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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Refill, Reuse, Repair

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle logo

Credit: iStockphoto

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Yeah, yeah - you've all heard about the 3 R's of eco-friendly living. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I bet you're all pretty good at those things, too. But this month we're going to focus on Reuse, and then take that a bit further with another couple of R's: Refill and Repair.

Most of us send 880 kilograms of waste to landfill each year - apart from landfill's contribution to methane emissions, this is just an enormous waste of the oil, water, electricity, time and effort that went into making those products and packaging in the first place. Ideally, we'd never buy anything we didn't need, or anything with wasteful packaging, but that's not always possible.

So our next line of action is to make sure we don't throw anything out until it's absolutely necessary. Refilling, reusing and repairing used to be a way of life for our grandparents, because it was a necessity. We've become a bit spoiled these days - it's easy and cheap to buy new things as soon as the one we have gets a dent or gets a little dirty. But there's no reason we can't get a little bit clever about making the most of what we've already got.

If you've done the previous G Magazine challenges, you'll have a head start on this. You might already have a refillable water bottle or coffee cup, you might already have started buying refillable bulk food containers during our nude food challenge. Well done!

But let's push ourselves a bit harder this month. Find something new you can change for the better in your household. This week I'm going to do a bit of an audit of my house and see what changes I can make with refilling and repairing, and I'll let you know how that goes. I'd love to know what you're planning on trying: why not leave a comment with some ideas for us all?