Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas message

Have Yourself a Merry (eco) Christmas

It doesn’t feel like it was 12 months ago that we were putting together our usual list of tips and hints on how to make your Christmas as environmentally friendly as possible.

As with every Christmas, we always notice that there are new things that can be done to reduce waste on all fronts, whether its on present buying, present wrapping or cutting down on the waste associated with food and drink.

The following are the recycling teams guide to all residents to help them enjoy a hopefully white Christmas but also a green one too.

Christmas Trees

This topic alone generates a whole range of responses. Some websites say that if you have an artificial tree, then use that rather than buy a real one. Or maybe buy a second hand artificial tree? Failing that you can rent a Christmas tree and if buying a real tree, ensure its UK grown and from a grower registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree?

And of course if you do go for the real tree option, please remember to recycle your Christmas tree at one of the many sites dotted around the borough. If you do this, then at least your tree will have a second life as mulch on garden beds and paths in the borough’s parks. Locations for recycling trees can be found here: http://goo.gl/RAOqY4

So, now that you’ve sourced your tree from an ethical supplier or dusted down the artificial tree from the loft, you just need to make it look the part in your home without worrying about the damage being done to the environment. The following link has some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas tree decorations from items that you would on any other day, throw in the bin. Making baubles using old CD’s, turning old light bulbs into Christmas penguins, reindeer’s made out of old toilet rolls? This can also be a fun activity to do with children.

From this......

And you could end up going from this……

...to this using old toilet roll tubes

…to this, using old toilet roll tubes

The following link can help you out with the above  as well as many other ideas: http://www.boredpanda.com/diy-christmas-ornaments/

Gifts

With the tree and decorations in place, thoughts now turn to presents. Shopping on the high street or online will be most peoples experiences of Christmas gift buying. But there are other ‘greener’ or arguably more interesting options to consider. For example, you could look at making something yourself? Could you make soap for example? http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/knit-free/how-to-make-soap-soap-recipe-lavender

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

Or make a case for an iPad: http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/pattern-finder/sewing-projects/sewing-for-the-home/make-ipad-case

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

There are many websites offering ideas on making gifts that have the added advantage of the gifts not coming in any additional packaging and generating more waste.

Presents can also be wrapped in newspaper or in paper from magazines. If some ribbon is used to hold it together, the effect is such that you hardly pay attention to the fact that its not wrapped in proper Christmas wrapping paper. Once the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper can simply then go straight into the recycling bin – which might be the place you want to look to get it from?

Here's some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

Here’s some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

Food and Drink

There is no doubt that the purchasing of food and drink has its fair share of waste if the right amount of planning isn’t taken into account. A huge resource of ideas, tips, hints and suggestions regarding food including freezing, storage, recipes and the using up of leftovers can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from the LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

With regards to drink, then most of this will come in either a plastic bottle, an aluminium can, glass bottle or a tetra pak which fruit juice and now some wines come in. The good news is that you can recycle all of these things in Lewisham. Please make sure that over the Christmas period, you remember to recycle all drinks containers including those jars that once contained those Christmas pickles. All we ask is that everything is clean before it goes into your recycling bin. To find out exactly what goes into your recycling bin, please click on the following link: http://goo.gl/Gt9L9W

The recycling bin can also be used for all cardboard packaging which many gifts will come in. Our crews will endeavour to keep those bins emptied over the Christmas period, but please be aware of the changes to the service due to the holidays. Full details can be found on the following link: http://recycleforlewisham.com/2014/12/01/christmas-and-new-year-refuse-and-recycling-collection-arrangements/

Unwanted Presents

By the afternoon of Christmas Day, presents will have been opened, wrapping paper and packaging will have been recycled and some presents might start to look like it wasn’t quite what you wanted. You might have the option of taking the item back with the receipt which is fine. If not, and the item in question is clothing, think about charity shops or a textile bank to ensure the item gets a second chance and will be worn by somebody who wants it.

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

A list of the textile banks can be found on the following link: http://goo.gl/G6yFpZ  As well as clothing, there may be other gifts that you have received which a charity shop might accept and sell to people who might want it. You may also be receiving gifts that will render some of the things you already have in your house obsolete. For example, you might get new kitchen appliances which will be seen as an upgrade to what you already have at home. It could be a toaster, kettle or a coffee making machine. It may be a new DVD player, laptop or games console? If residents do have redundant electrical items at home that do not work or are broken, please recycle them using either one of our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks or take the items to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. Details on the locations of the WEEE banks can be found here: http://goo.gl/ciZGzo

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

And finally, please remember to leave your bins at the boundary of your property on the correct collection day if you want them emptied. Once they have been emptied, please bring them back in off the street. Last, but not least, Lewisham’s recycling team would like to wish all residents in the borough and a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Christmas and New Year Refuse and Recycling Collection Arrangements

Over the Christmas and New Year period, there will be a few changes to collection times that we hope won’t cause residents too much disruption to celebrations. The information below shows the revised times when refuse and recycling collections will be carried out.

