Police stand by whilst a man is eaten by a large compost heap

People’s Day 2014 and the Green Police were out in force again arresting anyone they caught not recycling and dealing with their waste properly. Many people came to see the recycling stall near the bandstand in Mountsfield Park on what was a lovely summers day and took away the odd freebie (spaghetti and rice measurers, pens, pencils, rulers, cotton shopping bags etc.) or just some information they were after.

Joining forces with Lewisham police to fight the war on waste

Joining forces with Lewisham police to fight the war on waste

Over 150 people visited the recycling stall which also benefitted from being situated right next to the man eating compost heap called Compost Mentis. This was a small theatrical performance by 3 actors which served to highlight the benefits of composting whose star performer was a huge compost heap that comes to life and eventually devours the disgruntled gardener who seems to spend his time in the garden getting annoyed.

Dave Bowman from Bywaters (right) with Kate and Dave from our recycling team

Dave Bowman from Bywaters (left) with Kate and Dave from our recycling team

The Compost Mentis performance drew quite a healthy crowd and children in particular were mesmerised by the large compost heap gulping down the gardener and letting out a mighty burp at the end. For those that weren’t able to see the performance, please click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQuDKLHNRXo

A disgruntled gardener has a closer look at the large compost heap

A disgruntled gardener has a closer look at the large compost heap

This year like last year, the Green Police aka Lewisham’s Recycling Team were joined by a new recruit from Bywaters, the company that takes all of the recyclables that are collected in the recycling bins across the borough. Dave Bowman (Recycling Quality and Tipping Relations Manager) was on hand to answer all those tricky questions posed by residents regarding what happens after all those tins, cans, bottles, cardboard, paper and beverage cartons are tipped into the back of a recycling vehicle. It was very useful having him there as there were quite a few residents that were intent on grilling him and finding out all about the sorting and separating processes.

The gardener is devoured  by the large compost heap and shocking all the onlookers

The gardener is devoured by the large compost heap and shocking all the onlookers

Overall, a very productive day for the team and hopefully all the questions that were asked were answered satisfactorily. Everyone liked the Love Food Hate Waste freebies that were given away. We also promoted the Love Food Hate Waste website which is a very useful resource and covers all aspects of food including recipes and how to store food correctly. For those who are not familiar, please see the following link: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

Sir Vivor bag textile trial hits parts of the borough with a £100 prize on offer

In a joint partnership project with our textile and recycling contractor, Lewisham Council are trialing the collection of textiles using what is being called the Sir Vivor bag. Unlike other collections that utilise ordinary sacks that are just left on the doorstep for collectors to take, this one tries a whole different way to recover those textiles in the best condition it can.

Fill the Sir Vivor bags with your unwanted textiles and then place the bag/s in your recycling bin.

Fill the Sir Vivor bags with your unwanted textiles and then place the bag/s in your recycling bin.

Residents are probably used to the idea of putting textiles in their recycling bins at the moment and whilst this is an OK method of collection, there are quality issues to think about. We also encourage residents to think about using charity shops and dedicated textile banks first before putting their textiles in the recycling bin loose.

Putting items in loose does leave them vulnerable to damage and being soiled as they enter the compactor and then are tipped at the other end with all the cans, bottles, cardboard, plastic bottles and juice cartons. With this survival bag, the air is compressed out during compaction and the thicker plastic sacks protect the items inside until its tipped and recovered at the materials recovery facility (MRF) in Bow, East London.

The scheme is being trialed in parts of Grove Park, Lower Sydenham, Bellingham, Crofton Park, Forest Hill, Catford South, Hither Green, Brockley, Blackheath and Ladywell. For those properties that fall in the trial zone, you will be receiving a couple of the Sir Vivor bags with a leaflet (see above). This details what can and cannot go into the sacks and there will also be an opportunity for those that submit some feedback to have a chance of winning £100 worth of vouchers.

Full bags should be left in your recycling bin (preferably at the bottom)

Full bags will find their way to LMB Textiles via the Bywaters materials recovery facility.

The full sacks go into your recycling bin (preferably at the bottom where it can’t be seen) and then you use your recycling bin as normal.  After collection, the bags will go to our textile contractor LMB Textiles http://www.lmb.co.uk/ where they will be reused and recycled.

