Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Christmas time is here again…

I know, I know, it comes round so quickly, it only seems like a few months ago that you were Christmas shopping and hanging up your decorations. But like it or not, Christmas is here again and everyone in the recycling team (all three of us) will be doing our utmost to make the festive period a sustainable and environmentally friendly occasion.

So how do you prepare for a greener and more sustainable Christmas when you have to get a tree, put up decorations, buy lots of food and drink and buy and wrap lots of presents?

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

Can you believe these are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple. Who needs Blue Peter?

Well, there are some measures you can take to try and reduce your impact on the Worlds resources at a time of mass consumerism. The following are some ideas and tips that we’ve put together from a wide range of sources that will help you reduce waste, tackle contamination (which is a massive problem in Lewisham) and make your food go a little further without wasting it.

One of the early purchases around Christmas time is the tree. What are the options when it comes to deciding on what type of tree to buy and where do you buy it from? Then when you have finished with it, what do you do with it?

Well, if you have an artificial tree that’s still in good condition, then use that. Whilst they are made of PVC and cannot be recycled, if you already have one, then it may as well be put to use. It can also be used year after year after year.

However, if you want a tree with the environment in mind, a real tree is the way forward. Christmas trees are farmed on land that is usually not suitable for other crops and are converted to mulch or wood chips after use leaving virtually no residual waste. Try to buy a UK tree which do provide a habitat for wildlife whilst growing. The best option would be a tree with a rootball intact that can be planted afterwards or kept in a container. More information on trees can be found here: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/1711560/eco_christmas_trees.html

Buy a real tree and leave it at a collection point for mulching.

You could buy a real tree and leave it at a collection point for mulching or use an artificial one if you already have one.

So the tree is up, now the decorations. What about re-purposing old decorations? Sleigh bells from last year that adorned a wreath that you don’t use any more can go on your tree and save you money. Also, if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, the 28,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around planet Earth?

Cheap Christmas ornaments can be made from wine corks. These reindeers for example are cheap and easy to make.

Cheap and fun craft ideas like these are simple to make.

Cheap and fun craft ideas like these are simple to make.

If you want to know how to make them, please see the following link. There are also other ideas on this site that can be used: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2014/11/jfekw.html

Once you have the tree and decorations up, you’ll start thinking about food and drink over the Christmas period. The Recycling Team can’t stress enough how useful the Love Food Hate Waste message is. Figures show that Britons throw out the equivalent of 2m turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74m mince pies.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

If you’re unsure of what to do with leftover turkey, vegetables, mince pies or the odd spare Christmas pudding, then fear not, there is a website that can help with all of these things. The Love Food Hate Waste website has been set up to inform and educate people about the enormous waste of food that goes on everyday. There’s also an enormous amount of recipe ideas which everyone will find very useful, see the link here: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

And don’t forget to compost. All manner of peelings are generated over Christmas which your compost bin will devour. Its simple and easy.

As for the drink, whilst that will keep and won’t be in danger of going off quickly, there are things to think about when it comes to the packaging of those drinks. Christmas generates enormous amounts of plastic and glass bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.

Bottles, cans, paper, glass and cardboard only. No food or garden waste please.

Bottles, cans, paper, glass and cardboard only. No food or garden waste please as that causes problems here at the sorting facility.

These can all be recycled using your recycling bin. One thing to remember however is to ensure everything that goes in there is clean and contamination free. Please do not use the recycling bin for food waste, garden waste and also for textiles. The latter can go into a textile bank or a charity shop. Please use the following link to find out exactly what can go into your recycling bin: http://goo.gl/rqh90J

After prolonged partying you eventually make it through Christmas and start the new year with lots of optimism. One of the first things to think about is when you take your real Christmas tree down, what are you going to do with it? Well, if you live near a Lewisham park, why not bring it along and leave it at a designated spot. From here we will collect it and turn it into mulch which will be used on the parks and gardens across the borough. The list of parks where trees can be left is on the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/12/08/christmas-tree-recycling-locations/

And finally, there’s just the New Years resolution to make. You could start the year on a much greener footing and say that you will recycle more this year and make all efforts to stop contamination of the recycling bins? Did we mention this was a problem?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Lewisham residents.


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Recycling team busy at SELCHP’s annual Open House

On Sunday 20th September, the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) plant in New Cross, opened its doors to the general public again as part of the annual Open House event that happens across the capital. For those who are not familiar with what SELCHP does or what it is, put simply, this is where all of the rubbish that goes into your black bin ends up. Once inside the SELCHP plant, all of this rubbish is incinerated.

The burning of rubbish and all of the processes involved with this is clearly something that many people are curious about as the event is very well attended. This is why Lewisham Council’s Recycling Team also attended so that they could speak to many of the attendee’s about waste and in particular recycling and composting.

Kate and Paddy from the Council's Recycling Team spoke to over 100 people throughout the day.

Kate and Paddy from the Council’s Recycling Team spoke to over 100 people throughout the day.

The dates of the Open House event fell quite fortuitously in the middle of Lewisham’s consultation ‘Let’s Talk Rubbish’ which started on the 21st July 2015 and runs until October 18th. The Council would like to know what you think about potential changes that are being proposed across the borough. Are you in favour of fortnightly refuse collections? Would you like to see food collections starting? And what about a subscription garden waste service, would that be something you’d participate in? If you haven’t filled in a survey yet, click on the following link, watch the short video and then tell us what you think: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/Consultation-on-waste-and-recycling-changes.aspx

The recycling trailer was kept busy all day long with inquiries about recycling and composting. This gave Kate and Paddy from Lewisham’s Recycling Team a chance to speak more in depth about the on going consultation to the Lewisham residents that attended. It was also an opportunity to tell people about the change in policy of collecting textiles. This is something that we want everyone in the borough to be made aware of. If you have textiles that you no longer want,  please use a textile bank to dispose of them or a charity shop. Otherwise they will be soiled and ruined beyond use and classed as contamination if they go inside of your recycling bin.


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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!


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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.


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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


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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!