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Valuing What We Have

Food Waste  - let's reduce it!

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Producing food uses precious energy and resources so we should take care not to waste it.  Also there are millions of people in the UK struggling to afford to eat.   The charity FareShare helps to redistribute surplus food. See here to learn more:


There is plenty that we can do, firstly by buying only what we need and then making sure any leftovers don't get wasted: for some delicious recipes for using leftovers click here.


Vegetable peelings can be composted, and unwanted dry food can be donated to food bank charities such as:


Zero Carbon Guildford has recently installed a Community Fridge at the bottom of High Street and Friary Street, open Tuesdays and Thursdays for people to come and take what they want.  This is not only helping the community but it also reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill.  Food is collected from participating local supermarkets and then made available to anyone who can use it.

In April 2022 605Kg of food was redistributed and thus saved from landfill by this scheme.

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle: Support a Circular Economy

A circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.

Companies are already exploring ways to ‘design out’ waste when products are still at the concept stage.  One example would be edible packaging made of seaweed.


While recycling is undoubtedly a necessary component, it is important that products and materials are designed, from the outset, to be reused, repaired, and remanufactured. 

Using less food and drink packaging 

Recycling is important but it is much better to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging we buy in the first place.  Let’s refill containers instead of buying new ones, and try to reduce our use of single use plastic.  


There are many refill shops in the area, such as not for profit For Earth's Sake in Cranleigh.

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A more sustainable approach to Clothing

Did you know:

  • 64% of the 32bn outfits manufactured each year end up in the bin!​

  • In 2019 alone 208 MILLION lbs of waste was generated by ‘single use outfits’!​

  • 20% of the planet’s entire waste water production is from the fashion industry! ​

  • Cotton uses only 3% of the world’s arable land - but non-organic cotton accounts for 24% of insecticide use! 

Maybe if we simply reduce the number of new clothes we buy we could all make a difference to these worrying statistics, reducing  the amount of raw materials, water and energy used in clothing manufacture and distribution, and its contribution to landfill.  

Pass things on

Passing things on and buying secondhand via on line market places, charity shops or fairs, car boot sales and vintage clothes sales is a great way to ensure they get reused and we don't just waste what we have but no longer want: not only clothes but all sorts of equipment and toys. It can be very sociable too!


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Make it last

There are lots of ways to make stuff last longer  - this might include either repairing things like this wooly jumper, or transforming items into something different (also known as upcycling) like this clever gate catch made from a horseshoe. 

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Reuse things, don't throw them away!

and join the SGEG Upcycling Challenge!

We are hoping to build a gallery of  bright ideas so if you have any examples of when you have given your items a new lease of life please send us a photo - pics before and after would be great, but often the 'before' pics get forgotten, so send us the 'after' ones anyway!

Recycling flexible plastic


Soft plastic is almost unavoidable when buying from supermarkets, but until recently has not been collected for recycling. However, there are now more than 3,500 local supermarket collection points where soft flexible plastics, such as crisp packets, can be recycled. This includes local supermarkets such as the Co-op (Bramley and Cranleigh), Sainsburys (Cranleigh) and Tesco.

Soft flexible plastics include items such as plastic crisp packets, bread, cheese and pasta bags and chocolate or biscuit wrappers, plastic film lids on yoghurt pots, soft fruit punnets and ready meals.  
If you’re not sure if it is soft flexible plastic, scrunch it up and see if it pings back, if it does it is likely to be soft plastic.

The soft plastic will mainly be recycled by the supermarkets to make more packaging but some items with multiple layers may end up being incinerated to produce energy.

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