Last December the government released its 2017-18 local authority waste statistics. Tandridge was Surrey's joint-second highest recycling district and also made the top 20 of all councils in England who recycle. This is, in part, due to the 2012 introduction of a more effective kerbside collection service, which increased recycling from 33% of all household waste to 63% in just six months.
Tandridge is supported by The Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP), which has three main strategies:
- Increase recycling, reduce waste production, the amount sent to landfill and the cost of waste management
- Reduce fly-tipping
- Reduce the use of single-use plastics
Alongside Tandridge's community recycling centres, the SEP promotes ideas for leading less disposable lifestyles. With the fast fashion industry under particular scrutiny, taking part in a swishing (clothes swap) event refreshes your wardrobe without binning unwanted outfits, and you can learn how to refurbish or upcycle worn garments on courses run by Surrey County Council.
Repair cafes are also great resources. Take damaged items (including clothes, furniture, electrical appliances and mobile phones) and expert fixers help you mend them over a cup of tea. St. Lawrence's Church in Church Hill, Caterham holds a repair cafe, run by volunteers, every second Saturday, from 10.30 – 13.30, which has proved very popular.
Aiding the SEP with their third aim is Abigail Pedricks, owner of Pedrick's Zero Waste Shop. After discovering that her nearest plastic-free shop was either Clapham or Brighton she decided that the time was right to open one in Caterham.
Abigail started selling plastic-free products online, before taking on market stalls in the run-up to Christmas 2018. After creating a solid business plan she began networking in order to find local companies looking to invest in an ethical start-up.
Caterham has a wonderful community spirit and I wanted to draw on that. It was surprisingly easy to find some great people who believed in what I was doing.
Pedricks opened in September 2019. As well as offering zero-waste products, Abigail promotes her 'conscious consumerism' plastic-free message through school workshops, her YouTube channel (featuring short videos offering zero-waste living tips), in-store crafting sessions, and a seasonal supper club, which will hold its inaugural meal in early 2020.
Pedrick's has even found a way to assist Tandridge residents dispose of their non-recyclable plastic without negatively impacting the environment. Abigail is championing global initiative Ecobricks.org (they were the first UK business to sign up to their Catalyst programme) which sees clean, dry plastic compacted into plastic bottles, and used for building projects: an idea that could prevent tonnes of rubbish from adding to the region's landfill.