Pages in My sustainable home

  1. 1. Energy
  2. 2. Water
  3. 3. You are here: Waste
  4. 4. Green spaces
  5. 5. Construction
  6. 6. Adaptation and mitigation in the home
  7. 7. Solar Together
  8. 8. Great British Insulation Scheme

3. Waste

Did you know we currently recycle 54% of our household waste and most people can recycle most items from home?

The term ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ not only tells you how to tackle the problem of waste, it tells you the right order to do it. 


The best way to reduce your waste is to consume less. Look at your spending habits and decide if you really need to buy the things you do. Here are some ideas to help:

  • Take a refillable coffee cup and water bottle with you when you go out (lots of coffee shops will give you a discount for using your own cup)
  • Take a shopping bag or two with you when you go out as well

Did you know 2.5 billion coffee cups are binned each year in the UK alone? (Source: Friends of the Earth)

The next step is to look at what you do buy and see if there are alternatives that are less wasteful. Look for products that:

  • last longer or can be easily repaired
  • have less or even zero packaging – such as refill packs, loose fruit and vegetables
  • don’t contain single-use-plastics or other materials that are damaging to the environment
  • are grown or manufactured in the UK

Did you know UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year? (Source: Greenpeace)

For more advice on what to look out for when shopping, take a look at BBC's Good Food guide to eco-labels.

Reuse, Repair or Regift

Once a product or its packaging is no longer of use, what do you do with it? Before recycling, think of ways you can reuse it. Here are some ideas:

  • Clean out empty containers and use them for storage
  • Reuse envelopes by placing a label over the address
  • Use old newspapers to pack items for storage or posting

If an item is broken, can it be repaired?  Check out the Repair Cafés in Surrey - there is a list with links at the Surrey Environment Partnership, including cafés at Merstham and Reigate.

If it isn't broken but you don't want it any more, somebody else might be delighted with it - can you regift or donate to charity?


If you can’t reuse something, then the next best thing is to recycle it.

In Reigate & Banstead we:

  • currently recycle 54% of our household waste and most people can recycle most items from home
  • compost 28% of waste collected

Visit the recycling and refuse pages for more information about your household waste collections, the garden waste service, and more.

For more information on what you can recycle and where, there is lots of guidance on the Surrey Environment Partnership website.