Stuff we buy

What we purchase in our everyday lives has an impact. 

So how do you know what is bad for the environment and what is good?


Thinking about the whole lifetime of a product helps. For example ask yourself what raw materials have been used, how far has it been transported and by what method, how often will I use it and how efficient will it be during use, how will it be disposed of, can it be recycled?

Thinking about these things should allow you to build up a picture. Looking at how efficient the product will be during use can really make a difference when it comes to energy use. A+ or A++ appliances, although initially more expensive really help reduce the costs of running appliances so it is worth doing the maths and working out what you can save.


We have put some information together below. Let us know what you think and whether there is anything we can add...

Food

The best thing you can do is reduce waste. The UK wastes 14 million tonnes of food each year. We are way above the rest of Europe. The Love Food, Hate Waste website has some great tips and further information on how to reduce waste. 

Food miles are the distance your food travels to get to your plate. Understanding how far, and the method used to transport your food allows you to make decisions on how to reduce the emissions associated with the food you buy. Supporting local producers and suppliers is a great way of reducing food miles. We are very lucky in Stithians to have lots of local producers and suppliers. A great place to start is the monthly market at the Stithians Centre.

White goods

Buying the most efficient machine will reduce running costs and emmissions. 

All white goods are rated from A - G with A or A+++ etc machines using the least energy. When you look at the potential savings in water and electricity use it may be more economical (and better for the environment) to opt for the more expensive machine. 

Further information is available from the Energy Saving Trust.

Clothes and toys

Emissions, water usage and environmental damage associated with the manufacture, transport and disposal of the items we purchase are excessive. 

We have got used to being able to purchase a whole heap of stuff that we don't really need. When you walk into a supermarket and look around ask yourself, how much of this stuff do I actually need? Or what are the emissions associated with this product? How long will it last?

The advice is to purchase fewer, higher quality items that will last and potentially hold their value so you can swap or sell them on after you have finished with them. 

Repair cafes

There are a few local repair cafes around in Penryn & Falmouth and Truro. They can fix anything from a Thunderbirds Tracy Island toy to curtains. They are always looking for volunteers so if you have a particular skill you could consider volunteering... 

To find about the existing repair cafes in Cornwall or potentially about how to set up one for Stithians have a look at the Repair Cafe website.