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The scale of the challenge

Consumption-based emissions include greenhouse gases emitted during the production of food, clothes and textiles, as well as emissions from building infrastructure, aviation, private transport manufacturing, and the production of electronic equipment and household appliances. 

Aether estimated that consumption-based emissions in Merton are double the borough’s direct emissions (i.e. emissions from energy use and transport in the borough). Reducing our consumption-based emissions and building a circular economy will therefore be an important part of getting to net-zero carbon. 

What we are doing

Please see Workstream 1 of our resident summary report, for everything we are doing to encourage sustainable consumption and the growth of a low carbon economy in Merton. 

Subscribe to our climate action newsletter,  if you would like to receive information  about community climate action events, grant funding opportunities, local campaigns and much more 

What you can do

Step 1 - Choose products and services which are low carbon and sustainable, and reduce waste

There are carbon emissions associated with the production, transportation and disposal of everything we buy. You can reduce your carbon footprint by keeping those resources in use for longer and reducing the amount of waste you generate.

  • Say no to single use items and re-use.
  • Care and repair for the things you buy to make them last longer.
  • For one off or short term projects, consider renting things through Morden's Library of Things.
  • When you do generate waste, recycle all you can at home and on-the-go.
  • Pass on unwanted items to friends and family, through swap events or via charity shops.
  • Become a Waste Warrior, and check out Sustainable Merton's other waste campaigns for more ideas of how you can help.

It takes a lot of energy and water to produce, package and transport the food we buy. Making a change to our diets is one of the simplest and most effective ways to decrease our individual carbon footprints. It can also save us money and improve our health and wellbeing.

  • Eat more plants and less meat and dairy - moving from a high-meat diet to a low-meat diet could reduce your dietary emissions by 35%.
  • Eat seasonally and locally – look at the labels to find out where your food has come from, and how far it has travelled. Check out Abundance Wimbledon to find out how you can access local fruit. Eat Seasonably have a helpful guide to UK produce.
  • Grow your own food – you can find out more about community gardening in Merton here and more information on getting an allotment here.
  • Reduce food waste by planning and shopping smart, and storing food properly – You can find lots of tips at Love Food Hate Waste and #FoodSavvy. As well as saving carbon, reducing food waste can save you money. If you do have excess food, consider donating to Merton's community fridge or your local food bank. If it's past the point of being shared, make sure you compost.
  • Check out Sustainable Merton's food campaigns for more ideas of how you can help.

11 million items of clothing go to landfill in the UK every week. Check out the LoveNotLandfill website for ideas on how you can reduce your fashion footprint.

  • Buy fewer, better quality clothes that you love.
  • Re-use and repair your clothes – you can make clothes last longer by washing them with care and making small repairs. Visit the The Wheel to get involved in upcoming repair cafes.
  • Visit The Preloved Studio at Canons House and Grounds in Mitcham for free workshops and drop-in sessions to upcycle and repair textiles.
  • Share or swap your clothes – if your clothes are still wearable, give them to a charity shop or swap them at a clothes exchange event, like Swop it Up
  • Rent clothes – if you need an item of clothing for a one off event or for the short term, consider renting it.
  • Recycle – if your clothes have reached the end of their life, don't put them in with your general waste. Look up your collection days to find out if you have a textiles collection: it will be listed as a separate service. If you do, put textiles and shoes in one tied plastic carrier bag beside or on top of your bins or boxes. Otherwise, take them to a textile bank so that they can be recycled.

Plastic pollution has lasting impacts on the environment. Check out Sustainable Merton's #PlasticFreeMerton campaign for ideas on how you can help.

  • Carry reusable shopping bags
  • Say no to flimsy plastic produce bags – use a reusable net bag to buy loose fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid plastic-wrapped fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid bottled water – drink tap water and carry a refillable bottle when out. Find out more about Refill Merton here.
  • Use re-usable cups when you're on-the-go.
  • Try local markets or zero waste shops
  • Recycle whenever you can – find out more about what you can recycle.

Step 2 – Take action, get involved

Get involved in the Climate Action Group, or join one of the many community-driven climate projects which are happening in the borough. You can check out what Sustainable Merton are up to and become one of their Community Champions. You can also find out more about voluntary services in Merton.

Bid for Funding - If you are part of a group who have great ideas for local climate projects, why not consider bidding for the next round of the council’s Community Climate Action Fund? The next round is due to open in Autumn 2024, but we recommend that residents and local organisations start developing their proposals as early as possible. See the 2023 bidding page.