Leading article: Save the Earth

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The Independent Online

Saving the planet can sometimes seem a rather expensive business. Anyone who believes that leaving the car at home and opting to take an environmentally friendly train journey will save them money has clearly not spent much time on the British railway system. And try buying all your groceries from the organic section of the supermarket. Your bank manager is unlikely to thank you for it. So it is gratifying to see two new green campaigns being launched that would be a little easier on the wallet.

Take nappies. Some 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away every day in the UK. And 90 per cent of those end up in landfill sites. But if parents opted for cheaper, washable nappies instead (the liner can be disposed of and the nappy cleaned and used again) there would be a great deal less to throw away. That is why local councils up and down the land are supporting them.

And consider bottled water. It not only costs thousands of times more than tap water - but results in millions of plastic and glass bottles that must be disposed of. As a result of our lamentable record of recycling, most of them will (like the dreaded nappies) end up crammed into landfill sites. And let us not forget that the bottled water industry produces massive carbon emissions as it transports its wares hundreds of miles around the country.

If we all decided to drink tap water and shunned disposable nappies it would not only benefit the environment, but would also save us serious cash each year. Perhaps the Americans were on to something when they made green the colour of money.