Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Roll out of new recycling bin stickers begins

Work has begun on putting new stickers on all of Lewisham’s recycling bins so that residents will have a clear and easy guide as to what can now be recycled in the borough.

Member of the bin stickering team at work

 From December 2011, the Council started a new contract with the contractor Bywaters in Bow,East London. Under this new contract the Council are able to recycle more materials, which means that you can now recycle, paper, cardboard, glass, cans, plastic bottles, textiles, mixed plastics, shredded paper and beverage cartons (tetra paks). Please make sure all of the above are clean before putting them into your recycling bin.

 The teams that are putting the stickers onto the bins are currently in the Lee area and will be gradually making their way around the rest of the borough to ensure that all residents 240 litre recycling bins receive a sticker. The sticker clearly illustrates exactly what can go into the recycling bins using photographs to ensure we get the message to everyone about the new materials.

 With the Council now receiving an income for everything that is recycled, it is more important than ever for all the residents of the borough to recycle as much of their waste as they can.

With regard to the recycling of textiles, if they are in good condition, we would recommend that they go to a charity shop in the first instance. However, if you feel that they might not be worth giving to a charity shop, then please use your recycling bin.


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Estates recycling update

We’ve previously reported on the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) estates recycling programme http://ow.ly/8s8Tc . With the start of 2012, and the programme well underway and making good progress, it seemed the right time to give an update on the scheme so far.

 This Monday saw the environmental organisation Waste Watch come to the Wearside depot to spend a day with their team of experienced recycling advisors. The day was a chance to refresh the recycling advisors on the issues of health and safety when door knocking and also to learn all about the new estates recycling programme in Lewisham and the new materials that can now be recycled in the borough.  The recycling advisors will also be making a visit to the  Bywaters materials recycling facility this Monday to see what happens to all the materials as they get processed.  This will help them to explain to residents what happens to the materials after they are put in the recycling bin.

New sign and brand new bins on the Sydenham Hill estate

The role of the recycling advisors is to visit 30,000 properties on all estates, small blocks and new developments across the borough. They will be knocking on the doors of estates residents and talking to them about recycling in Lewisham, how you can now recycle beverage cartons, mixed plastics and even textiles.

 As well as the recycling advisors making door to door visits, 5 estates have also been given brand new bins and additional signage in a bid to improve the participation in recycling on those estates as well as to increase the tonnages. Increasing the tonnages will benefit the Council in two ways. Firstly, it will contribute to the overall recycling rate of the borough, but there is also the benefit of it raising an income for the Council. Under the new contract that the Council have with Bywaters, an income is generated for every tonne that is collected – a real incentive for all residents of the borough to recycle.

Another one of the 5 recycling sites on the Sydenham Hill estate

If you are a resident living on an estate, in a small block or new development, you might be receiving a knock on your door from one of the team of recycling advisors soon. If you do receive an estates recycling bag, please use this to recycle paper, cardboard, glass, cans, plastic bottles, mixed plastic, beverage cartons (Tetra Paks), textiles, aerosols and shredded paper.


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Visits to Bywaters and Closed Loop

On 16th December, 2011 a contingent from Lewisham Council visited our new dry recyclables contractor Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd. The contingent included the Mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, Cabinet member for Customer Services, Cllr Susan Wise, Executive Director for Customer Services, Kevin Sheehan and members of staff from the recycling team.

From left to right: Michael Pusey (Bywaters), Kevin Sheehan, Executive Director for Customer Services (Lewisham), John Glover (MD Bywaters), Cllr Susan Wise, Mayor Steve Bullock and David Rumble (Bywaters)

 The visit to the materials recycling facility (MRF) was a chance for everyone to see what happens to the contents of the recycling bins when they are tipped by the Council’s collection vehicles at the east London plant.

 The tour of the MRF was conducted by David Rumble, Bywaters Strategic Development Manager who explained all the different procedures that the materials have to go through to separate everything into its component parts until the final baling process at the end. To ensure that the materials are of a premium quality and therefore command higher prices, Bywaters employ two separate teams of hand sorters who pick and sort from the fast moving conveyers all the items that shouldn’t be on that particular line. The removed materials are then added to another stream for that particular material where again they are collected in bulk and then baled.

View of part of the Bywaters materials recycling facility (MRF)

 Bywaters have been very pleased with what they have received so far from Lewisham. However, that doesn’t mean that we are by any means the perfect recycling borough and always need to be vigilant when it comes to keeping on top of any potential contamination. Bins that are contaminated with food or garden waste will cause big problems at the sorting process as it will be wet and will smell and so ruin any potential for any material that has been collected and stored with it to be recycled.

 We will be working more closely with Bywaters over the contract period to implement measures to improving much of what goes into the recycling bin and also to get more people involved in the process so that we can increase tonnages.

 After the Bywaters trip, the rest of the recycling team went on to visit Closed Loop http://www.closedlooprecycling.co.uk/ in Dagenham who receive plastic bottles from Bywaters. This was a very interesting tour and gave everyone the opportunity to see how all the plastic bottles are dealt with after leaving the MRF process. We witnessed how they were able to separate the lids from the plastic bottles using a tank. In flake form, they were able to separate them as one floated and the other sank. There was a huge emphasis on running all the flakes through as many cleaning processes as possible to make sure every last trace of metal was removed as a great deal of the flakes were destined for the dairy market and the production of new milk bottles.