Christmas Collection Times

 

Normal Collection day

Revised collection day

Monday            22nd December Normal Collection Day
Tuesday           23rd December Normal Collection Day
Wednesday      24th December Normal Collection Day
Thursday         25th December Saturday 27th December
Friday               26th December Sunday    28th December
Don't forget to put your bins out if you want a collections over Christmas and the New Year

Don’t forget to put your bins out if you want a collections over Christmas and the New Year

New Year Collection Times

 

Normal Collection day

Revised collection day

Monday      29th December Normal Collection Day
Tuesday      30th December Normal Collection Day
Wednesday 31st December Normal Collection Day
Thursday    1st January 2015 Friday     2nd January 2015
Friday          2nd January 2015 Saturday 3rd January 2015

Usual service will resume the week beginning 05th January 2015. All collections due  – weather permitting.

The crews and all operational staff would like to wish all residents a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

Some people have contacted the recycling team asking where WEEE Man has been just lately as they haven’t heard about any of his exploits? Well, when he’s not helping Lewisham Council with their Clean and Green programme in schools, teaching children about the importance of recycling electronic equipment or going off to the Lords Mayor’s Show like he did last year   http://goo.gl/Qh7G0v he’s helping other local authorities.

WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

Only this week for example, Tandridge District Council were in need of his services as they were promoting the recycling of electronic waste and textiles. This is more of a mini secondment for our electronic Superhero and we’re more than happy to see the good work he’s doing for Lewisham being spread to borough’s elsewhere to promote the positive recycling message.

Tandridge Council are aided by Lewisham's very own WEEE Man

Tandridge Council are aided by Lewisham’s very own WEEE Man

Christmas isn’t too far away at the moment and is a time when people buy new gadgets, electronic toys, kitchen appliances, radios, TV’s etc. to replace old or faulty items in the house. All we ask is that rather than throw away those old items, why not recycle them using one of our small appliance banks  http://goo.gl/s51s15 or take them to our Reuse and Recycling Centre http://goo.gl/c3FO6b along with any other items that shouldn’t be placed in the refuse and recycling bins.

Everyone needs to recycle textiles and electronics

Everyone needs to recycle textiles and electronics

If the item that you no longer want is still in good working order, why not contact organisations like the British Heart Foundation http://goo.gl/EqB0xf who might take it off your hands and find a new home for it through one of their shops? We’re just pleased to see WEEE Man keeping up the good work and going to wherever his services are required.

 

How have the Refuse and Recycling Service Standards ‘bedded in’?

Back in the summer of July 2013, four Field Officers were employed by Lewisham Council to undertake what was seen at the time as a relatively short programme of rolling out brand new Service Standards. These were being introduced to clarify what the roles of the crews were when delivering the refuse and recycling services and also what role the residents played.

Residents that receive a kerbside collection will probably be familiar with these new Standards by now. This heralds a new way of doing things in Lewisham and is the first time since collections began that residents are having to bring their bins to the boundary of their property themselves – if they do of course want their bins emptied.

If your bin needs to be emptied, let us know by leaving them at the inside boundary of your property

If your bin needs to be emptied, let us know by leaving them at the inside boundary of your property

Introducing standards for these services is nothing new in London. Most boroughs in the capital have something similar in place that clarifies the roles of crews and residents alike. Greenwich for example ask their residents to leave their bins on the public highway if they want a collection. However in Lewisham we say to leave the bins at the edge of the property boundary to avoid obstructing the pavement. Residents are then expected to return the bins back to their property at their earliest possible convenience once the crews have emptied them and left them at the outside boundary without blocking the public highway.

Now that over a year has passed since their introduction, we wanted to find out how the Service Standards have ‘bedded in’. So we spoke to crews, our Field Officers and looked at correspondence that came in via email and issues that were raised over the phone to see how the rollout went.

We started by asking our crews what their thoughts were on the Service Standards roll out. Their responses were on the whole enthusiastic which we were pleased to hear. They told us that residents were responding well to the changes. There were and still are residents that forget to put their bins out on the day of collection before 6am which results in them not having their bins emptied. When this happens, we have to inform the residents in question that they won’t be getting another collection until the following week. Unless of course its an assisted collection.

Our crews will take additional recycling materials if they are bagged in clear sacks

Our crews will take additional recycling materials if they are bagged in clear sacks

In some instances the changes can be seen as beneficial to residents as collections aren’t always needed every week, which means that bins won’t need to be brought in off the street every week. Those who recycle, compost and generally reduce their waste may only need a collection once a fortnight or even once a month in some cases? You also don’t want your bin sitting outside of your house if you are on holiday.

