No-one is perfect and extra green ideas and tips for sharing

This week's blog is all about you, with thanks for all the comments, responses and ideas that you send me.

No-one is Perfect
People have said things such as "I love your blog, but I can't do it all." You don't have to!  If all of us can make some changes in the right direction, this would help.  None of us are perfect, some are very green in some areas, but not in others. It's all a learning curve too, we can only go from where we are today.  In my 'Almost Zero Waste' talks, I say 'that if one person takes one idea and implements it, the world will be a better place.'  Be kind to yourself, especially if you are fairly new to greener ideas, most of us can look back and think 'oh dear, I used to do that!'

Here are some of your questions answered

Regarding the toothpaste, (the recipe is at the bottom of the bathroom blog).  I've suggested that if people want to try it, perhaps they use it once a day alongside their usual toothpaste, to see if they like it as it is a bit different to the conventional type and can take some getting used to.

Broken china 
Use this in the bottom of flowerpots or take it to the local recycle centre next time you're passing, (preferably with some other things too).  These vary so look up your local centre for their list (it will often include: wood, garden waste, white goods, scrap metal, broken crockery, electrical waste, glasses, books, material, clothing, oils, light bulbs, batteries etc etc.) Here's a link to the Gloucestershire household recycling centres.

Shoe Recycling
Most of us know that you can recycle unwanted shoes which can be given to others, but the good news is that you can also recycle your old shoes, the very worn, not good enough for others type, as some of the materials can still be recycled. Hurrah!

Alternatives to freezer bags
Someone told me recently that you can use tins (biscuit tins etc) and although this may seem a little strange, the low temperature does not affect the contents and they will not rust.  You can also use tupperware, or if you have them,  having opened carefully, wash out and dry any plastic bags (previously containing bread / bananas / carrots / potatoes etc) and at least reuse the bags (tie with a clip or peg).

Here are some ideas that you have sent me in reply to the blogs

Weather watching
I mentioned checking the weather if you're going for a walk, but of course it's also a good idea to see which days are going to best for getting your washing dry outside.  Turn it over halfway through the day if you're able, (not necessary in summer). By the way, sadly this is not my back garden.

Vegetable Water
Someone said that they boil their vegetables, then save the water and add it to soups and stews. There isn't much water with steaming, but I have started doing this anyway and put it in a small jug in the fridge to use with the next meal.

There was a surplus this year and two or three local places (in Gloucestershire) had apple pulping days, where you could take your excess apples and they would juice them for you.  Look out for these another time if you could use them.

Someone else sent a report having counted (and been astonished by) all the items in their house on standby.  Then they switched some of them off at the wall.

Wrapping paper
Wrapping paper can of course be as simple as using newspaper.  Vintage newspapers are even better!

Baby Wipes
In addition to reusable nappies, you can also buy washable baby wipes, or make your own from soft scraps of material.

Christmas Presents
I love this one "We did give up exchanging presents within my family a few years ago and we love each other just as much."

Swap plastic for paper 
"Your prompts have had me ordering my own stock of brown paper bags to avoid pesky plastic."

Plastic straws
When ordering drinks in pubs, restaurants and cafés, ask them not to give you any straws.  It may seem like one small thing, but consider some scary stats here at the last plastic straw.  They say that in America alone, 500 million straws are used and discarded every day - that's 175 billion a year for landfill or the sea. If you or a family member does need to use a straw, you can buy compostable or metal straws.

Other things
It's wonderful to hear that some of you are now litter picking, using the Repair Café, saying hello to passers by, switching your ketchup brand, foraging, using homemade toothpaste and / or trying a woodland walk.

Hair washing
Two people have told me that they no longer wash their hair with any kind of shampoo.  Both say that they have stopped going grey and their natural hair colour has / is returning!  Now I've tried not washing my hair before twice and failed miserably. After three days my naturally oily hair doesn't look very pleasant and after two weeks (the longest I managed) it was for want of a better word, simply rank. Apparently you have to keep going for six weeks before the natural oils in your hair take over, so for my Green New Year Resolution, I am considering getting a scarf and giving it another go.  Thank you for all your feedback and ideas, I love the fact that we can all share the learning curve together.  And finally, please be kind if you see me wearing a head scarf in January!