Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


New push locks on communal recycling bins

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.


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 have got a leaflet through your door to tell you more about this. If you missed it – see below!

LPA SLAM LOCK leaflet_modified01

If you need any more information about what you can place into your recycling bin, please visit our website  If you want to know more about the bin locks, please email or

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Rain, sun and more rain at the Bellingham Festival

This weekend the Recycling team made yet another appearance on the Lewisham festival circuit. The Bellingham Festival was held on Saturday 28th June at Bellingham Green.

Table at the ready!

Table at the ready!

The event was arranged by Phoenix Housing and was a celebration of life in the ward. Local choirs sang, knick knacks were sold and a good time was had by all. But it nearly didn’t happen. At approximately 11am the heavens opened and it looked like the day would be a total wash out. Thankfully, it was only a brief downpour and we were able to get in a good 3 hours of festivities.

But then at 2.45 disaster struck! The rain came and this time it wasn’t alone, it brought some thunder with it too. People tried to brave it but it was relentless and we all got absolutely soaked!

In any case everybody enjoyed the day and we spoke to over 30 people about recycling and composting. So we couldn’t really ask for much more than that. Could we?

Next stop – People’s Day. See you then.

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A day in the sun at the Rushey Green Festival

Sunday the 8th June was an absolute scorcher and two members of the recycling team braved the heat to man a stall at the Rushey Green Festival that took place at the Ladywell Arena.


Rushey Green Festival 2


Saved by the shade!

Funded by the Rushey Green Ward Assembly and sponsored by Barratts Homes, Hunters Estates  and L&Q the festival was completely organised and hosted by the Rushey Green Time Bank. It was designed to be a family friendly community event with fun activities (and food!) to gather residents for a celebration of local talent and opportunities to meet other local groups and people.

You could even get your bike fixed and learn something more Council services and what’s going on in the ward.

Over 1500 people came along and were entertained by multiple performers  –  ‘Let’s Swing’, ‘Wuntanara’, ‘Heart of Steel’ and Alan Dunn ( from Bob Geldof Band/Boomtown Rats) accompanied by Kirsten Hammond.

Rushey Green Festival 1


People all over Ladywell Arena


If you would like to find out more about the Rushey Green Time Bank follow this link to their website:

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Can we do it? Yes we Can

Lewisham’s Metal Matters campaign has been running for a couple of weeks now and many of you may already have seen this in one form or another. Perhaps you have seen the trucks carrying the huge banners highlighting the importance of recycling tins and cans for example or have seen the JC Decaux signs carrying the posters all across Lewisham. The Council’s official website has also been displaying a huge banner ad with a link connecting you to our recycling page.

JC Decaux signs as seen all across the borough

JC Decaux signs as seen all across the borough

The metal packaging manufacturing industry, recyclers and fillers have teamed up with Lewisham Council to launch the ‘make your metals matter’ recycling campaign, to raise awareness of the importance of metal packaging recycling and to increase the amount collected from households. The campaign is being jointly funded by MetalMatters, an industry partnership comprising the UK’s leading producers, users and recyclers of metal packaging and Recycle for London.

To raise awareness further, we are going to have a launch event in the Lewisham Shopping on Friday 14th March between 10am – 2pm.

The event will be our opportunity to engage with Lewisham shoppers and encourage them further to recycle all their tins and cans including aerosols and foil. Also at the event will be children from Myatt Garden Primary School who will be taking part in an art project to create a unique piece of artwork from tins, cans, bottle tops and ring pulls. The construction of the art project will be taking place in the shopping centre itself and council staff will also be there asking shoppers to join in should they wish.

It is hoped that once the artwork is completed, it will go on to be displayed in the National Gallery. As well as all this activity, we will also be inviting a special guest that will be handing leaflets and talking to shoppers about his own experiences of how much metal matters to him.

If you are going to be in the shopping centre on March 14th between 10am and 2pm, why not pop over to the Metal Matters stand and say hello and find out how you can play your part in increasing the amount of tins, cans, aerosols and foil that can be recycled.

Further information about the recycling of tins, cans, paper, cardboard, mixed plastics, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, beverage cartons can be found on the following link:


Service Standards – A thank you to residents

If you haven’t seen them already, then next time you hear a refuse or recycling vehicle coming down your street, have a look out the window at the new livery on the sides of the trucks.

We'll only collect side waste if it's for recycling and it presented correctly.

Thank you – for bagging your extra recycling.

Most of the borough should now be familiar with the new Service Standards that we have been rolling out since July 2013. Many of our new trucks are also being used to to carry those Service Standards messages and more importantly to say thank you to all those people that have helped to make the transition an easy one.

The Service Standards have been brought in to bring Lewisham’s refuse and recycling services in line with what most London boroughs and council’s nationwide are doing with regard to their collections.

They are also being used to encourage waste minimisation as we are now not collecting any additional waste that is left by your bin (known as side waste). Residents are also being asked to ensure that their lids go completely down on their refuse bins and not to place green waste, building or DIY waste or waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the bin.