New Cabinet Member presents prize to recycling competition winner

We recently ran a competition for those of you who recycle in communal bins. We wanted to make people aware of the new types of locks being fitted onto large recycling bins which we hope will help in the fight against non recyclables being put into recycling bins!

Cllr Onikosi with Brockley resident Fontella Alvaranga

Cllr Onikosi with Brockley resident Fontella Alvaranga

The new locks will prevent the whole lid from being lifted up, so it’s impossible for a whole black sacks worth of rubbish finding its way in there. We know that lots of people who use the communal recycling bins work really hard to make sure the right things go in there, making it so frustrating when something non- recyclable gets put in. Nappies, black sacks, garden waste, wood all make the bin ‘contaminated’ often meaning all of the contents have to incinerated instead of being sent to be turned into something new. This also causes the bin to not be emptied on the right day while we arrange for a different vehicle to empty it – all costing time and money. To put recycling into a bin with one of the new locks, the letter box lid part should be lifted. It is possible to get an untied carrier bag filled with recycling through or items can be placed in one at a time.

Alex Marshal popped into the depot to collect his voucher.

Alex popped into the depot to collect his voucher.

Leaflets were delivered to estate properties and on the back was a competition to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers. One of the lucky winners- Brockley resident, Fontella Alvaranga (first picture above) was presented with her prize by Cllr Rachel Onikosi- Cabinet Member for Public Realm & our new lead member for Environment Services. Other vouchers were won by biology student, guitar teacher and avid recycler, Alex Marshall (above), who was really pleased to take part in the competition and was chuffed to win one of the prizes.

Richard was our third winner.

Richard J Watts was our third winner.

When we gave Richard his voucher and took his photo he said “I haven’t won anything for a long time – I think the last time I won anything it was tickets to the cricket about 12 years ago – that’s why I look so happy in the photo!”

Well done to all three winners and hope you enjoy spending the vouchers.

 

Rain, sun and more rain at the Bellingham Festival

This weekend the Recycling team made yet another appearance on the Lewisham festival circuit. The Bellingham Festival was held on Saturday 28th June at Bellingham Green.

Table at the ready!

Table at the ready!


The event was arranged by Phoenix Housing and was a celebration of life in the ward. Local choirs sang, knick knacks were sold and a good time was had by all. But it nearly didn’t happen. At approximately 11am the heavens opened and it looked like the day would be a total wash out. Thankfully, it was only a brief downpour and we were able to get in a good 3 hours of festivities.

But then at 2.45 disaster struck! The rain came and this time it wasn’t alone, it brought some thunder with it too. People tried to brave it but it was relentless and we all got absolutely soaked!

In any case everybody enjoyed the day and we spoke to over 30 people about recycling and composting. So we couldn’t really ask for much more than that. Could we?

Next stop – People’s Day. See you then.

Lots of activity for National Recycle Week 2014

Last week the Recycle Team were out and about in the borough promoting National Recycling Week. The theme for this year tied in quite nicely with current footballing matters as it was recycling ‘home and away’.

We are all now familiar with what recycling means and I would imagine most of us have a pretty firm grasp of what recycling is about, particularly when we are at home. But when we are away from home, do we take our recycling habits with us? How many of us are actively recycling in the workplace or recycling when they go on holiday or weekends away? Or recycling when they are on the go between the bus or train and their place of work?

We kicked off Recycle Week with a Monday morning assembly at Elfrida School, Bellingham.  Over 300 children congregated in the school hall to hear all about where our boroughs recycling goes to.  It was a lively session with lots of questions and some gasps which filled the hall when a picture was shown of some of the things found in recycling bins which shouldn’t be in there- this included a dirty nappy, black sacks and food waste!

Children at Elfrida School learnt lots of new things about recycling.

Children at Elfrida School learnt lots of new things about recycling.

Next stop on our Recycle Week tour was a visit to  Lewisham Market, talking to shoppers who were out getting their shopping on a lovely summers day. Over the course of the day we met a lot of residents and gave out information on the Council’s recycling services.  We managed to help some shoppers out by telling them things about the service that they weren’t aware of like our battery recycling collection service and free mattress recycling.

