how to reduce paper usage, or better yet – know how to go paperless 

Here are a few ways in which we can reduce our paper usage:
If we take a newspaper, think about changing to a digital subscription. Remember, however, that
there is still a carbon impact from digital use.

Try to print as few documents as possible; they can be stored digitally.
If we do need to print out documents, proofread them on screen, to save printing and then finding 
the errors.
Always try to print double-sided and 2-to-a-page where possible.
There will always be lots of sheets of paper with one clean side lying around in our home or 
office. If these are deemed ‘scrap’ use the clean side for any notes which need to be taken on 
paper, either handwritten or printed.
Always recycle even the smallest bits of paper; if you have a home shredder for confidential 
documents, don’t put the shreddings into the recycling, as this can clog up the council’s machines. 
The shreddings can be composted in small amounts or used for packaging etc.

Every year, an enormous amount of food in the UK simply ends up in landfill. This is not only a 
waste of valuable nutrition , but it is also a waste of all the energy and resources that have gone 
into growing, packaging, and transporting it. So living sustainably involves avoiding food waste as 
far as possible.
There are many ways to do this, but here are two simple tips:
1.  Plan your shopping for the week. We are all short of time, but taking a few minutes to plan can 
help us to buy only what we need and are going to use, thus avoiding waste.
2.  Sort out the fridge! Most of us probably have a lot of half-used jars of various products 
lurking in the fridge. Have a good look at these, and try to use them up before they go ‘off’. 
Similarly, we may find shrivelled vegetables in the drawer at the bottom. Checking this regularly 
can help us to use these vegetables while they are fresh. A useful idea is to keep one shelf of the 
fridge (if space allows) for the ‘priority’ items, which need to be eaten up within the next few 
days. Longer lasting items can be on another shelf. Regular rotation in this way can help to avoid 

‘Reduce - Re-use - Recycle’
This is one of the mantras of sustainable living. Yet it is easy to rely too much on the ‘recycle’ 
element. We need to remember that recycling, good though it is, uses a lot of energy and in many 
cases only re-purposes a limited proportion of the materials involved. So whilst it is undoubtedly 
good to recycle as much as we can, we should not feel virtuous for having a full recycling bin 
every week.
It is much better to concentrate on the first of the ‘3Rs’ cited above, and to try to reduce the 
of stuff coming into our home or work in the first place. That is the more sustainable route.

We are now approaching the end of the financial year, and if we are fortunate enough to have 
savings and investments, this is the time of year when we may be being invited to review these. 
Where we place our money, and how we decide that it is to be used, can have an important 
environmental impact. For a start, there are decisions to be made about where we bank. Some banks 
stress their profit potential, whilst others stress their ethical credentials. Look carefully at 
what banks and other providers say about themselves. When it comes to investments, try to find out 
as much as possible about what the funds will be invested in. This is not always easy, because fund 
managers like to diversify in order to reduce their risks. However, it is possible to say what we 
do not want our money to go into, and by reading carefully about any proposed investments, we can 
raise important questions, and try to avoid our money going into, for instance, fossil fuels, and 
trying to

invest in renewables. By raising such questions, we are also keeping them in the minds of providers 
and financial advisers.
If we have choices about any pension fund to which we are contributing, then the same kind of 
questions can be asked about these.

We are now in Lent, a period traditionally associated with reflection and self-discipline. If we 
have not already imposed our Lenten discipline, perhaps we could take on an ‘eco’ challenge. If we 
are meat-eaters, then we could take on vegetarianism for the remainder of Lent, perhaps with the 
added bonus of ‘Vegan Fridays’. Or it may be that we could give up using the car for the remainder 
of Lent. If we live a more sedentary lifestyle, it could be that we could reduce our TV viewing, 
and avoid having it on as continuous background.
Any of these steps taken for Lent may help us to make more permanent changes in our lifestyle.

As we may have heard on the news over the weekend, February has been exceptionally dry. This means 
that water stocks are very low for this time of year, when they are normally fairly high. This 
could mean major problems in the summer. It is therefore important to conserve water now. This can 
be done by keeping our showers short, using ‘brown’water (ie water which has already been used for 
washing up etc) for watering bulbs and early plantings, letting the car go dirty (apart from the 
windscreen!), and turning the tap off while cleaning our teeth. There are many more tips for saving 
water, and some of these will appear in later bulletins.

We have probably all seen some of the empty shelves in the supermarkets, and have heard much in the 
news about these. They are a reminder of the need to eat seasonal foods, locally sourced, whenever 
possible. Unseasonal foods either involve considerable distances in transport or a lot of energy 
consumption to grow them under heated conditions, or sometimes both.
This situation might also act as an encouragement for those of us who have the space to try to grow 
more of our own fruit and vegetables, perhaps co-operating with a friend or neighbour so that we do 
not end up with a glut of some vegetables and a shortage of others.

If we are going to live sustainably, then we need to learn as much as possible about our role as 
consumers, as well as the part played by Government and business. Try listening to ‘The Big Green 
Money Show’ on Radio 5 Live. This deals with all sorts of issues including water, the grid, buses 
and period products. All past programmes are available on BBC Sounds and details can be found at Give it a try.

