Do-it-yourself tips...

If you want to do your bit for the planet when DIYing, it can be hard to know where to start, but even the simplest measures will make a difference, especially if we all do them.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 27th October 2012, 5:00 pm

When making home improvements, it’s tempting to rip everything out and start from scratch, but think again – are there things you could keep and renovate instead?

Original features, even if they’re not in mint condition, add value and character. Filler, sandpaper and paint are a DIYer’s best friends and can transform all sorts of things that seem beyond repair.

If you do have to throw things out, recycle everything you can. Some tradespeople seem to have trouble differentiating between rubbish and recyclables, so ask them to sort them, or do it yourself to save a lot of recyclables from going in the bin.

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Local authority tips (and doorstep collections) take all sorts of things these days – including leftover paint, which should never be poured down the plughole. Dulux sponsors Community RePaint, a scheme where you can donate leftover paint for people, communities and charities in need – see

It also helps, as with everything you buy, to go for things that aren’t over-packaged and to choose recycled and recyclable products and packaging whenever possible. Metal, paper, cardboard, wood and glass are generally easier to recycle than plastic, which often can’t be recycled in this country. Did you know that there’s an alternative to plastic paint trays? Go to for award-winning cardboard ones made from recycled waste material.

The issue of packaging is beginning to make an impact on the DIY world. Cuprinol 5 Year Ducksback tins, for example, contain 25 per cent recycled content.

While this is definitely better than nothing, a new product from Dulux makes big strides in the right direction. The Dulux Eco-Pack (from £13.99 for 2.5ltr of Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion, Homebase) is a resealable plastic pouch that contains 70 per cent less plastic than the company’s conventional 2.5ltr paint tins and takes up less storage space.

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly paints, there are lots of different ranges, but you don’t have to buy from specialist retailers and manufacturers, which can be expensive.

Both Crown and Dulux do eco paint ranges, called earthbalance (£18.98 for 2.5ltr, Homebase – the recyclable tin contains 56 per cent recycled steel) and Ecosense (£18.98 for 2.5ltr, B&Q) respectively. B&Q also sells Naturepaint (£17.98 for 2.5ltr), which is made using only natural and non-toxic ingredients.

For wood, metal and priming/undercoating, etc, water-based paints contain fewer harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than solvent-based ones and are much nicer to use.