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Climate change pledges: waste

Throughout 2021 we're encouraging everyone in Merton to join us in the effort to make the borough carbon neutral by taking steps in their day-to-day lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Each month we're focusing on a different theme where we can all play a part in tackling climate change.

The theme for June is: waste

As we start eating, drinking and shopping on the go more with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, it's a good time to think about how we can cut back on waste, and how we can help build a more circular economy* to keep stuff in use for as long as possible at its highest value! This will not only help reduce the amount of waste generated in Merton, but also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transportation, use and disposal of the things we buy and sell.

*You can find out more about the circular economy on the ReLondon website, or by listening to the ReLondon podcast series.

The pledges

I will say no to single use items and plastic packaging – Plastic pollution has lasting impacts on the environment and we all have a role to play in cutting back on plastic. Check out Sustainable Merton's #PlasticFreeMerton Challenge for ideas on the steps you can take, and download the free Refill App to help find locations where you can reuse and refill, like Merton's very own Zero Waste Shop.

I will support the Refill Merton campaign – Residents and businesses can support Sustainable Merton's Refill Merton campaign by becoming a Refill Champion or Refill Station, to encourage and support local residents to reduce, reuse and refill. By choosing to reuse, we're saving millions of pieces of plastic and sending a message to the rest of the world that the solutions to plastic pollution and the climate crisis are there – and together we can keep our environment, oceans, cities and communities plastic-free for the future.

I will care for and repair my things – Recycling is great, but to have the biggest effect on reducing waste, we need to cut down on the amount of stuff we buy, and maintain and repair the things that still have plenty of life left in them. Check out The Londoner's Guide to Repair for tips on how to repair your things (e.g. your TV, clothes, and bike) and a list of places you can go to get things repaired, so that you don't have to throw them away. LoveNotLandfill also have some useful tips and videos on how to fix your clothes.

I will share and upcycle unwanted things – Too often we'll buy something, use it once and then leave it at the back of cupboard or drawer. Why not pass on unwanted items to friends and family, through swap events or charity shops, to keep things in the loop. LoveNotLandfill has lots of tips on buying clothes second-hand, as well as swapping, donating and selling your clothes. Check out SwopItUp, a local initiative run by young residents, if you're interested in running a clothing exchange in your school. Also, why not think of some creative ways to upcycle old things to give them new life.

I will borrow or rent things for one-off or short term projects – If you have a specific project or event in mind, why not visit Morden's Library of Things where you can borrow useful household items like drills, carpet cleaners and gazebos. Library of Things allows you to borrow items from as little as £1 per day, before returning them for another neighbour to use. This can help you save money, learn practical skills and reduce waste, whilst supporting a local sharing economy.

I will recycle at home and on-the-go – When we do generate waste, we want to make sure we recycle all we can at home and on-the-go, to keep resources in the loop and reduce our emissions. Packaging is made of valuable materials which, if recycled, can become something new; it's too good to waste! You can find out what can be recycled and where at Recycle Now, with more local information on Sustainable Merton's website and in their Recycling Guide. Contamination is an issue with recycling so take the time to check you're putting your waste in the right place. Make sure any packaging is empty - leftover liquid can contaminate the recycling meaning the whole lot may go to waste.

I will develop or support a local community project which helps reduce waste – When communities come together they can generate projects that are more impactful than what individuals can achieve alone. Merton's Climate Action Group is looking to support local community-led projects which reduce Merton's greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you already have a specific waste reduction project in mind or you want to help the group develop existing project ideas, get in touch with the Green Economy Leads for the Climate Action Group at The Climate Action Group may be able to help you plan your project, help raise funds and undertake the work.

I will get involved in a local litter pick – Sustainable Merton runs monthly litter picks (Waste Warrior Weekends) as an opportunity for people across Merton to clean up our streets and parks and collectively take a stand against littering. You can do your bit to care for our local environment as we join forces to collect and safely dispose of litter from Merton's streets and green spaces at the June Waste Warrior Weekend on June 26-27.

You can find out more about Merton's Climate Strategy and Action Plan, and how you can get involved in Merton's Climate Action Group.

Make a pledge