What can you do?

What can you do to improve your environment?

For the Borough to become carbon neutral and make the necessary environmental improvements, action is required by everybody: the council, businesses, community groups and our residents. 

Here are some handy tips for changes you can make in your day to day life to help drive change and improve our environment. You can use the below headings to jump to the sections that interest you. 

Cleaner Air



  • Choose paints and varnishes that are labelled as having low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Around the home:

  • Regularly service your boiler, this will reduce pollution and prevent carbon monoxide from being created. It will also make sure your boiler isn’t wasting fuel and money.
  • Switch to a renewable energy supplier. You could save money too!
  • Take a look at the actions in the Using Less Energy section as this helps reduce pollution.
  • If you’ve got an open fire or wood-burning stove, try to use it only when absolutely necessary. If you are replacing a stove, consider a Defra approved stove.

In the garden:

A Greener Borough

If you’ve got a garden, balcony or window sill:

  • Garden organically and use natural pest-control measures.
  • Leave space for wildlife - plant bee-friendly flowers, put up bird boxes, have a bird bath, cut a hole in your fence for hedgehogs and encourage your neighbours to do the same.
  • Plant a tree - even in a pot. There are trees suitable for even small gardens and balconies.
  • Did you know you can recycle plastic plant pots? Ask at your local garden centre.
  • Choose peat-free compost.
  • Grow your own fruit and veg. Even if you don’t have any outdoor space at all, salad will grow in a pot on a sunny window sill.
  • Keep your garden green - avoid decking, artificial lawn or paving your garden if you can.

Around the borough:

Using Less Energy

Heating your home:

  • Put a jumper on before turning on the heating.
  • If you don’t already have them, install a room thermostat, a programmer or thermostatic radiator valves. This will help to control the temperature of your home and avoid overheating it. But, don’t let your heating drop below 18 degrees to stay warm and well.  
  • Use a timer to set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need it, don’t keep it on 24/7.
  • Draft proof your home - think about windows, doors and blocking any cracks. You’ll save money too.
  • Insulate your home. If you don’t own your home, ask your landlord to install insulation. This will help to reduce the amount of energy you use and the cost of your heating bills.


  • Turn off lights when you aren’t using them.
  • Use LED low-energy light bulbs to save power and money. The quality has really improved in recent years.
  • Switch equipment off rather than leaving it on standby.
  • Install smart heating controls so you can turn your heating on/off remotely via a mobile app if your plans change.

Energy supplier:

  • Contact your energy company to install a smart meter so you know how much money you’re spending on energy.
  • Regularly switch your energy supplier to make sure you are getting the best deal. Most will give you a contract for a set period of time, after which the price will change. You can use online switching sites to find the best deal and watch out for any early exit fees.  
  • When switching your energy contract, opt for a renewable energy supplier.

Saving energy and money:

  • Dry your clothes outdoors when weather permits instead of using a tumble dryer.  
  • Use natural ventilation to heat and cool your home. On hot days, keep your shutters/curtains and windows closed during the day, opening them at night to allow the cooler air into your home.
  • Replacing your flooring? Invest in underfloor insulation to reduce heat loss.
  • If you are considering replacing your windows, install energy efficient glazing.


  • If buying new appliances, look at their energy rating. A+++ rating is best.

Creating a Circular Economy

Reducing waste:


In the kitchen:

  • Eat everything you buy - food waste is throwing money in the bin!  
  • Use your food waste caddy to recycle unavoidable food waste.
  • Plan your meals, write and take a list shopping to avoid buying more than you need.
  • Love your freezer - to save food waste.
  • Use reusable containers instead of single-use plastics, and look at environmentally friendly alternatives to cling film.
  • Wash used tin foil and it can be recycled.

Around the borough:

  • At pubs, cafes and restaurants, avoid single use plastics and ask for no straw.
  • Use a reuasable coffee cup for your coffee takeaways - many cafes will offer a discount when one is used!
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and refill at participating Sutton Refill stations across the borough.


  • Whether online or in person, ask questions. What are the environmental credentials of the company you’re buying from?
  • Ask questions of sales staff and manufacturers about the materials used, where they come from, and whether they’ll take back the product at the end of its life for recycling.
  • Try to buy products that aren’t wrapped in single use plastics.
  • Comment on packaging if it’s excessive or non-recyclable.
  • Explore environmentally-friendly options for everything from deodorant to cling film.  
  • Buy from local producers if you can.
  • Take containers and bags with you when shopping, to use when buying meats and deli items from the counters or loose vegetables. 
  • Take a reusable bag with you to the shops.

Tackling Climate Change

Saving water:

  • Get a water meter so you only pay for what you use. Visit either SES Water or Thames Water (depending on who your water company is). Businesses can request this too.
  • Visit the SES Water website and apply for a free water saving pack - https://www.waterplc.com/pages/home/saving-water/
  • Shower rather than taking baths, and try to be quick in the shower. Using less hot water will help you save money on your heating bills.
  • If you have a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce the hot water use while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
  • Put a brick or other device in your cistern to reduce the amount of water with each flush. SES Water can provide these for free.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  • Run your washing machine full - a half load doesn’t use half the amount of water.

In the garden:

  • Don’t pave or deck over your entire garden. Leave space for rainwater to soak in, to protect yourself and your neighbours from flash flooding.

Around the home:

  • Use natural ventilation to heat and cool your home. On hot days, keep your shutters/curtains and windows closed during the day, opening them at night to allow the cooler air into your home

Around the borough: