Waste reduction and composting

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Find out how we’re helping residents to reduce, reuse and recycle in the borough.

Waste reduction

Every year, Kingston produces a little over 60,000 tonnes of household waste. That’s the equivalent of 30,000 cars or 10,000 elephants.

Producing such a large amount of waste and disposing of it responsibly every year requires a lot of money and causes a significant impact on the environment. Sustainably managing waste is crucial to protecting our planet and limiting the amount of carbon emissions we produce. 

This is why Kingston Council has declared a Climate Emergency and identified Waste Reduction as a key component of our Climate Action Plan.

To reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact, we must manage waste according to the waste hierarchy. 

A scale of ways to get rid of waste, starting with the most preferred environmental option of Reduce, followed by Reuse, Recycle, Energy Recovery, and Disposal as the least preferred environmental option.


The perfect solution to meet our climate goals is simply to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place. This can be achieved by buying less or adopting low or zero-waste habits. 

Reducing waste both lowers the demand for new goods to be made, as well as lowers the amount of items going through the waste process. Both of these help to:

  • conserve natural resources
  • avoids emissions providing cleaner air and natural environments for us to enjoy
  • reduces the financial cost to you and your local community

How to reduce your waste

You can reduce your waste by:

  • buying less by buying better quality goods that last longer 
  • cutting down on packaging waste by choosing products that have less packaging when shopping, such as loose fruits and vegetables, or buy a veg box
  • buying less online to reduce the amount of packaging you end up with
  • reducing unwanted junk mail by registering with the Mailing Preference Service to have your name removed from direct mailing lists
  • plan your meals in advance to prevent any food going to waste
  • repair goods rather than simply buying new ones
  • try to upcycle broken items into new ones
  • share items with neighbours and family members to save money on buying infrequently used items 

Tools to help you reduce waste

To reduce your waste, you can:


Often the items we throw away can be used for other purposes or by other people. Reusing items contributes to a reduction of waste and carbon emissions, as the demand for new products reduces and less waste ends up being processed through the waste streams. 

This not only helps to protect our environment but reduces the overall cost to you as consumers and residents. Donating unwanted items to local charities and second-hand stores also supports your local community and economy.

How to reuse items

You can reuse items by:

  • using plastic takeaway containers to store food and plastic bottles to carry a drink
  • glass jars are great for storing food or household items
  • buying reusable or washable versions of single-use items like nappies, carrier bags, coffee cups or plastic bottles
  • buying things second-hand to save money as well as waste

Tools to help you reuse items

To reuse items, you can:


Kingston is one of the leading boroughs in London for recycling, but there is always room for improvement. 

A 2022 waste composition analysis revealed that 46.8% of our residents’ general waste can be recycled using our home services. A further 22.5% could have been recycled or reused by utilising charitable services, the tip or other local recycling drop-off points. 

Tools to help you recycle

To recycle more, you can:

  • check what to put in your bins for more information on what you can recycle at home
  • check our A-Z of rubbish and recycling for lots of useful information about different waste types and what you can do with them
  • consider buying things which are made with recycled materials to minimise the environmental cost of the things you’re buying

Local recycling sites

In addition to our main recycling centre, there are recycling banks across the borough where you can take a range of items for recycling. These are operated by charitable services and not by us. 

Make sure you only leave items that are accepted by each recycling site. Leaving any items not specified below is classed as fly-tipping and can lead to prosecution and substantial fines.

Textiles and footwear to Green World Recycling

You can find places to donate to Green World Recycling at:

  • Sweety’s News, 1 Mount Pleasant Road, New Malden KT3 3JZ
  • The Earl Betty, 365 W Barnes Lane, New Malden KT3 6JF
  • The Chessington Oak, Moor Lane, Chessington KT9 1HX

Textiles to British Heart Foundation (BHF)

Donate textiles to the BHF at Surbiton Library, Ewell Rd, Surbiton KT6 6AG.

Books at British Heart Foundation (BHF)

Donate books to the BHF at:

  • Kingston Library, Fairfield Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2PS
  • Surbiton Library, Ewell Rd, Surbiton KT6 6AG
  • Old Malden Library, Church Rd, Worcester Park KT4 7RD

Last Modified: 10/01/2024 11:58:38

Environment and waste

Contact us about environment and waste issues.

Address: Guildhall 2
High Street
Kingston upon Thames

Telephone: 020 8547 5002