We spoke to over 50 people at Downham Health & Leisure Centre

We spoke to over 50 people at Downham Health & Leisure Centre

On Thursday we were in the south of the borough at the Downham Health and Leisure Centre where we had a pitch near the entrance to the centre. This visit was particularly productive as we spoke to lots of residents, testing their knowledge about recycling services! There was lots of discussion and a lot of positive things to say.  Having said that, we did speak to one parent who was completely unfamiliar with the concept of recycling and wasn’t aware that such a service existed and what it was all about. Having summarised the do’s and don’ts of recycling and explained how easy it was to participate, we did manage to talk him round and get him involved.

A good spot outside the leisure centre helped with talking to people.

A good spot outside the leisure centre helped with talking to people.

Our final outing with our recycling trailer was at the Midsummer Fayre at Hilly Fields Park. The weather was glorious which meant that it was going to be a very busy day and indeed it was. We spoke to over 160 people and covered all manner of topics. The giveaways were also very popular. Lots of people liked our Love Food Hate Waste rice and spaghetti measurers as well as our water pebbles which help to reduce your time in the shower.

A glorious day in the sunshine for the Midsummer Fayre in Hilly Fields Park

A glorious day in the sunshine for the Midsummer Fayre in Hilly Fields Park

It was nice to finish off a busy recycle week in the relaxing but very hectic environs of Hilly Fields Park and it was good to have got the message out to the (nearly) 600 people we met during the course of the week using our recycling trailer but also, hundreds more through social media using our Twitter account @EnviroLewisham.

Thanks to everyone that popped in to see us.

A day in the sun at the Rushey Green Festival

Sunday the 8th June was an absolute scorcher and two members of the recycling team braved the heat to man a stall at the Rushey Green Festival that took place at the Ladywell Arena.

 

Rushey Green Festival 2

 

Saved by the shade!

Funded by the Rushey Green Ward Assembly and sponsored by Barratts Homes, Hunters Estates  and L&Q the festival was completely organised and hosted by the Rushey Green Time Bank. It was designed to be a family friendly community event with fun activities (and food!) to gather residents for a celebration of local talent and opportunities to meet other local groups and people.

You could even get your bike fixed and learn something more Council services and what’s going on in the ward.

Over 1500 people came along and were entertained by multiple performers  -  ‘Let’s Swing’, ‘Wuntanara’, ‘Heart of Steel’ and Alan Dunn ( from Bob Geldof Band/Boomtown Rats) accompanied by Kirsten Hammond.

Rushey Green Festival 1

 

People all over Ladywell Arena

 

If you would like to find out more about the Rushey Green Time Bank follow this link to their website: http://www.rgtb.org.uk/

International Composting Week turns out more Green Thumbs in Lewisham!

What do seaweed, urine, nettles and grass clippings have in common? They are all rich in Nitrogen and are a fabulous food source within your compost. And what do loo rolls, sticks, scrunched paper and dried leaves have in common? They are all high in Carbon and provide the necessary structure and air pockets for your compost.

The finished product

The finished product

Together these types of ingredients provide the ideal environment for millions of micro-organisms and other creatures such as worms, wood lice, fruit fly, snails and beetles to live. They’ll make homes and munch away at your garden and kitchen waste turning it into compost.

A full compost bin ready for the garden

A full compost bin ready for the garden

Here at Lewisham, we’ve just celebrated International Composting Week by running 6 free workshops where nearly 60 people learnt how to set up and maintain a healthy compost at home.  Some had already started composting but needed help to get the best result out of it, however many had never done any composting before attending the course. Regardless of experience everyone who attended were enthused to compost even more…

Leave it in a warm place in the garden

Leave it in a warm place in the garden

“(The course) was informative and encouraging. I got good ideas for tackling my compost without it sounding difficult…”

A 220 litre compost bin

A 220 litre compost bin

 “(The course) was fun, well delivered, and was a nice atmosphere and location… got me in the mood for more gardening!”

Peelings, grass clippings, tea bags etc. can all go into the compost bin

Peelings, grass clippings, tea bags etc. can all go into the compost bin

We hope to run more sessions later in the year, so if you are interested in coming along, keep an eye out on the Council’s website or in Lewisham Life for advertised sessions.

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Garden-waste/Pages/Composting.aspx

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