Say goodbye to the small appliance banks

Small appliance banks or WEEE banks as they’re known, have been in parts of the borough since February 2011. There are only 6 of them and they were deliberately placed in the southern parts of Lewisham to serve those residents who were furthest away from our Reuse and Recycling Centre.

The odd break-in into the banks has occurred over the years, but on the whole they have been popular and well used. The aim of the banks was to collect small appliances such as kettles, toasters, hairdryers, radios, DVD players, old phones and other small electronic items that had reached the end of their life and were ready to be recycled.

The banks will be going around August 12th
The banks will be removed from August 12th, 2015

Now 6 years later, we have to say goodbye to the banks as DHL, the company that own and manage the banks do not have the funding to keep and service them any more. DHL have told us that the banks will be removed around the 12th August 2015.

If you still have a broken toaster, radio, or similar item that is stuck in your cupboard, shed or garage, then please take the opportunity to drop them into one of the small appliance banks if you live near one.

The banks can currently be found at the following locations:

  • Turnham Road (opposite the shops)
  • Baring Road Bus Garden (Grove Park)
  • Catford Bus Garage (Bromley Road)
  • Sydenham Road/Porthcawe Road junction (Sydenham)
  • Sydenham Hill
  • Lee Gate Shopping Centre

For those people that are upgrading or replacing old appliances, please ask the retailer if they will accept your old appliance when you purchase the new one. Shops like Argos are doing a trade in scheme for old WEEE items, full details here: http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/argos-launches-weee-trade-in-scheme/

Our Reuse and Recycling centre will always be available for WEEE and many other items that you wish to dispose of, full details can be found here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/landmann-way.aspx

Clean and Green Awards 2015

The Clean and Green Schools programme started 14 years ago and is a campaign aimed at raising awareness in green issues and encouraging young people to look after their local environment. The programme has produced some truly wonderful work, from various schools across Lewisham.

This year, 8 schools took part in the programme and we were thrilled to see the efforts the schools went to, in order to make their school as Clean and Green as possible. When this programme is fully embraced, it can really cultivate school pride amongst teachers and pupils alike, as well as help schools create lasting relationships within their local communities.

The overall winner of the programme for 2015, winning the Distinction Gold Award and a cheque for £300 was awarded to All Saints Primary School, in Blackheath.

Pupils Isla Prosser and James Galbraith receiving their awards
Pupils Isla Prosser and James Galbraith receiving their awards

 This week, judges and organisers of the Clean and Green Schools programme visited All Saints Primary School to award them with their well-deserved prize, and to thank them for their participation and wonderful achievements that the whole school community were involved in.

The judges of the competition felt that All Saints really embraced all the categories the schools were judged on, including:

  • Pupil and community involvement
  • Communication
  • Effectiveness
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation

From regular audits, improvements to recycling facilities and clean ups, to Fairtrade cafes, cook-ups and fashion parades, All Saints involved not only the school, but the wider community.

Impressing the judges, All Saints went to great lengths to ensure that many of the activities were not one-off events but became part of the school’s sustained culture.

Isla and James with teachers Ms Pippa Williams and Miss De Souza with Kristina Binns from Lewisham Council (left)
Isla and James with teachers Ms Pippa Williams and Miss De Souza with Kristina Binns from Lewisham Council (left)

The judges were astounded to discover that All Saints researched Fairtrade clothing companies to then use this clothing as part of their school uniforms. This was very innovative and also showed a genuine desire to integrate sustainable practices into the school.

All Saints, have done an absolutely fantastic job! On behalf of Lewisham Council, we would like to thank you very much for taking part in the programme and for being such an inspiring school!

What else can you recycle in your home?

This week (22nd – 28th June) is recycle week.  Lewisham Council along with lots of local authorities across the UK are encouraging their residents to think more about what can be recycled around the home. The short animated film below illustrates very clearly what other materials there are in the home that should be finding their way into your green recycling bin.

More information about the Council recycling services can be found here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx

And remember, please use our textile banks or your local charity shop for the recycling and reusing of clothes and other textiles.

Recycling team attend busy Hilly Fields Summer Fayre

Heavy clouds and a sprinkling of rain didn’t deter anyone from enjoying the Hilly Fields Summer Fayre and our stall certainly had a constant flow of visitors. With nearly 250 festival goers coming up to our recycling trailer we had one busy day!

On top of helping residents with recycling questions, we discussed with many people about whether they’d like Lewisham to introduce a new subscription based garden waste collection and even the possibility of food waste services in the future. We were happy to hear lots of positive comments about these ideas.