In a few weeks’ time many of us may be voting in local council elections, and we have possibly 
already started to get election literature through the door. We need to read this carefully, and 
see what the candidates are saying not only about issues like public transport, but about many 
other aspects of sustainability. We also need to ascertain how high such matters are on their 
agenda. If campaigners come to the door, this is an opportunity to explore their response to the 
climate crisis with them. This is an important way in which we can bring about change.


This week we are not offering a tip but asking you for information. Very sadly, ‘Just Footprints’. 
The zero-waste shop in Chester is closing, due to the price constraints of its suppliers. Their 
Frodsham branch closed some months ago. A dedicated zero-waste shop sells a range of dried goods 
(flour, pasta, pulses etc) as well as cleaning products, shampoos, and other sustainable items. 
Some also sell things like oat milk, honey and peanut butter. Customers take in their own 
containers and re-fill these in the shop All this helps to reduce plastic waste and the carbon 
footprint of transporting ready packaged goods.

We know that there are a number of other shops around which, although they could not be classed as 
‘zero-waste’ offer a small range of ‘re-fill’ opportunities. We would like to build up a list of 
such shops in the area covered by the Circuit. If you know of any such, could you send the 
information to the Wesley or Circuit office. An example of what is needed is given below. Many 
Name and type of shop       Location              Range of refill products Ex-squeeze-me, 
Greengrocer    Handbridge, Chester       Dried fruits, nuts, grains,
small range of spices

We are fast approaching April 22ⁿᵈ, which is Earth Day. Earth Day is 50 years old this year, and 
over the years, some significant environmental agreements have been signed on this day. The theme 
for this year is ‘Invest in our Planet’ which we can do in many different ways as we choose the 
products we buy, and think about their impact on the environment. If you are in Chester, there is a 
Sustainability Fair at the Carriage Shed (by Chester Station) on Earth Day. (More details at Find out what else is 
happening in your locality. Events like the Sustainability Fair are an opportunity to find out 
about local manufacturers and suppliers who support eco principles, as well as to meet others who 
are committed to sustainability.
Let’s also try to think of every day as an Earth Day, and not just one day of the year. The earth 
our help.

Although it seems a little reluctant, summer is on its way, and perhaps we are going through the
wardrobe and thinking about some new summer clothes. Before we purchas anything new, let’s stop and 
think about the large amounts of perfectly usable clothes which end up in landfill each year. We 
also need to think about the sustainability or otherwise, of the fabrics from which many clothes 
are made as well as the carbon footprint of transportation of goods across the world.
So in looking at our wardrobes, the first thing may be to take a fresh look at different items 
which would work together, to give a new effect. Maybe there are also some items where a little
alteration would lead to a better fit. There are now many online sites for finding ‘pre-loved’ 
clothes, or for disposing of our own. And of course, charity shops can be a real way of giving 
clothes a new lease of life, as well as helping the charities concerned.

A number of High St stores are now encouraging the recycling of clothes, for example John Lewis 
(see and
M and S ( ).

Let’s see how our wardrobes can help the planet

Coronation Week
As we approach the coming weekend, we may be thinking about planning a special meal. We are all 
familiar with Coronation Chicken, which was created for the late Queen’s coronation in 1953. It is 
good to see that this time, the special dish is vegetarian. The recipe for Coronation Quiche can be 
found at If you want a vegan dish, try 
Coronation Chickpea. Here is the recipe:
Coronation chickpea
A can of chickpeas drained and rinsed 2tbsp vegan mayo
2 tsp mango chutney
1 tsp mild curry powder (optional) fresh coriander
salt & pepper

Roughly mash the chickpeas, add all the other ingredients, mix well. Refrigerate for an hour.
[adapted from “Five Ingredient Vegan” by Katy Beskow]

To mark the coronation of a monarch who has long been committed to environmental causes, let’s make 
sure that we try to avoid ‘disposables’ and certainly plastic products, at any events we are 
involved with.

To help our planet it is important to maintain and increase biodiversity and to encourage 
pollinating insects. One way of doing this is by sowing wild flowers. If you have a garden, try 
giving over a patch (however small) as a wildflower area. Or you, along with neighbours ,could talk 
to the council or the relevant landowner about planting on any open land in your locality. See Our 
guide to growing wildflowers at home | WWF for advice on how and what to sow.

Washing up is a job which we all have to do, and few of us enjoy. It is also an activity which can 
use a lot of water and energy if we are not careful. If we have a dishwasher, it has been 
calculated that it is more energy efficient to use this than to do the equivalent amount of washing 
by hand, although calculations depend on the machine being full and well stacked, and being an 
energy efficient model. Washing up by hand can be made less wasteful of water and energy by 
following the simple steps which are set out in the blog below. This comes from Smol, who are 
manufacturers of eco-friendly cleaning products,, but other products are of course available. The 
same principles would apply, whatever product is being used. Have a look at this blog: and while you are there, look at
some of their other suggestions

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