Eco Tips

Look out for the eco tips on the Order of Service each week.



1.As well as recycling them you can make Christmas cards into gift tags for next year by using a luggage label as a template and using a hole punch for string or leftover Christmas tape.

2. Buy less stuff and be very selective in what you buy. 

3.Eat more local, seasonal food to reduce the energy needed to grow and transport the food we eat.

4. When possible – buy Fairtrade goods.

5. When possible – buy things built to last.

6. When possible – borrow things rather than buy .

7. When possible buy digital tickets – from anything from cinema and theatre tickets to train or plane tickets.

8. When possible take shorter showers.

9. If you have any spare towels lying around that are past their best you may wish to donate them to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home who have put out an appeal for old towels for wiping down dogs after muddy walks in the winter weather. If you bring them into church Anne Currie or a member of the Eco Team will collect them and pass them on.

10. A new use for your old mascara wands!  You can clean the wand with warm soapy water and post them to:  Pets And Wildlife Service (PAWS) Staffordshire, 4 Norfolk Grove, Great Wyrley,WS6 6JS.  These little wands are able to be upcycled to clean away oil, larvae, fly eggs, mites, infections, mud and other contaminants from wildlife. Works great for medical care and wound treatment.

11.Buy in bulk when you can. One big bag of rice uses less plastic than five smaller ones, so consider purchasing bulk quantities of foods that last a long time (think pasta, cereal, and nuts). Just be sure to store them properly so they don’t go bad before you can use them.

12. Why not grow some of your own veg - this isn’t just a good way to save money, it’s also a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly.  If you don’t have any outside space some vegetables like carrots, kale and lettuce greens grow well inside.

13. Bamboo toothbrushes are a great way to cut down on your daily plastic consumption. They have a biodegradable bamboo handle and BPA-free nylon bristles.

14. One way to cut your food waste is to check your fridge temperature It should be between 0-5C. Food, especially milk, will go off much quicker if it’s warmer.

15. When you shop, look for the FAIRTRADE mark. There are over 4,500
Fairtrade products from coffee and tea to flowers and gold. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. 

16. Consider using a non-peat based compost . Many gardeners don't realise that multi-purpose compost, unless it's labelled 'peat free', contains between about 70 per cent and 100 per cent peat. 

17. Wildflowers are important for our pollinators. They can be grown in a container as well as in the garden. For a container mix a little compost with standard garden soil. Wildflowers do not like too rich a compost – they prefer poor soil with few nutrients.

18. Bubble wrap can be used to protect outdoor container plants from the cold. 

19. To help hydrate our pollinators, fill a bowl with marbles and add water. Marbles give the bees a safe place to land so they can drink without drowning.

20. Keys - like other metals - old unwanted keys can be recycled in the mixed metals recycling facility at most local recycling centres. Note also that some charities accept them specifically the NKF (National Kidney Foundation). 

21. Reuse polystyrene packing chips by lining the bottom of plant pots with them instead of using stones or gravel to improve the drainage.

22. Spread used coffee grounds around areas where you wish to repel ants. Ants are repulsed by the strong smell the brewed coffee grounds put out. 

23. Plastic milk bottle bases make ideal containers for starting your seeds off, whether that's outdoors, in the greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. Carefully cut your plastic milk bottles to the depth you require and drill a few holes in the base for drainage. You can recycle the off cuts. 

24. Shampoo bars are not only more eco-friendly than bottled shampoo, they last longer and are good for your hair.

25. Ready-meals and other convenience foods normally come wrapped in plastic and have a lot of packaging. If you have time why not make a simple dish from scratch. Check out some 5 ingredient recipes at

26. You can water your plants by using  water from anything you boil like eggs or potatoes. This type of boiled water contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that can nourish your garden.

27. If you have small electrical items you don't use or need any more consider donating them to Fresh Start. Fresh Start are running very low on such items and are looking for irons, toasters, kettles, blenders, lamps etc. These can be given to people to help them set up their new home. Please bring any donations to the warehouse at 2224 Ferry Road Drive, Edinburgh EH4 4BR  (Monday to Thursday between 9am and 4pm and on a Friday between 9am and 12pm). Contact for further details.

28. Take a reusable coffee cup with you if you plan to buy takeaway coffee. You can set the cup beside your house-keys so you remember to lift it when you go out. The UK gets through 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, the vast majority of which aren’t recyclable.

29. Avoid creating extra rubbish wherever possible eg: when ordering food, avoid any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc., don't accept "free" promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging. Every little bit of rubbish avoided does make a difference!

30. Meat and dairy, particularly from cows account for around 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, lorries, aeroplanes and ships combined. Why not try to add more grains, pulses or vegetables to your plate instead of meat.

31.To help you eat less meat why not have a Meatless Monday. There are plenty vegetarian or plant-based cookbooks on the market or you can simply look online for some delicious new recipes like cauliflower steaks or beetroot burgers.

32. You can not only recycle plastic carrier bags at large supermarkets, you can also recycle plastic film. eg plastic wrappers from toilet roll and kitchen roll packs, plastic bread bags,plastic freezer bags and plastic wrappers from multipacks of cans and plastic bottles. 

33. If you have a garden, spend some time getting it ready for winter. You can scoop up any fallen leaves and use them to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to you compost pile.

34. Use your slow cooker. As the weather gets cooler cook comfort foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, even lasagne using a slow-cooker instead of the oven. Even though a slow cooker stays on longer (4-6 hours or more), it will still use less energy overall.

35. Reuse old tomato growbags in the greenhouse by replanting with varieties of winter lettuce

36. To buy fairtrade, ethical and sustainable gifts this Christmas don't forget about the One World Shop at the back of St John's Church, Princes Street. 

37. Around 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year
E-cards  are an increasingly popular alternative. They cut your carbon footprint, save trees and save money. 

38.  Glitter is a microplastic making its way into our seas and affecting marine life so best avoided in cards and wrapping paper. However biodegradable glitter is available and is eco friendly. This is a good alternative to traditional glitter for making cards and decorations at home.

39. Remember to take plenty bags for life when you go Christmas shopping to save you having to buy any more.

40. Consider giving more consumable presents.  A lot of the Christmas waste comes from small pointless presents — notably in stockings.


1. A running tap wastes more than 6 litres of water every minute, so turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face.

2. A dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.

3.Try to avoid wasting water from running taps while waiting for hot water. Always use cold water if you don't need hot.

4. Make sure that dishwashers and washing machines are full before you use them, and ensure you always use the most efficient water and energy settings.

5. When buying meat, fish, cheese try to use re-usable containers. Bread bought at a fresh counter can also be wrapped in your own container or reusable food bag. Though difficult, if possible try to avoid buying plastic wrapped foodstuffs.

6. Clean and reuse plastic containers and bags. Try making your own reusable food bags from washable fabric. These are particularly useful for loose fruit and vegetables.









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