Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

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The Recycling Team attend the annual SELCHP Open Day

On Sunday 22nd September Lewisham’s Recycling Team took their recycling trailer to the SELCHP Energy from Waste Plant’s Open Day in New Cross. The team were there promoting the Recycling Service and spoke to over 120 people from all over London.

Dave and the Recycling Trailer in action.

Dave and the recycling trailer in action.

SELCHP is the destination for all of the refuse that is put into Lewisham’s black wheelie bins and 17 of our trucks visit there up to 3 times every day. It doesn’t just serve Lewisham, it is actually used by other local authorities and businesses from all over the South East and it can burn in excess of 420,000 tonnes of refuse every year. SELCHP has helped Lewisham have one of the lowest landfill rates in the country.

SELCHP stands for South East London Combined Heat and Power and it is more than just an incinerator. The heat produced in the process is used to create steam, which in turn creates electricity and powers approximately 48,000 homes every year.

Watch this short video about SELCHP

Now as great is it sounds, incineration isn’t perfect. When we incinerate things we lose them for ever (apart from some metals) and that means that we will never have that particular resource any more. Think of all of the paper, cardboard and plastic that has quite literally gone up in smoke!

So this is where the Recycling Team come in… If we can divert good quality recyclables away from the black bin and into the green one we will not only be doing our bit for the planet’s natural resources, but we will also be saving Lewisham Council a lot of money. Lewisham has to pay a fee for every tonne of waste that is deposited there, but we get to dispose of our recyclables for free at the Bywaters MRF in Bow.

So remember – only use your black bin for refuse and make sure to use your green bin for all of your good quality recyclables.


Sustainable Transport Awareness Day

As part of Climate Week, which took place from 4–10 March, Lewisham Council organised a day raising awareness of the links between transport choices and climate change.

On Friday 8th March, Teams from Lewisham Council, in conjunction with the Met Police, put on a range of free activities and services in the car park of Sainsbury’s, New Cross.

Despite the persistent rain on the day, the event attracted local people and shoppers who were passing. Many were intrigued by the power that could be generated by a bicycle which  was organised by Electric Pedals. This brought out people’s competitive spirit as they were encouraged to see who could produce the biggest surge of energy and see what that would be able to power. The winner was Billy, who managed to generate a peak of 266 kw/h which would be enough to power a large flat-screen TV. However, this surge of effort would have to be continually maintained for some time if anyone wanted to  watch their favourite TV programme.

Shoppers were seeing how much power they could generate on a bike.

Shoppers were seeing how much power they could generate on a bike.

Also popular was the free bike service and repair provided by Bicyclenation and the cycle security marking and registration carried out by the Lewisham Safer Transport Team. Many people have a bike that may have not been used for some time or has been put away because of a minor defect. Having the bike checked for its roadworthiness and repairing these faults helps to improve road safety as well as encouraging more journeys to be made by bike instead of a motor vehicle. This has positive benefits for local air quality, climate change and the health of the cyclists.

Bicyclenation were on hand to make minor repairs and service peoples bikes.

Bicyclenation were on hand to make minor repairs and service peoples bikes.

Vehicle emissions testers were also on hand to check what was coming out of cars’ exhausts. Motor vehicles are the main cause of local air pollution in urban areas such as Lewisham. Therefore, it is important that vehicles are maintained properly between MOTs so that emissions are kept low. The Environmental Protection Team were also there to provide advice and provide free items that can help to reduce vehicle emissions. These included tyre pressure gauges, air freshener reminders to use the car less, water bottles for cyclists and maps on local public transport connections. One of the most useful items that was given out on the day was an emergency rain poncho for when people get caught out while walking in the rain!

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Be a Recycling Superhero!!

Recycling Superheroes – Inspirational examples from our younger generation!

Recycling Super Heroes have previously been found in local schools.  More  are needed!!

Children wanting to become Super Heroes, from year 5, are asked to tell us in no more than 100 words why they should be made one!

There will be prizes for the most inspiring!

Examples of last years winners:

’I recycle, reuse and reduce every day. I recycle when me and my family fill up our recycling bag and empty it out in a recycling bin.  I reuse by mending old clothes or sending them to charity. I reduce when I turn things off that aren’t being used.  I also have a job in school to turn things off. I even wrote an Eco-code for my school to remember.  If I was a Recycling Superhero I would promote walking, cycling, and recycling to people around me, like sending leaflets to my neighbours.

Thank you for reading. From Fadekemi Adeleye’

‘My name is Mya Musundi and I’m sure I’d make the best Recycling Superhero. I am the complete eco warrior. I love recycling, I make my own dolls houses out of recycled materials and help my Mum sort what goes in recycling. Me and my Mum also make natural slug repelents for the plants, out of recycled materials, egg shells. If I was a recycling super I would organise an event where everybody can come and make new things out of recycled materials.

