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Published on September 17th, 2010 | by Guest Contributor


Every Little Bit Helps

So you think that nothing you can do will make a difference to the global picture? That your voice is too small to be heard? Well, here’s an example to show otherwise.

Assume, if you will, that there are 40,000,000 people in the UK with teeth. Not an unreasonable assumption, I think you will agree. Now, assume again that all 40,000,000 of them brush these teeth of theirs twice every day, and that this leads to them consuming a tube of toothpaste every three months. That’s four tubes a year. Now, if I may impose on you once more, assume that each of these toothy types is a bit lazy at squeezing the dregs from the toothpaste tube, so that they throw away one day’s toothpaste in every tube. This, I think, is a big underestimation: I, for example, squeeze out every last atom in a slightly neurotic frenzy, whereas my wife bins the thing as soon as she has to make any sort of effort at all, which is usually when it is still half full.


courtesy stock.xchng, garytamin

So. One day of toothpaste four times a year leads to four days of wasted toothpaste per person (with teeth) per year. This adds up to 160,000,000 wasted days of toothpaste per year in the UK. At 90 days of toothpaste per tube, this leads to almost 180,000 extra tubes of toothpaste being consumed every year. That’s enough to last one person for 45,000 years!

If we all squeezed just one more day’s worth of toothpaste from the tube, think of the amount of plastic, cardboard, manufacturing, diesel (taking the stuff to the shops) and landfill space we could save. Such a huge difference from us all doing something so incredibly simple, taking almost no effort or time to accomplish and costing us nothing.

If we all put even a small effort in every year, the sky would be the limit; which is lucky, since that is where much of the problem lies.

In a similar vane, we could make a huge difference to the developing nations if we all gave a minute fraction of our income to charity. Supposing that everyone in the developed world gave just one dollar a month to charities helping the environment or the seriously poor, it would raise $1,200,000,000 every month. That would be almost $15 billion each and every year to improve people’s lifestyles and reduce their impact on the environment.

For each of us donating it would be the equivalent of giving a few lumps of chocolate or a dribble of beer, which over a month would be totally unnoticeable. But for those spending it, there would be a torrent of cash which would go a long way to improving the whole planet for all its occupants.


Angus Middleton grew up in a small village in Kent, where his parents lived a semi self-sufficient lifestyle. With a degree in Geophysics and a Master’s at LEEDS, he spent time working as an environmental consultant before founding Ecoboom in 2009. Angus started Ecoboom to help people in the UK improve their lifestyles through becoming more eco. Ecoboom aims to bring together all the disparate eco resources on the web, empowering both the providers and users of these resources. Angus believes that unity is vital to achieve a smooth transition to a low carbon world: united we stand, divided we fall! Connect with Angus on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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2 Responses to Every Little Bit Helps

  1. Angus, that is some brilliant logic! I love you Brits! You're so sensible.

    Fantastic post. Please keep them coming.

    By the way, where can I get a kilt like that? My wife wants to see more of my legs.

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