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5 IN 5

There are literally dozens of things you can do which take 5 seconds or less and which will help save our planet

These downloadable tip sheets are for you to use in whichever way is useful for you. We put up a new one on the 1st of every month!

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The Holiday Edition

It’s December and the season to be jolly whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or just the joys of winter. There are some really easy things you can do to reduce your footprint and still enjoy.

The sparkly wrapping paper believed by so many is a composite of synthetic inks, plastic film, chlorine and metal-based foils and glitters. None of these materials are recyclable. There is also a bit of tree. The US World Resources Institute analysed the fibre of 32 consumer paper products, including wrapping papers, and found fibres from some of the most endangered trees in three of them. If you want to use paper, make sure it’s recycled and recyclable, but remember that there are three points of environmental impact: the harvesting of the trees, processing of wood fibre into pulp, and disposal of the product. Plus recycling is not quite the win it might seem – in most authorities its collection and processing puts extra pressure on MRFs (Materials Recycling Facilities) and it has little recoverable value.

There are other ways to wrap gifts: old maps, brown butcher’s paper potato-stamped with designs, natural fabric wrappings - you’re only limited b your imagination.


The Tree Edition

On average, motorway services (rest stops) across the UK get around 2 million visitor per day. Let's assume that only half of them buy from the food vendors there. That's 1 million people per day. Now let's assume that each buyer grabs a handful of 5 napkins (a very modest assumption) even though they only need one. That equals 20,000 trees a day needlessly cut down.

Here are some other 5-seconds-or-less things you can do:
+ print on both sides of paper
+ buy recycled paper
+ use scrap paper for making notes rather than a virgin sheet

Easy, no?

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The Desert Edition

Why should I care about deserts and desertification? Isn't it something that's happening in some faraway place that I'll never see? The short answer is no. It happening in places like Spain, Portugal, Russia and China. Around 40% of the continental US is at risk. You care about desertification because it reduces the amount of arable land on which we can grow our food, it reduces air quality and it destroys precious water sources.

You can easily help prevent it, in less than the time it takes you to read these two paragraphs. You can find ideas in our latest 5in5 tip sheet by clicking on the button below. If you have a few more seconds, donate to an organisation that prevents deforestation and/or plants trees - tree roots are masters of storing water and preventing erosion.


The Water Edition

Did you know that turning off the water while you're brushing your teeth can make a huge difference? You could save up to 8 gallons of water a day. If, like me, you live in a mid-sized town of 220,000 people you would all be saving 1.76 million gallons of water. Every. Single. Day. That's the equivalent of 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Or 32 million cups of tea (or large glasses of wine, if you prefer). Or 14 million pints of beer. Really.

Every. Single. Day.

It feels like we're surrounded by water everywhere so it's hard to see why we're constantly told to save water. The thing is, only 1% of water on the planet is clean enough to use for human consumption. And a huge amount of energy goes into cleaning it and getting it to our homes.


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The Air Edition

Most of our recommendations are good for the planet and for you too. Sometimes we're trying to save you money or time. But sometimes we're looking out for something even more important. Did you know that using latex paint is better for your health and our planet than oil-based because it contains fewer hazardous ingredients? But remember, they do still contain toxins so don't pour them down the drain. 

If you really want to save the planet, and you can afford to push the boat out a little, check out these eco-friendly paint

Did you know that overfilling you petrol (gas) tank can cause liquid gas to enter the carbon filter, which is designed only for vapour? It affects your car's performance by causing it to run poorly, damaging the engine and the environment.

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The Ocean Edition

Yay! It's summer (it's July 4th as I'm writing this), the sun is out and many of us are heading out to the beach. Did you know that the sunscreen you use can destroy our oceans? Around 25% of the sunscreen you wear ends up in the oceans, where it kills beautiful, delicate corals and other marine life. You can read all about it in Vogue Magazine, in The Independent, and on the Green People blog.

If doing the research to find a good, planet-friendly sunscreen feels too hard (we're melting in the heat here!) there are even easier things you can do to protect our beaches and oceans, like cleaning up after your dogs. You can pick up some tips from our latest 5in5 sheet by clicking on the button below.


The Home Edition

We've spent a lot of time outdoors with 5in5 so in this edition we're bringing it back indoors. Did you know that animal testing still goes on in the cosmetics industry, even though it's no longer necessary? The companies that carry out this testing do so to comply with regulations that still exist in one major market in Asia: China. There are dozens of cosmetics manufacturers that put animal welfare above sales, and still do well for themselves and their shareholders. If you want to know if your beauty brand is cruelty-free check out Cruelty Free Kitty.

Other simple things? Put your computer in sleep mode and turn off your monitor. I know it's a pain to shut your computer down altogether - it takes forever to start up again - but putting it in sleep mode and turning off the monitor is the next best thing.


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The Three Rs Edition

We traditionally talk about the 3 “R”s of sustainability: Reduce how much you buy and use, Reuse whatever can be reused rather than just throwing things away and Recycle whatever can be recycled. Lloyd Alter at offers us 7 Rs:

  • Reduce: Just use less.

  • Return: Producers should take back what they sell. 

  • Reuse: Almost boring, but we throw too much stuff out too soon.

  • Repair: Fix and mend things rather than replacing them.

  • Refill: In Ontario Canada, 88% of beer bottles are returned to the beer store, washed and refilled; just south of the border in the USA, the number drops to under 5%.

  • Rot: Compost what is left over, turning it into valuable nutrients.

  • Refuse: Simply refuse to accept this crap from the manufacturers any more.

The Autumn Edition

The days are getting shorter and colder and the temptation to turn the heating to full blast is starting to creep in. Resist the feeling of wanting to turn your home into a tropical haven and keep the thermostat at a comfortable but sensible temperature. Why not take a leaf out of the Danish book of Hygge, make your home a warm nest and pull out the soft, cozy sweaters. There are numerous websites and books on the subject. For tips on clothing that will not only keep you warm but help you feel relaxes and happy try The rest of the site has lots of other lovely ideas that we’re going to try out in Thurmanovich central.

Easy, no?