How can I help tackle climate change?

Things we buy and use

More people than ever are ditching single use items in favour of environmentally friendly alternatives. We’ve collected examples of things people across the borough do or use to be mindful when buying things:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle and a cup for hot drinks - some coffee shops even offer a discount if you bring your own cup
  • Keep a reusable bag with you all the time, this is useful not just for groceries but other items while out and about
  • In general, most single-use items have alternatives; bamboo or metal straws instead of plastic ones, bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, lids or beeswax wrap instead of clingfilm, reusable fabric bunting or paper decorations for parties instead of balloons and foil decorations, reusable plates and cups for events (these can also often be rented) rather than plastic lined paper cups (which are very difficult to recycle). Try to avoid styrofoam altogether as it is nearly impossible to recycle.
  • Have you heard of furoshiki? It’s a traditional Japanese way of wrapping presents with reusable fabric - there’s no need for wrapping paper or sellotape and it’s extremely quick and easy. If opting to use paper, make sure that it’s recyclable and tie it with string
  • Find your local zero-waste shop to get some inspiration. Check this helpful zero-waste map for local zero-waste shops
  • Regularly check what can be recycled on the council’s website. Make sure you separate items correctly. For example, make sure there is no plastic (including sellotape!) or other contaminants in the paper recycling, and no food waste or plastic film in the mixed recycling, and make use of the free food waste recycling in brown outside food waste bins. 
  • Make sure you are getting full use of the kerbside collection service and order any missing collection containers online
  • A lot of things that are not collected by us can still be recycled, for example most Co-ops and some other shops now recycle soft plastics (film, fruit and pasta bags, biscuit wrappers, crisp packets etc.), and plastic lined coffee cups can be recycled at most Costa Coffee shops 
  • Sunray Recycle is a local community group that has collection points for other usually non recyclable items, and you can also ask them any recycling questions
  • When you don’t need things, donate them or repurpose them rather than throwing them away. What is waste to you may well be useful or valuable to someone else
  • Upcycling is taking something old or perceived to be waste and refashioning it into something of greater value. So, ask yourself whether the item you are throwing could be salvaged and repurposed, for example rather than buying new wooden furniture, try painting it and adding new handles for a new and modern look. This will save you money too! Check for local Repair Cafes like the one provided by Transition Town Kingston and the Kingston Together Repair Cafe.

Visit our dedicated waste web pages for even more ways to help cut back on waste.

Last Modified: 29/02/2024 12:30:39