This is my 4th year taking part in the Earth Hour, a global event aimed at raising awareness about sustainability issues.  This year, I have decided to write a daily post during the month leading to the event in order to share some thoughts about the environment and give tips the little changes we can make in our daily lives.  There will also be some guest posts by fellow bloggers who will share their own views on a topic related to the environment.  You can read my introductory post here and access the Earth Hour website here.

I encourage you to comment and share your own tips, ideas and experience.  In the last couple of days before the event I will do a few posts about what readers had to say.  I believe we can learn a lot by sharing!

In one of her comments, Zhu mentions how difficult it is to be eco-friendly with all the packaging accompanying any bought product in North America.  I think that, unfortunately, this problem is not limited to North America.  The amount of waste we get only from packaging is ridiculous and some strict regulations should really be put into place about that.  Moreover, not every country/county offers the same facilities for recycling, but we should still do our best to recycle as much as possible.

First of all, try to find out what packages are recyclable and boycott as much as possible the ones that are not.  You recognise these packaging by their little logo with arrows.  Some even explain which part of the package is recyclable and which is not.

Then, do a thorough selection; it might involve regular trips to recycling points, but if you are well-organised it gets easier.  In Ireland, we are lucky enough because we have recycling bins.  In Waterford, there used to be one for all recyclable packaging, one for compost and a normal one.  I had to put tags on the bins and the ones for the recycling bins were a lot cheaper, thus encouraging the process.  On the down side, a lot of people used to abandon their bags of rubbish in he countryside.  Here, I pay a set fee, but do not have a bin for organic waste; however, I have one for bottles, which is quite handy.

As I have a garden, I have built my own composter.  It is not the best one, but it works pretty well.  I have a little box in the kitchen to collect the waste and I empty it regularly.  The composter is divided into two parts so I alternate every year.  It also saves me from buying a few bags of compost from the garden centre!

Other things that can be recycled but will often require a trip to some recycling points are batteries, ink cartridges (once you have refilled them a few times with those little sets they now sell in supermarkets) and eco-bulbs.  Many schools and universities will have such recycling points, but you can also bring them back to the stationery and DIY store and they should take them for you.

I am still amazed that many people who have the option to recycle do not do so.  However, I find even more annoying the fact that so much packaging is still allowed and I will come back to that at some stage.

If like me you print many documents, print on both side of the sheet.  And rather than throwing away that useless correspondence you receive on a daily basis, use it as rough paper (at least letters from the bank will find a good use!).