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Boost for recycling as Lewisham chooses new contractor

Over the last few months, the Council have been involved in a lengthy tendering process to find a new contractor that will take and sort the comingled (mixed) recycling for the next 3 years. The process took several months and attracted a broad range of interest from contractors involved in recycling and waste management that were keen to work with the Council and to process and sell all of its mixed dry recyclables.

Residents have been asking us for some time now about collecting other materials in the recycling bins and green boxes. Materials such as mixed plastics (margarine tubs, yoghurt pots) and beverage cartons (Tetra Paks). This tendering process has enabled us to take those suggestions into consideration and include them in the tender documents.

Click to see full range of new materials for recycling in Lewisham

On October 5th 2011 the Mayor and Cabinet met and agreed to a new contractor taking over from the previous incumbent Veolia. The company that won the contract for the sale and sorting of mixed dry recyclables were Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd who are based in Bow, East London.

What this will mean for the residents of Lewisham is the chance to recycle more materials using their recycling bins, green boxes and in some cases clear recycling sacks. From December the 5th, residents will be able to recycle the usual items such as paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars, cans and plastic bottles. In additional to this however, they will also be able to recycle liquid beverage cartons (aka Tetra Paks) and also mixed plastics (i.e. food containers, trays, cups, cling film, CD’s, meat trays, yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, plastic tubs, party platters, bubble wrap, crisp packets, DVD cases, sandwich packs) – providing that they are clean of course. Empty aerosols are also accepted.

As well as these new materials that can be added to the recycling bins, the Council are also going to be receiving an income for the materials. This means that the more that is collected, the more income that will be generated for the Council. This income can then be used in other service areas.

With the collections starting on Monday, you will be able to start filling your recycling bins and boxes TODAY! in readiness for the new contract.

If you need any further information about the collections, please email recycle@lewisham.gov.uk or call 020 314 7171.


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Green Recycling Estates Bags For Flats

Earlier this year, the Council were successful in a bid to the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and secured funding to purchase 20,000 green recycling estates bags (GREB’s).

Green Recycling Estates Bag

 With the 10,000 GREBS that the Council bought earlier in the year, this means that there will be 30,000 bags available for the delivery to all large estates, small blocks and new developments across the borough.

 The 55 litre bags can be easily stored and folded away when not in use and be used over and over again. The bags will essentially be used for the collecting of clean dry recyclables such as paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, cans and plastic bottles. Once full, residents can use the bags to take their recyclables to their nearest recycling bin on their estate, block or development.

 As well as the new GREB’s, there will be some money available to put new bins on some estates and signage where necessary. The roll out of the bags will begin in January which ties in quite nicely with the new contract which the Council are starting on December 5th with Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd.

 Previously the Council were only able to collect paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars, cans and plastic bottles. However, from December 5th, 2011 more materials will be able to be added including beverage cartons (Tetra Paks), mixed plastics (yoghurt pots and margarine tubs etc.) and textiles. More details about the new contract and materials will be coming up on this blog in due course.

 Housing organisations like Lewisham Homes, Phoenix, Pinnacle, Hyde Housing, London & Quadrant and Affinity Sutton have been contacted and are on board with the project and will help to spread the message to their tenants.

 Keep checking this blog for more announcements on the new materials that will be available for recycling.


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Why can’t I recycle ….

A question we often get asked as recycling officers is “Why can’t I recycle certain items?”  

In this posting I’m going to explain why we can’t recycle a couple of items that we most commonly get asked about – and what the alternative uses are for these items.    

An example of "mixed plastics"

 

Mixed Plastics
There are a couple of reasons why we can’t recycle mixed plastics:    

1. Our contractor (Veolia), who sorts and separates all the recyclable material for Lewisham Council stipulate that they want plastic bottles only.    

2. There is a very limited market or demand for this kind of material, as it is of a poorer quality than the plastics used to make plastic bottles.    

3. A small amount of mixed plastics are made out of the similar plastic to plastic bottles. But it is difficult for our collection crews to then identify if they cannot be recycled, as they would have to look for numbers on the bottom of all plastic packaging.    

By just accepting plastic bottles we make sure we receive the best quality plastic –  and it makes it easier for residents to identify what can be recycled.    

    

We are still working with Veolia to find a consistent and stable market for mixed plastics. As soon as we do, we’ll let you know and start collecting them. We want to be able to collect as many materials as possible!    

You can recycle mixed plastics at the Sainsburys in New Cross and at the Sava Centre in Sydenham, where they have specific mixed plastic bins. Alternatively you could make plastic dogs!   

Shredded Paper    

The problem with recycling shredded paper is that the Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) that we use uses automatic sorting equipment to sort through the vast amount of recycling.     

The machine recognises many different types of material, but has difficulty distinguishing small or shredded paper.  Because of the numerous processes that the material goes through, shredded paper often gets mixed up with crushed glass. This affects the quality of the glass which is produced as a result of this process. Shredded paper can also cause problems by jamming the machinery in the plant.    

Shredded paper is great to use in your home composting bin as well as for animal litter. Alternatively you could make furniture from shredded paper you have hanging around …