Sustainable Merton, Merton’s local environmental charity, launches today a new waste reduction and circular economy digital hub - www.thewheelmerton.org - an online directory of local reuse and repair networks, organisations, businesses and events.
What is The Wheel?
With the cost of living crisis escalating and concern about climate change, waste and the environment, continuing to grow, people are hungry for guidance and tools on how to waste less, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint. The Wheel is here to join the dots and signpost residents and businesses to the many waste reduction initiatives and groups already operating in Merton yet which many people in the community are yet to discover!
What impact will it have?
The Wheel, funded by Merton Council, symbolises the circular economy and Merton’s heritage and water mills and directly contributes to the council’s target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. When we waste less, reuse more and reduce our consumption, we reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or being burnt and protect precious resources.
Breaking away from our take-make-dispose culture and shifting to more circular ways can play a significant role in reducing the impacts of climate change. But this shift requires each of us to think differently, more creatively and consume less than we do today. And that's where The Wheel can help!
How does it work?
This year, The Wheel identified existing Merton-based community projects that relate to waste reduction across 6 different categories - food, textiles, furniture and non-electrical items, tech and electrical equipment, packaging and construction waste.
The digital hub (thewheelmerton.org) will signpost residents and businesses to local information about where items can be donated, shared, repurposed, repaired or recycled and will showcase upcoming local events such as social sewing workshops, clothes swaps, community upcycling projects, Repair Cafés and community fridges.
The Wheel will also mobilise volunteering networks, raise awareness and access to community projects grounded in waste reduction and improving social connectedness.
By making the events inclusive, informative and fun we can not only reduce waste but also tap into the creativity and skills within the community, strengthen community spirit, nurture connectivity and boost mental wellbeing.
Visit thewheelmerton.org/events to find out what's on!
The Big Picture
At a strategic level, The Wheel works with sub-regional, regional, national and international networks and initiatives such as the South London Partnership, ReLondon, the Restart project, Library of Things, Refill and many others. This allows continuous learning and improvement.
The digital hub (thewheelmerton.org) is one of three strategic focus areas for The Wheel - the other two being community waste reduction initiatives and circular high streets. With the help of network partners and academic institutions, we are working to implement low-cost circular initiatives that can catalyse a green transition in the local area.
I grew up in a home and culture where every item was valued, used and reused for years, repair was the norm, things weren’t unnecessarily wrapped in plastic and less was more. So now it’s great to get everyone in the community talking about and playing a role in waste reduction!
- Ramya Venkataraman, Community Activator for The Wheel
Encouraging our community to repair, share and re-use, not only helps us to cut Merton’s emissions, but it also helps to keep money in our resident’s pockets. As we live through a cost-of-living and climate crisis, projects that can bring our community together to learn new skills like upcycling, repairing electricals or mending clothes are vital.
- Councillor Natasha Irons, Merton Council’s cabinet member for Local Environment, Greenspaces and Climate