Save the planet?  I made a start... with a pound of the finest pink leather

Lauren Booth

Lauren Booth

Time to take out winter boots from the attic.

And what do I find among the tights from last year (still with holes in) and a thousand single gloves?

An expensive pair of boots, bought in New York for my daughter Alex. Boots good enough to be handed down to my youngest, Holly.

Except one of the zips was broken. 

Landfill site

What a tip: That's why Lauren's old boots didn't end up in a landfill site

Just a missing tooth but enough to make me head to the kitchen bin, open it and then stand there, boots in hand, wondering ‘what on earth are you doing?’.

And there it was. In that single everyday action the seas rose, the globe warmed and this, our green and pleasant land, was transformed into a giant rubbish tip.

Instead of getting the boots mended, my first instinct was to throw away about a pound of fine pink leather for the want of a millimetre of plastic.

I was reminded of that Benjamin Franklin quote about ‘the want of nail’ in a horseshoe, leading to the rider’s demise.

Holding those boots and considering my options, I thought back to the day that I stopped going to the library and started buying books.

I had just left drama school, got a job as a waitress (natch) and to boost my self-esteem, decided to ‘invest’ my tips on plays and poetry books. A waste of trees, shelf space and money.

Pinter’s entire works are still gathering dust in my hallway.

A report by the Government agency in charge of cutting waste, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), highlighted that about a third of all products that are thrown away are still working. In other words, binned for not being trendy enough.

Earlier this year, I had the dispiriting experience of having a tractor mower refuse to start.

Now it languishes in a local garage. Cost to repair? £500. So, I rang a local farmer who, it turns out, is happy to cut my grass for a mere £18 a month.

Of course, I won’t own either the farmer or his tractor at the end of two years. But when either of them breaks down, nor will that be my problem.

The maths of our wastefulness isn’t complex. By hiring things instead, fewer goods are manufactured and thrown in landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The WRAP study (sorry, just love that acronym) also said that £148billion of the £732billion spent every year by households could be spent on services rather than goods.

However, Doretta Cocks, of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection, said it was not up to the Government to turn Britain from a ‘throwaway society’ into a ‘hire society’.

‘To hire a dress is more expensive than buying one, so people won’t do this,’ she said.

‘We are a throwaway society because it costs more to mend things than buy things, but we do not need to be told by Government to change our lifestyle.’

I’m afraid Ms Cocks sounds a rather petty type, the emotional cousin of those American oil barons who, whenever environmental targets are put to the industry, squeal: ‘What about China?’

Come, come Ms Cocks, haven’t we taken the easy (which turned out to be the hard) option for long enough concerning our household waste?

Yes it would be lovely if we could all afford to wear disposable clothes and single-wear shoes. And clean our homes with wet wipes and have more packaging on children’s toys.

Lovely, too, if the Government would tidy it all up on a daily basis for us. But it ain’t possible, nor is it morally right to be so darned wasteful.

So what of the boots, I hear you ask?

Did I weaken and buy a pair of cheap replacements, made in China by young hands, imported here at a heavy carbon cost and brought home in a cardboard box inside a plastic bag, both of which I then threw away?

Oddly enough, I went to the cobblers instead. £15, as good as new.

You win, Trudie. Sting’s yours – old cardy and all

It was never her fault that she married my ideal man. But for almost 20 years, I’ve been guilty of really catty thoughts about Trudie Styler.

From relishing reports of her duchess-like manner, to magazine articles about her ‘fashion faux pas’, nothing was too petty to make me smile.

Now, I’d like to make a public apology to Mrs Sting, for my childish wish that her husband would grow to hate her, spot me on telly, send me a text get the idea. 

Call the style Police: Sting looking positively Primark with wife Trudie Styler

Call the style Police: Sting looking positively Primark with wife Trudie Styler

What’s changed? Well, this week, photos appeared of her and my fantasy partner looking positively Primark after an evening boozing in a Mayfair pub, above.

Seeing Sting holding on to her, in his old fave cardy, while Trudie giggled,

all Bet Lynch earrings, has made me realise it’s time to let Sting go.

If the talented, slender and successful Ms Styler can do late-night lock-ins

and grungy clothes too (my personal specialities), then I have nothing to fight her with. Trudie, you win.

In town squares across France, schoolchildren will be attending the ‘Ceremonie du 11 Novembre’ and there are few eight-year-olds who won’t know its significance.

Compare this with the UK, where a study found that 40 per cent of children surveyed didn’t know that Remembrance Day falls on November 11 while 12 per cent believed the symbol of Armistice Day to be the McDonald’s yellow arches, not the poppy.

Continental Europe lives and breathes the atrocities of its world wars because its nations were invaded and occupied.

We never were. Our forebears’ reward for their victories is our nation’s ignorance.


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