Thank you - for putting your bin at the edge of your property on collection day.

Thank you – for putting your bin at the edge of your property on collection day.

As well the above, all residents are also being asked to bring their bins (refuse and recycling) to the inside edge or boundary of their property on collection day by 6am. Crews have been instructed to only collect those bins that are at the boundary and those that are not placed there will not be collected. The only exception to this is if you are entitled to an assisted collection, in which case our crews will collect and return your bins to where you keep them.

The Service Standards have been bedded in in most of the borough now and there are just a few more rounds to go now before the entire borough is completed. When the borough is fully rolled out, our crews will adopt the rule that if your bins are not out on the day of collection, then we will assume that you do not want a collection or are on holiday. There are many people in the borough that are happy with this arrangement as a lot of people don’t need a collection every week.

If bins are out at the inside edge or boundary of your property, our crews will empty them and return them to the outside edge where you as a resident are expected to bring them in off the street until your next collection the following week. We are also encouraging residents to number their bins as well to prevent bin theft and to make it easier for our crews to identify where the bins came from.


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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:

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:

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

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:

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!

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:

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  or our Reuse and Recycling Centre:

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

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


The Waste Hierachy

You could be forgiven for thinking that Recycling is the most important aspect of waste management. Lot’s of people do. But in actual fact it isn’t.

Like the rest of Europe we use the Waste Hierarchy in order to prioritise and manage our waste (picture below). It is a classification of waste management options in order of their environmental impact and its aim is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste from them.

Waste-hierarchyAs you can see Recycling is only at Number 4 on the list, which means that there are 3 other options that we should try and do before we even get there.

At the top of the pyramid we have Prevention and that is because the best thing that we can do is to try and prevent waste from occurring in the first place. As individuals we can do this by trying to shop sensibly and think about those supermarket purchases. We must ask ourselves “Is that Buy One Get One Half Price offer really too good to turn down?” or “Will I actually get round to eating that item before it expires?”, just by thinking a little bit more about what we purchase will mean that we not only save money, but we also will be producing less waste.

Next up we have Minimisation, which is often better known as ‘Reduce‘, and it really is that simple. It is just about trying to use less things and if we use less of something we will waste less of it. A great example of this is to start composting food scraps, like vegetable peelings, egg shells and tea bags. Portion control is also key we often cook too much food and end up throwing it away. You could even put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your letterbox to stop those pesky take away menus. How many pizza menus does one house really need?

At Number 3 we have Reuse and this is key to the whole process as this is where we can all have a really big impact on our own waste. It is far better to continue using something that has already been manufactured for a purpose then it is to get something new. A fantastic example of this is reusing super market carrier bags, they are designed to only have one use, but the more we get out of them the better. The next step on from this would be either getting a plastic ‘bag for life’ or by using a cotton shopping bag. Cotton bags are fantastic as they can be used for an indefinite amount of times whereby a ‘bag for life’ may get damaged after 20-30 uses.

Reuse doesn’t just have an impact on our own lives. Textile reuse has a truly global impact. In the first instance we would always say try and give your unwanted clothes to friends or family and it is often the case that hand-me-downs are used by multiple siblings, which is fantastic. But if you don’t have anybody to give that old jumper to or that pair of jeans that no longer fits you, then please give it to a charity shop or put it into a Textile Collection Banks. Unwanted clothes are hugely important and get assessed to find their most suitable destination points.

Textile bank - Sydenham

The best clothes are usually passed on to vintage or retro clothes shops. Even high street fashion takes these items and turns them into their own vintage range. The next grade of clothing generally goes on to be sold in charity shops, these are usually good quality items that do not have that vintage flavor. After that we have good items that may no longer be perfect or in saleable condition and this is where something special happens. It is these items that are often sent to disaster zones, places where peoples homes and possessions may have been destroyed and personally I can’t think of a better destination for them.

It is only after items can no longer be worn that they will be taken away and recycled into something else. Generally old, damaged items are used to make insulation for homes and cars.

So only after we have reduced and reused all of our waste do we finally get to Recycling. The most basic definition of recycling is when you take an old item that no longer has any functional purpose or use and you turn it into something new and useful. And as wonderful as that it, it is still not better than reuse, because with reuse no energy or resources are needed to change the physical properties of the material. In Lewisham we are quite lucky as we are able to recycle a multitude of items in our household recycling bin. These items include paper & cardboard, glass bottles & jars, metal cans & foil, household plastic package, beverage cartons (tetrapaks) and textiles.

By taking all of those items out of our refuse bin we end up sending far less waste away for disposal which in Lewisham’s case is for the 5th stage of the waste hierarchy, energy from waste (incineration). Both energy from waste and the 6th stage disposal (landfill) are the end of the line for an item. Once it has been burnt or put back into the ground there is no way back for it and that resource is essentially lost forever.

So when you think of your consumption try and remember the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!