From December onwards we will no longer have any Field Officers but their help in ensuring everything rolled out smoothly was invaluable. They fed back all issues and problems regarding the rollout and painted a very positive picture. They said that crews and residents alike have adapted well and have responded positively by bringing out their bins. Where there’s been uncertainty, they’ve made visits to residents properties to sort out any problems and issues.

But its not all about bringing the bins to the boundary of the property. The measures are also designed to help residents reduce the amount of waste they generate. When crews come across bins that have been over producing and the lid of the bin is up with bags of waste sticking out, the address is taken down and the resident will receive a letter about this and reminding them that lids must be down on the day of collection.

By asking for the lids to be down on collection day, we are hoping that residents will reduce the amount of waste they produce

By asking for the lids to be down on collection day, we are hoping that residents will reduce the amount of waste they produce

This partnership approach with residents is working well and we want to thank everyone who have helped make the transition and the change in Lewisham bin collection policy a smooth and an easy one.

All we ask now is for residents to remember to take their bins back onto their properties after their collection which will keep the streets looking tidier and prevent passersby from using the bins to deposit other types of waste.

For those that are still not sure about the Service Standards, please click on the following link which gives full details: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Documents/WRServiceStd.pdf

The Land of Refuse and Honey

Three years ago the Wearside Depot became home to a colony of bees from a local beekeeper in order to promote biodiversity and food production as part of the Capital Growth campaign.

After a great start the prolonged wet winter of last year took its toll on our hives; whilst the now 2 bee hives coped admirably it was disappointing that a wet Spring tipped them over and despite feeding sugar syrup and fondant to top up their food source they just couldn’t cope with the persistent cold and wet. It was very sad to lose them and a sorry sight to open a hive to silence and lots of little furry bodies scattering the hive floor.

The homes of the busy bees in the Wearside Depot

The homes of the busy bees in the Wearside Depot

Undeterred and with great help and advice from Mark Emptage and Clive Watson from Bromley Beekeepers a nuc of 6 frames was provided in the following Spring and we settled our fresh new bees into  their riverside residence. The early warmth got them off to a flying start and it was wonderful to see the busy comings and goings as our bees foraged for local pollen and nectar.  Weekly inspections ensued to check that the Queen was laying and no diseases were present; the hive was doing so well we were able to split the it to establish a second colony.  Both hives thrived with plenty of plump larvae and a surprising range of pollen colours, depending on the plant source,  from emerald greens to ruby reds through to deep yellow and vivid orange.

A real hive of activity as the bees get to work

A real hive of activity as the bees get to work

As the weeks rolled by bee numbers steadily continued to increase and thankfully inspections showed no sign of disease or ill health in the colonies.  To spot the Queen busying about with her entourage of workers is a wonderful sight and to smell the waxy sweet comb on opening the hive is a feast for the nostrils.

The frames on which the bees store and cap their honey and pollen were getting heavier and heavier and last week we had the pleasure of extracting some of the honey (leaving enough for their winter stores) using a loaned extractor that uses centrifugal force to draw the honey out.  After 4 hours of spinning the frames we were left with 14  kilos of lovely light golden honey to be jarred up and christened as ‘Wearside Waggle’.

Pre-labelling, 105 jars of 'Wearside Waggle' were produced from the two hives

Pre-labelling, 105 jars of ‘Wearside Waggle’ were produced from the two hives

It just remains for us to keep checking on our buzzy friends to make sure they have enough stores to keep them going through the winter and treat for the Varroa mite if necessary.  As the weather turns cooler, hive inspections will cease as opening up when temperatures are below 15  can be detrimental to the hive.  So, a successful year had in which a small corner of our depot  has helped pollination and added a little to food production……..

Tag along to a textile bank for some recycling

Over the last week you might have seen a blue tag hanging on your recycling bin. Lewisham Council are keen to make sure that everyone’s recycling all they can, including their textiles. More than 60% of UK householders say they have unwanted clothes and textiles in their homes. We’d like to see these clothes being put to use and the clothes given a second chance.

You might have seen these hanging on a recycling bin near you.

You might have seen these hanging on a recycling bin near you.

These blue tags are an encouragement to all our residents to take a look at their wardrobes to clear out any unused textiles and recycle them by using one of the many textile banks located around the borough.

Full details of where your nearest text bank is can be found on the bin hanger.

Full details of where your nearest text bank is can be found on the bin hanger.

If you didn’t see one of the hangers on your recycling bin then don’t worry, full details of where you can find your nearest textile bank can be found on our website. For updates for new or relocated textile banks please visit: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/textiles

A friendly cat approves of the new bin hangers.

A friendly cat approves of the new bin hangers.

The textiles are collected by a company called LMB who are based in East London. Full details of the company can be found on the following http://www.lmb.co.uk/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers