Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Making Your Christmas Greener Each Year (Pt 2)

In Part 1 of our Christmas blog we looked at trees, food and wrapping paper. Now for Part 2, looking at  unwanted Christmas jumpers, recycling and reusing, alternative presents and what to do with electrical waste.

  1. That Christmas jumper or unwanted item of clothing

Love Your Clothes estimates that over £300 million was spent on Christmas jumpers in 2015; and if that wasn’t bad enough, they also said that 40% of buyers would only be wearing the jumpers once or twice.

Christmas jumper

Our textiles banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

If you are the lucky/unlucky (delete as you wish) recipient of a Christmas jumper or an item of clothing that cannot be taken back, you might want to look at other options. If you are considering buying a Christmas jumper for someone, you should firstly ask yourself if this person would really wear it? If you don’t think they would, then maybe you should buy something else? If you are reading this on Christmas day or after and have received something that looks like the image above, then there are numerous charity shops and clothing banks https://goo.gl/LnEbFS that can help. You could also try selling items of clothing on EBay or use Freecycle. Or what about this: https://wasteaid.org.uk/happy-christmas-jumper-swap/

  1. Recycling and Reusing

I think we can all agree that Christmas generates more waste than any other time of the year? More food is purchased, more drink and more presents. Much of what we think of as waste generated from this is actually a very useful resource. Cardboard, paper, glass bottles and jars (all clean), tins and cans and plastic bottles (all clean) can all be recycled. The green recycling bins or bins with the green lids accept all of these items. They don’t however accept food or garden waste. If you have a compost bin, please use this for all your fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, toilets rolls and even shredded paper. More information on recycling can be found on the Council’s website: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx

Please make sure that you put your bin out at the boundary of your property on collection day as well. Remember, collection times will change over the Christmas period due to the bank holidays. The collections will be a day behind for both refuse and recycling. If you have additional recycling, please use a clear sack to contain this.

  1. Presents

This can be a tricky area for those wishing to do something more environmentally friendly this year. Eartheasy.com say ‘look for locally made gifts. Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known.’ And what about choosing gifts made from recycled materials, like the examples here: http://eartheasy.com/give_recycled.htm

christmas-presents

There are also charitable gifts. Oxfam have a huge choice of gifts that benefit others in different parts of the world: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped

All of the above are just a few examples that we have found and many people will have their own ideas. If you do, please share in our comments section below.

  1. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Energy-efficient LED Lighting: If you have lights that are over 10 years old, it will be more efficient to replace them with newer, LED bulbs. This can save you up to 90% or more on electricity and they will last longer than traditional bulbs.

Replace Burnt Out Bulbs: Perfectly good lights are often thrown away when all that is required is a change of a single bulb. It may be worth spending time to find and replace the non-working bulbs or invest in a bulb tester (that can be shared between multiple families).

Utilise Timers: Might be worth considering putting your Christmas lights on timers? If you have lights adorning trees or lights outside, don’t count on remembering to turn them off after a long day. If you plug the lights into a timer, that will remember for you. Light timers can be found at any hardware store.

This time of year will probably see huge increases in consumer electronic waste as old unwanted electrical items often get consigned to the bin or the back of a cupboard. Radios, hairdryers, MP3 players, phones, game consoles and many other electronic goods maybe be looking at being discarded around this time of the year. If you find yourself in the position of not knowing what to do with an old electronic device, click on the following link for more information: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/dispose-of/Pages/small-electricals-mobile-phones.aspx

WEEE ... What happens to your electrical items that go for recycling?

Please recycle your old waste electrical and electronic equipment

Larger items of electronic waste can be taken to our Reuse and Recycle Centre in New Cross, SE14: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/landmann-way.aspx

Also, try thinking about buying presents that don’t require batteries and using rechargeable batteries if this cannot be avoided.

Christmas decorations: Christmas is a good time to get creative around the home. The internet is full of creative ways you can decorate your house like the You Tube video in part 1 of this article (see previous blog post). One simple idea that you can do is make home made stars by cutting shapes out of unwanted cardboard and decorating with last year’s wrapping paper, or even make them out of plastic bottles. All you need to do is cut out the bottom of your bottle, and cover with spray paint, acrylic paint or glitter glue. Just make sure the rest goes in the recycling bin! Here are some more ideas:

That just leaves us to wish everyone in Lewisham and all readers of this blog an enjoyable Christmas holiday and a happy New Year in 2017.


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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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Plastic recycling – the do’s and don’ts

When it comes to plastics and recycling, the picture can be a bit confusing for residents all wanting to do the right thing. There are just so many different types of plastics in the world, plastics that people use everyday, which many people assume can be recycled.

Plastics come in all shapes and sizes and whilst we do ask for all your milk bottles and plastic bottles, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want every type of plastic.

So what are the plastics we don’t want? The following list details some of the items that Viridor, our current contractor and materials recovery facility operator told us they can’t recycle:

  • Laminated plastics – these can go into your refuse bin
  • CDs and cases and their transparent sleeves – charity shops or the refuse bin
  • Childrens toys – to the local Reuse and Recycling Centre or toy libary
  • Electrical appliances – to Reuse & Recycling Centre or a WEEE bank
  • Video and music cassettes – these can go into your refuse bin
Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents, electrical items cannot be recycled in your green bin

Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents and electrical items cannot be recycled using your green bin

New technologies have made video and music cassettes redundant but many people still have lots of these at home. These are made up of plastic, metal and tape which becomes entangled in the sorting equipment if they end up in the recycling bin. We don’t have any facilities to collect these and the nearest place to process and recycle them is in Bristol.

There are also other ways to make use of some items as well. For example CDs can be used as bird scarers if you’re a gardener or have an allotment. Freecycle could also be seen as a way finding a home for these items as local community projects might be able to use them (often projects like things with different textures and colours to create mosaics for example) or pass them on to friends and family, or sell them on online sites.

Another item that we’d like to see out of the recycling bin is clothing and textiles. Whilst we have been collecting them in the recycling bin when we were with a different contractor, the time has come to change this. We are now asking residents not to use this route and instead use our textile banks or your local charity shops.

Please take clothing to a textile banks or a charity shop

Please take clothing to a textile bank or a charity shop and avoid using your recycling bin

This is because the quality is massively reduced when clothes and textiles are put into the bin. After leaving the bin they are tipped into a truck and then tipped again and sorted at the materials recovery facility (MRF). This isn’t what you’d call a very clean operation and as you can imagine, the clothes get very dirty, smelly and reduced in quality and value. By placing textiles in our textile banks you can be sure someone will be able to enjoy the benefits of your generosity. Visit this link to see where our textile banks are, http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/textile-recycling/Pages/Textile-recycling-banks.aspx

As a general rule of thumb regarding recycling, we say that if it’s not on the sticker on your recycling bin, then please put the item into your refuse bin.

Full details here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx


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New locks coming to a recycling bin near you!

If you take your recycling to large communal bins, over the next few months, you may notice new, more secure locks appearing on the recycling bins that you use.

Locks on bins

Why do we need locks on recycling bins?

Most residents are very careful to ensure that the right things go into the right bins. Unfortunately though, some bins still do get items put into them that can’t be recycled in Lewisham- black bin bags being one of the biggest culprits!

The new locks will prevent the whole lid from being opened, making the dumping of non recycling items  like filled black sacks, much more difficult. Lids will remain the same, most of them with slots which can be lifted so that acceptable recyclable items such as cartons & tins (rinsed of any food), empty aerosols, clothing, glass and folded card and paper can be placed through.

If you live on an estate and use communal recycling facilities, you should get a leaflet through your door soon to tell you more about this. There is also a competition which you can enter to win a shopping voucher- so keep an eye out for it on your door mat!

If you need any more information about what you can place into your recycling bin, please visit our website www.lewisham.gov.uk/recycling . If you want to know more about the bin locks, please email Kate.parkinson@lewisham.gov.uk or Kristina.binns@lewisham.gov.uk


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Forget Turtle Doves and Leaping Lords – here’s our 12 tips of Christmas……

After three, 1, 2, 3

On the first day of Christmas my true love……..

OK, there’s no need to break into song, but as an alternative to this festive ditty, the Recycle for Lewisham team have done away with swimming swans and piping pipers and are offering our very own 12 tips of Christmas.  These are just a few things that you as a Lewisham resident can do to make your yuletide that bit greener and better for the environment.  So let’s get started…

1. Make sure you have access to a recycling bin over Christmas so that you’re able to recycle all your cans, paper, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed plastics and beverage cartons. You can order a new recycling bin by clicking on the following link: http://goo.gl/UFGktq

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

2. Transform your Christmas leftovers with these inventive roast turkey sandwich ideas.

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

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

Turkey, Cream Cheese and Bacon Sandwich – Smoky bacon and chive cream cheese make this a perfect Boxing Day breakfast or if you are feeling a little healthier, how about making a Turkey, Watercress and Apple Sandwich – Thinly sliced apples lend a crisp sweetness to this tasty treat.

3. Once the presents have been opened, turkey eaten and the Christmas tree is looking a bit bare, remember it can have a new lease of life by taking it to one of 12 Christmas tree drop off points at local parks around the borough where it will be turned into mulch: http://goo.gl/wFk3LE

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

4. Why buy all that expensive wrapping paper when newspaper and magazines will do just the same? Why not add some string and ribbons and a home-made tag as well and be more creative this Christmas.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

5. Has someone just given you a beautifully wrapped present, with lovely paper and ribbons? Unwrap it carefully and save the paper and decorations to use later!

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

6. Do you need to make space for all of the new DVDs, CDs and books that you will be receiving this Christmas? Why not donate your old ones to your local charity shop, or if they are a classic titles you can make a bit of cash by selling them at car boot sales or online using sites such as Amazon and Play.com

Sell or giveaway old books and CD's that you no longer want.

Sell or giveaway old books and CD’s that you no longer want.

7. Did you get a Christmas jumper or item of clothing that you can’t see yourself wearing? Not to worry, these can be reused through a charity shop or deposited at one of the many textile banks across the borough:  See locations here:  http://goo.gl/i38qmY

Our textiles banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

Our textile banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

8. Tired of trying to eat up all those left over roasted vegetables after Christmas? Turn it into a delicious soup and freeze it for later – see the link below but remember, you can use all sorts of roasted veg for this! http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes/roasted-sweet-potato-soup-paprika

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

9. Plan on having cheese platters out at your Christmas parties? Always place out less than what you think is needed and keep the rest in the fridge – you can always top up the plate if needed later. If you’ve got too much left over, you can even freeze cheese either as a whole block or grated… it’s up to you!

Don't eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

Don’t eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

10. Christmas is the perfect time for getting that compost bin. With all the food preparation that will happening, you’ll need somewhere to deposit all those peelings from the fruit and vegetables.  It could be the start of your New Years resolution to start being greener. The compost bins are free as well: http://goo.gl/ub4Wc6

Mr Compost says 'Come along and learn how to make some good quality compost for your garden.'

Mr Compost says ‘Why not get a compost bin this Christmas and new year and start composting.’

11. Some Christmas cards are too nice to throw away, so why don’t you turn them into gift tags to use the following Christmas. It takes just minutes to do, and with a bit of care they can come out looking every bit as nice as ones you can buy in the shops.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards - in the New Year of course.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards – in the New Year of course.

12. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run. Broken small appliances can be taken to one of our WEEE banks  http://goo.gl/73tm3k  or our Reuse and Recycling Centre:  http://goo.gl/n6NbrO

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.


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WEEE Man lords it up at Mayors show in London

The weather wasn’t exactly kind to everyone that participated in this years Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London. The London Borough of Lewisham, or should I say WEEE Man was invited to be a part of the walking ‘float’ that represented recycling in London.

WEEE Man among friends before the parade through the City of London.

WEEE Man among friends before the parade through the City of London.

The rain held off right up to the point when the whole thing was about to start and then on cue, down it came. This didn’t deter the hardy participants though, they were made of much tougher stuff. In fact some were made out of wheelie bins, others made of plastic bags and our very own WEEE Man was made of circuit boards and other electronic paraphernalia. Nonetheless, everyone marched the 4 mile route within the City of London and took in all the high fives and cheering support from those that lined the streets.

WEEE Man meets giant robot made out of wheelie bins.

WEEE Man meets giant robot made out of wheelie bins.

Yes, despite the meteorological mishaps, the crowds turned out in their thousands to witness all manner of floats, vehicles and processions of people representing the military or coming dressed as something from the film industry or even drumming bin men. We were float number 59 and I don’t think this was anywhere near the middle of the parade.

Making friends with Cyber Men.

Making friends with Cyber Men.

WEEE Man of course used the occasion to mingle with some very familiar figures. Before the parade started, he was seen having a chat with some Stormtroopers, then grabbing a quick word with some Ghostbusters before talking to a couple of Cyber Men. I think a couple of Dr Who’s were also spotted around those streets on the day.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!

Overall, the giant iron, big battery, enormous energy efficient light bulb, WEEE Man, drumming bin men, giant plastic bottle, big walking TV and the huge wheelie bin robot all gave a good account of themselves which I hope served to raise the profile of recycling and reuse in London and across the country – the BBC did broadcast it to the nation. A fun day out despite the rain.


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Working with recycling crews to tackle contamination

Over the last few weeks, the recycling department has been going out with crews to see some of the issues they face whilst carrying out their collection duties. We are trying to work closer with the crews to tackle the main issue of contamination as it causes the most problems for the Council.

The recycling crews have been told to check the recycling bins before they are loaded into the truck to ensure that everything in them conforms to the sticker which every household should have on their bin. They are looking out for items such as black sacks which are a problem as the crews don’t know what’s inside the sack. This could range from food and nappy waste through to green garden waste.

The crews are working together to tackle issues with contamination.

The crews are working together to tackle issues with contamination.

All these are a problem for a number of reasons. Food and garden waste is wet and soggy and will start to smell if it’s been left in a wheelie bin for over a week. If this isn’t spotted, or a resident tries to hide the waste underneath the recycling, then it will get tipped into a recycling truck.

If this happens, the waste will be compacted and the wet, smelling contaminants will spread throughout the load and render the hard work of other recyclers void as much of the recycling won’t be used and will instead have to go for incineration.

As well as garden, food and nappy waste, many people think that items such as wood can be recycled at the materials recovery facility. This is incorrect. Whilst wood can be recycled by being chipped and turned into other products, putting it into the recycling bins is not the right way of achieving this. If wood, broken brollies, old electrical equipment, baby’s buggy’s, pieces of furniture and polystyrene amongst many other items are put into the recycling bins, then the bin is being contaminated.

"It's all about the team work."

Steve’s team collects the large bins on estates.

When this happens, our crew will tag the bin so that the resident is aware of the issue. The address is taken down and a letter is sent to the resident explaining why the bin wasn’t collected and what they need to do. If the contamination behaviour continues, then another letter is distributed. If a third letter is distributed following the continuation of the contamination, the Council will take action and remove the bin entirely. A letter will be sent to the resident notifying them of this action.

The taking away of the bin however is a last resort and we’d prefer to work with residents in the first instance to get them using the bins correctly before we get to this stage. As a general rule of thumb for those that aren’t sure of what can be recycled, we say that if the item that you want to recycle doesn’t appear on the sticker of the bin, then please don’t put it into your recycling bin and use your regular refuse bin instead.