Recycling helps to save some of the materials that are thrown away. However, manufacturing products and transporting them to where they are sold uses a significant amount of energy, as does collecting them from residents and recycling them into new products.
If we are able to reduce the amount of waste we produce, we will make a significant positive environmental impact.
There are simple actions we can take to both reduce the amount of waste we produce and save money.
Buy only what you need
- When you are thinking of buying something new, ask yourself if you really genuinely need it
- The best way to reduce waste is not to produce it in the first place, so try to resist the urge to go shopping when you don't actually need anything
Avoid single-use items
- For devices which need batteries, switch to rechargeable ones
- Drink tap water from your own bottle rather than buying bottled water (read more about the Refill Mole Valley scheme, which allows you to fill your water bottle up for free within the district).
- Where possible, use your own cup for takeaway coffees rather than a single-use cup
- Take reusable bags with you when out shopping
- Use alternative methods to pod coffee machines for coffee at home
Choose products without, or with less packaging
- Shop in Zero-waste stores, such as Eco Be in Dorking and the Greenwise shops in Ashtead and Fetcham
- Buy loose produce where possible, and use reusable fruit & veg bags
- Many products can be bought in small or large packets. Opt for the larger ones whenever possible – you are likely to save money as well as producing less packaging waste
- Avoid products with unnecessary 'gift' packaging
Choose products made from recycled material
If more products made from recycled material are purchased, it will strengthen the markets for materials collected in your local recycling schemes and encourage retail stores to stock more recycled products. Buy recycled and close the recycling loop!
Reduce the distance - keep it local
- Whatever you do purchase, always consider how far it has travelled to reach you. Where possible, opt for products which have originated from the UK
- Where possible, opt for locally produced items to support your local economy whilst reducing the carbon impact of what you buy
- The Mole Valley Together website is a great source of information on local shopping in the Mole Valley
- Check out our Food page for further tips on sourcing local produce
Buy and donate second hand items
- When you need clothing, consider buying second hand, e.g. from charity shops (which are great for other items too) and Pre-loved vintage clothing pop-up events
- Check out sites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Re-Fashion if you prefer to shop online for clothing and other used items
- For home and garden items like furniture, sporting equipment or toys, see what you can find in one of Surrey's five Revive re-use shops
- If you decide that you no longer need an item, always consider whether it could be used by another person, rather than being thrown away. There are lots of ways to do this, such as donating to Charity and Revive shops, Surrey Reuse Network (for furniture and appliances) or using online sites such as Freecycle and Gumtree
The lifetime of items such as clothing can often be extended through a bit of repair work.
- Get in touch with your nearest Repair Café to see if someone local to you has the skills to help. Surrey repair shop locations include Dorking, Guildford and Reigate
- Tailors and some dry cleaning firms can repair or alter clothes for you
- The Love Your Clothes website is packed with tips on how to care for and repair clothes, plus advice on how to choose clothing that will last, and what to do with unwanted items
Upcycling is a great way to refashion or repurpose items you might have otherwise thrown out, or to enhance the look of purchased second hand items, such as furniture.