Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

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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:

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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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:

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:

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Green Police out in force again at People’s Day 2013

The 2013 People’s Day saw Lewisham’s recycling team out in force again as Green Police – serving and protecting the environment.

PC Brinson and PC Swift out on patrol at People's Day

PC Brinson and PC Swift out on patrol at People’s Day

This year we were fighting the environmental battle on three fronts. On one stand we were tackling recycling and waste management issues, on another we were running composting workshops, whilst on a third stand, we worked in partnership with Love Food Hate Waste to run cooking demo’s and advise people how to get the most out of buying, cooking and storing food.  Also helping that day was Ed Van Reenen from Bywaters where all of the boroughs recycling is processed.

The Green Police Recycling Team with Monica and her daughter Lilian from Love Food Hate Waste.

The Green Police Recycling Team with Monica and her daughter Lilian from Love Food Hate Waste and Ed from Bywaters.

With so many people visiting us, we took the opportunity to speak to them about the new Service Standards that are now coming in to force which some people were still unaware of. The Service Standards are being rolled out borough-wide and are designed to standardise both the refuse and recycling service. Under the Standards, residents will have to bring their refuse and recycling bins to the inside boundary of their property. As people are now reducing their waste considerably these days, our crews will assume that if the bin isn’t at the boundary of the property, then the resident is either on holiday or doesn’t want a collection that week.

As well as all of the above, the recycling team were raffling off some environmentally friendly products to lucky winners. The prizes were either a wireless meter reader that tells you how much electricity you are using, a device for turning all your gadgets and electrical devices off from standby or a wind up radio and torch.

A lucky winner receives an energy monitor from PC Parkinson.

A lucky winner receives an energy monitor from one of our green police officers

Regular draws were made throughout the afternoon and many people went home very happy with a prize that will help them reduce their electricity bills or save them buying batteries for their radio.

Even in the searing heat, the Green Police still managed to talk to lots of residents and many cooking demonstrations also took place. Overall a very productive day for the team with no arrests being made for people recycling the wrong things.


A rubbish diet that we can guarantee will work!

With Summer on its way, many of us consider going on a diet, shedding a few pounds to feel healthier or to try and fit into last years swim suit. This year, Lewisham’s recycling team thought it might be an idea to try out a diet with a difference. We have set a challenge to Deptford based childminder, Charlotte Kelly- Skinner, to try out a ‘rubbish diet’- on her wheelie bin!

Over the next eight weeks, Charlotte will see if she can reduce the amount of rubbish she places into her grey domestic refuse bin. Inspired by colleagues in St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Suffolk, where a number of residents have been starving their rubbish bins and helping decrease the overall amount the council sends to landfill (in Lewisham’s case, incineration).

Charlotte Kelly- Skinner, Deptford based childminder pictured with Kate Parkinson from Lewisham's Recycling team.

Charlotte Kelly- Skinner (right), Deptford based childminder being ably assisted by one of Lewisham Council’s Waste Prevention Officers 

So what does a ‘rubbish diet’ entail? Well, really very little effort is needed. Unlike other diets, you won’t have to change your eating habits. Just look at our top five tips listed below and if you start trying these out, you too can join in and slim down your bin so its in tip top shape for summer!

Top five tips to slim your bin

  • If you have an outside space, get yourself a compost bin and start composting! You can place your uncooked food waste in these as well as garden clippings, paper waste etc. Lewisham Council provides one free compost bin to each household so go on line for all information about compost bins at or contact our call centre on 020 8314 7171 to get your hands on one
  • Shop with waste in mind– Start to plan meals, making a list of the ingredients needed and stick to this when shopping. Always take your own bag and try and buy fruit and vegetables which are unpackaged.
  • Think about your food waste– Try not to cook more than you need by measuring quantities before cooking. If you do have leftovers, cool, cover and save them in the fridge or freezer. See for more info.
  • Ditch the disposable– Could you do without buying cling film and silver foil? If you use disposable nappies for your little ones, consider cloth nappies even if you just buy a reusable nappy for trips to the swimming pool, this will help to reduce the waste you produce.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle- if you have done all of the above, most things left over can go into the recycling bin. For a full list of the things which can be recycled in Lewisham, please visit:

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Lewisham Council’s garden waste satellite collection service ends on 25 November

The green waste collection points are located at:

  • Riddons Road junction with Mayeswood Road
  • Girton Road car park, Sydenham
  • Laurence House car park, Catford
  • Kitto Road, outside Hill Station Café (previously Café Orange), Telegraph Hill

Plant material should be no bigger than 4 inches in diameter (logs, large branches etc.) and green waste can be brought in plastic sacks or, preferably, reusable bags.

The things that we don’t want you to bring along are:

  • Kitchen waste (food waste, peelings etc.)
  • Soil
  • Turf
  • Stones, rocks, bricks etc.
  • Japanese Knotweed

November 25th is your final day for dropping off your green waste at our satellite sites.

