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Janey Lee Grace: The Wombles had the right idea

PUBLISHED: 14:16 24 July 2010 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2013

Hertfordshire Life columnist and Radio Two presenter Janey Lee Grace shares her suggestions for cutting back on waste

'QUITE frankly I'd rather eat bark' was my reply to a text message invitation recently. Don't worry I'm not trying to suggest we all increase the fibre in our diets or take tree hugging rather too far, but it was my rather ungrateful response to an invitation to the Wimbledon finals last month. I was hired to present a programme on Radio 5 and at the eleventh hour it was decided to make the programme live from the tennis finals, the producer texted to say - 'great news - we've got accreditation for you so you can stay after the show and watch the tennis!'

Poor girl getting my reply, she must surely have picked the only journalist who isn't a tennis fan. I must admit I enjoyed the experience though, sunshine and strawberries and a whole host of good looking ball boys went some way to changing my mind, and of course travelling to Wimbledon I was duly reminded of a certain song for which I think we still hold Mike Batt accountable.

He will always be remembered for the unforgettable 'Wombles of Wimbledon Common'. Boy, were they ahead of their time. Those furry little creatures certainly had the whole 'reduce, reuse, recycle' thing down to a tee, 'making good use of the things that we find - things that the everyday folk leave behind', a principle that's certainly close to my heart.
Unlike the Wombles, and being somewhat imperfect myself, I probably score a lighter shade of 'lime' on the 'green' scale, but I really do try hard in the reduction of waste department. Fortunately I do love a bargain and I enjoy the idea of re-using what might otherwise have been 'left behind'.

I was thrilled to visit one of Hertfordshire's many craft markets and find a stall selling the most fabulous brightly coloured recycled jewellery. Great idea for the kids I thought so we rifled through our 'muddly drawer', without which no kitchen would be complete, full of coins, bits of ribbon and string, all manner of odd buttons and treasures. We added a few bits of fabric, grabbed some shells still in the pocket of the waterproof I wore last year on holiday, and lo and behold fashioned a totally original piece of recycled tat - I mean 'jewellery'.

When it comes to household paraphernalia, remember 'one man's junk is another man's treasure' so find a good home for unwanted items, saving them from landfill. ebay it of course, but also think of a global organisation but with lots of local groups - there are at least 12 in Herts. Members post details of items to give away and you post a message back saying 'yes please', then you go and collect it. Fantastic! Another new nationwide site launching soon is - a kind of free version of eBay.

Finally, remember your creativity. Some fabulous art comes from junk, perhaps it could be you winning the next Turner Prize for your installation - an innovative 'Womble-esque' use of 'everyday things'. To assist with inspiration check out and please do email or write to me with your suggestions and tips for the most innovative reuse of everyday items.


Article taken from August issue oif Hertfordshire Life


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