Modern technology has given us some amazing materials. Even with limited spare time we have the hands-on power to make major changes to our own homes – but sometimes this freedom comes at a price. We have easy access to a whole host of powerful and poisonous chemicals, and can casually purchase wood plundered from irreplaceable forests, or metals that cost the Earth in terms of energy and mining impacts. Existing legislation doesn’t stop these products from reaching our shops, so it’s down to us as individuals to inform ourselves and try to reduce the impact of our own purchases. The rules of thumb are the same as in any green decision – use only what you really need; reuse existing materials; source any new materials from sustainable resources; avoid toxic chemicals and paints, where possible: if they’re essential to what you’re doing, be careful when choosing, using and disposing of them.

Greener DIY is becoming easier as the range of green DIY products available is expanding and green DIY suppliers offer not only a good range of products but also advice and information on the products and their use.