Proof of address and ID must be shown to enable you to use the service and no trade waste, trailers or open back vehicles are accepted.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “The satellite collection points have been a great success this year – thanks to all the residents who dropped off more than four hundred tonnes garden waste! Another great way to make sure your garden waste goes to good use is to start your own compost bin. Why not contact the Council for advice or to ask about attending a workshop.”

You can still dispose of garden waste for free throughout the year at the Reuse and Recycling Centre on Landmann Way, New Cross, SE14:  Find out more about Landmann Way and the Council’s garden waste kerbside service:

You can purchase 10 heavy-duty green garden waste sacks from the Council for £10 from your local library or through contacting CallPoint on 020 8314 7171. When a bag is full, you simply ring the number on the side of the bag and arrange a collection time with the Call Centre.

Why not take up the Council’s offer of a free compost bin and free composting lessons. The Council is doing this to reduce the amount of food and garden waste that gets thrown into black refuse bins. You are able to put a variety of things into your compost bin including grass cuttings, raw vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds.

Ring CallPoint on 020 8314 7171 to request a free composting bin. Email to register for a free composting lesson.

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Love food? Hate waste? Like composting?

Lewisham Council is offering free workshops that you, your family or your friends may be interested in. One theme is home composting and the other is Love Food Hate Waste. Short workshop will give you lots of tips and information on saving money and using food wisely to ensure you waste as little as possible.  On top of this, you will learn how to compost properly so that you can turn kitchen and garden waste into compost that can be used on your garden. The dates and locations are as follows:

Learn to compost

Goldsmiths Community Centre,

Castillon Road, SE6 1QD

Love Food Hate Waste and Composting

Wed 25th July

Recycling stall – 10am to 1pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop 1.30 to 2.45pm

LFHW workshop – 3pm – 4.15pm

Wed 1st Aug

Recycling stall – 1pm to 2.50pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop 3pm to 4.15pm

LFHW workshop – 4.45pm to 6pm

Composting workshop – 6.30pm to 7.45pm

Love food? Hate waste?

Fri 3rd Aug

LFHW workshop – 9.45am to 11am

Composting workshop – 11.30am to 12.45 pm

LFHW workshop – 1.30 to 2.45 pm

Recycling stall – 3pm to 4.15pm (this is not a workshop)

Wed 8th Aug

Recycling stall – 1.30 – 4.20pm (this is not a workshop)

LFHW workshop – 4.30 to 5.45pm

Composting workshop – 6.15pm to 7.30pm

Fri 10th Aug

LFHW workshop – 10am to 11.15am

Recycling stall – 11.30 to 1.45pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop – 2.15pm to 3.30pm


Learn to compost

Wed 15th Aug

Composting workshop – 11.30am to 12.45pm

Recycling/LFHW stall – 1.30 – 4pm (this is not a workshop)


But wait there’s more!!!

Saturday 1 September

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve – Composting workshops only

Forest Hill

SE23 3TQ (entrance is opposite Tyson Road)

9.30–10.45am or


Monday 3 September

Dacres Wood – Composting workshops only

Dacres Rd,

Forest Hill

SE23 2NZ (entrance is adjacent to Homefield House)



Downham Library – Composting workshops only

within the Downham Health & Leisure Centre,

7–9 Moorside Road,


Wednesday 5 September

5–6.15pm or 7–8.15pm

Thursday 6 September,

11am–12.15pm or 1–2.15pm


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Council staff help primary school build compost bin from disused pallets

Many schools across the borough compost their food waste and children are very accustomed to placing the skins from their bananas and their apple cores into a compost bin at the end of break time.  However, composting at one local school – Horniman Primary, was so successful that they ran out of space- with their compost bin overflowing with fruit, vegetable peelings and shredded paper.

 The dilemma facing the school council was what they should do with all their kitchen and garden waste,  so under guidance from their class teacher- Mrs Brand, they put pen to paper and wrote to the Environment and Community Development (ECD) team requesting help. 

Rosie Holland (Horniman School) with a Waste Prevention Officer and Martin Warner (Pest Control)

 Keen to encourage the school to reuse and reduce their waste, members from the ECD team offered a couple of hours of their time to build the school a new, larger capacity compost bin.  Using old pallets accrued from deliveries to the teams Wearside offices, they set about building the new bin aided by an officer from Lewisham’s pest control team who made the bin rodent proof. Also helping was the schools gardener- Rosie Holland.

Reusing and recycling old pallets to construct the compost bin.

Two members of the school council Jamal Suleiman and Isabella Lloyd were amongst the first to use the new bin, starting it off by putting in garden waste.

Children from Horniman Primary School start to use the new composter made from the pallets.

If you want to start composting, Lewisham Council still has some compost bins to give away for free. If you would like one, please email  If you want to find out more about composting, you can also attend one of our free composting workshops which are being run on 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th of September.  If you are interested, please email