Nearly 250 people visited our recycling trailer
Nearly 250 people visited our recycling trailer (photo: Mr Kiley)

 

Residents left happy taking away freebies such as tough reusable carrier bags for recycling and handy kitchen items to keep food fresher for longer and were also signing up for free composting workshops that are coming up soon (see below for details). All in all, a great day was had!

To book on to a free composting workshop, please visit

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/gardenwaste

Plastic recycling – the do’s and don’ts

When it comes to plastics and recycling, the picture can be a bit confusing for residents all wanting to do the right thing. There are just so many different types of plastics in the world, plastics that people use everyday, which many people assume can be recycled.

Plastics come in all shapes and sizes and whilst we do ask for all your milk bottles and plastic bottles, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want every type of plastic.

So what are the plastics we don’t want? The following list details some of the items that Viridor, our current contractor and materials recovery facility operator told us they can’t recycle:

  • Laminated plastics – these can go into your refuse bin
  • CDs and cases and their transparent sleeves – charity shops or the refuse bin
  • Childrens toys – to the local Reuse and Recycling Centre or toy libary
  • Electrical appliances – to Reuse & Recycling Centre or a WEEE bank
  • Video and music cassettes – these can go into your refuse bin
Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents, electrical items cannot be recycled in your green bin
Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents and electrical items cannot be recycled using your green bin

New technologies have made video and music cassettes redundant but many people still have lots of these at home. These are made up of plastic, metal and tape which becomes entangled in the sorting equipment if they end up in the recycling bin. We don’t have any facilities to collect these and the nearest place to process and recycle them is in Bristol.

There are also other ways to make use of some items as well. For example CDs can be used as bird scarers if you’re a gardener or have an allotment. Freecycle could also be seen as a way finding a home for these items as local community projects might be able to use them (often projects like things with different textures and colours to create mosaics for example) or pass them on to friends and family, or sell them on online sites.

Another item that we’d like to see out of the recycling bin is clothing and textiles. Whilst we have been collecting them in the recycling bin when we were with a different contractor, the time has come to change this. We are now asking residents not to use this route and instead use our textile banks or your local charity shops.

Please take clothing to a textile banks or a charity shop
Please take clothing to a textile bank or a charity shop and avoid using your recycling bin

This is because the quality is massively reduced when clothes and textiles are put into the bin. After leaving the bin they are tipped into a truck and then tipped again and sorted at the materials recovery facility (MRF). This isn’t what you’d call a very clean operation and as you can imagine, the clothes get very dirty, smelly and reduced in quality and value. By placing textiles in our textile banks you can be sure someone will be able to enjoy the benefits of your generosity. Visit this link to see where our textile banks are, http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/textile-recycling/Pages/Textile-recycling-banks.aspx

As a general rule of thumb regarding recycling, we say that if it’s not on the sticker on your recycling bin, then please put the item into your refuse bin.

Full details here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx

Cup of tea anyone?

Hot and refreshing, nothing beats a good cup of tea. Making it, and popping that little tea bag into a steaming cup just gives you a happy feeling.

But happy feelings aren’t necessarily what the farmers and workers have when they are growing and harvesting the tea. Many work long hours, are underpaid, and live in poverty. Health clinics, running water, electricity and adequate schooling for their children are just things to dream about, rather than a reality. They often cannot even enjoy a cup of tea that they’ve grown themselves.

Thankfully, Fairtrade is working to bring better working conditions, better pay and better community facilities and infrastructure to these people. Farmers associated with Fairtrade now wear smiles as they see their kids furthering their education, bridges being built to connect isolated villages, and medical clinics opening to provide help for the sick.

Each year, Fairtrade week highlights the need for more support for these and the many communities who are not yet benefiting from this organisation.

One way of raising awareness is getting our local schools involved. Here in Lewisham, primary schools have been studying the lives of people around the globe who produce goods such as tea and the great things Fairtrade do.

Encouraged by Lewisham Council, Lewisham kids have been designing Fairtrade posters to enter a competition where the winner’s poster is used on the side of one of our recycling lorries. This year’s winner was Isla Prosser from All Saint’s Church of England Primary School.

Winner of the Fairtrade poster competition, Isla Prosser stands proudly infront of her art work with Cllr Onikosi
Winner of the Fairtrade poster competition, Isla Prosser stands proudly infront of her art work with Cllr Onikosi

By choosing Fairtrade products you’re helping to transform the livelihoods of more than 1.4 million people in 74 countries around the world! I’d have a cup of Fairtrade tea to that!