That’s why I should be a recycling hero.

Please send your ‘Heroic’ story to to let us know about something you’ve already done, by Friday 15th of February!!!

We look forward to hearing from you!


Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Recycle for Lewisham have put together some tips and hints on how you can have a great Christmas and be good to the environment. This will of course involve the 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

There are many aspects of green thinking to consider when it comes to Christmas. For example, where to shop, what to buy and the type of Christmas tree to get and from where to get it amongst many others. Most of these decisions will have some impact on the environment.

Having a Green Christmas ©Digitalart

The following list is a bit of a guide and may help with some of those Christmas decisions,

  1. Where possible try to shop locally. If you are shopping for food then Lewisham does have some great markets for fruit and veg, the following link has more details . As well as these there are other markets and farmers markets to consider, more details can be found on the following link Supporting your local shops will also keep your community thriving and put something back into the local economy.
  1. The purchasing of a Christmas tree can leave people wondering what their best options are. Artificial trees may last for years but aren’t recyclable and require manufacturing and use man made materials. Real trees are carbon neutral and can be chipped and composted afterwards so are much better for the environment. Some organisations such as and are involved in supporting good causes and may deliver direct. Recycling points for Christmas trees can be found here
  1. Once you’ve made the decision about your tree, the next thing you might want to think about is decorating it. If you are using fairy light lights, why not consider low energy LED lights? What about using mistletoe, holly with their different coloured berries. Be more creative and consider making your own decorations.
  1. When buying presents, again think about shopping locally if you can. Are the presents that you’re buying good for the environment. Could you buy a wind up radio or wind up mp3 player or similar and can you wrap these in recycled wrapping paper?
  1. Christmas cards can all be recycled, some schools may even take them for a school art projects and they can raise money for some charities if dropped off at the right collections boxes.
  1. Food and drink also plays a large part in the Christmas festivities. This of course generates huge amounts of waste, particularly with paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars and plastic bottles. Please use your recycling bin to collect all these materials. And don’t forget, we can now also collect mixed plastics, beverage cartons (Tetra Paks), textiles, aerosols and shredded paper. Where food is concerned, don’t forget to check out for lots of interesting ideas on using leftovers and don’t forget to compost all these peelings as well.
  1. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Christmas is a time when people receive new electrical appliances and gadgets. If you have an old appliance that still works, why not give it to a charity shop. If the item is broken, why not use one of our WEEE banks to dispose of it or take it to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. See the following link for the locations of our WEEE banks
  1. Finally, if you’re not fully committed to the 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, why not make 2012 the time to start. Your recycling will even generate an income for the Council.

The recycling team at Lewisham Council would also like to say a big thank you to everyone in the borough for supporting all the recycling and environmental services in 2011 and look forward to their support in 2012.


Stay warm this winter through the Lewisham Insulation Partnership

Get your home insulated this winter from as little as zero pence through Lewisham’s new Insulation Partnership!  Lewisham Council is now working with the insulation company Saving Energy Ltd to offer all Lewisham residents the chance to get loft and cavity wall insulation at the lowest possible price.  All Lewisham residents can take advantage of this scheme, regardless of age, personal circumstances, whether their home is rented or owned and who the current energy provider is.

Having loft and cavity wall insulation installed reduces the amount of energy you need to heat your home by preventing much of the heat being lost through the walls and roof.  Around 15% of the heat from the home is lost through the walls, so if you’ve got uninsulated cavity walls at the moment, getting them insulated can make a big difference.  Homes lose about 10% of their heat through the roof, so it’s also worth getting that insulated too.

 The Lewisham Insulation Partnership draws on funding from an energy company obligation known as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) to offer the programme at low or zero cost.  The funding places an obligation on energy companies to help people reduce the cost of their energy bills and their environmental impact, and they all have a target of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions they need to deliver.  Lewisham Council is working with Saving Energy Ltd to use this funding to offer Lewisham residents cavity wall insulation for free.  If people need their lofts insulated they will get the work done for free if they’ve got less than 60mm of insulation already in their home, otherwise the cost will be £179.  Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive that it costs more to have less insulation installed, this is because of how the CERT targets work, so energy companies are incentivised to maximise the CO2 savings and these are higher where there is no insulation in place, than they are in homes which already have some insulation. 

 The survey is free and there is no obligation to proceed with the works.  To book an appointment you just need to call the Saving Energy Ltd booking number on 0800 954 9689, which is free from a landline.