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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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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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  beth.sowden@lewisham.gov.uk to let us know about something you’ve already done, by Friday 15th of February!!!

We look forward to hearing from you!


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What’s it like to be a member of a recycling bin crew?

When most of us are still tucked up in our cosy beds and not even contemplating getting up, the recycling crew for Lewisham are up and about getting ready for work, some as early as the disagreeable time of 4am.

Clocking on at 6, the trucks are checked over, crews are kitted up with safety gear and the ten teams of recycling crews set off to all parts of the borough by 7. I don’t know about you, but I’ve only just got out of bed by then!

Getting up early for work is one thing, but what does it really take to be a member of that crew? I met up with them to find out what their job involves on an every day basis….

Over the course of a week their rounds take them all over the borough collecting recycling from well over a thousand households every day. That’s a lot of bins to attend to! I wanted to find out just how they did that?

So, first up you’ve got the driver whose job it is to plot a course through the narrow streets, keep a look out and maintain a steady pace with the crew as well as keep an eye on pedestrians, cyclists and the traffic who are all the time anxious to whizz around them.  

Then, on rotation, the other four guys are split in two, one pair running ahead of the truck pulling out the recycling bins and grouping them together so that the two guys at the back of the truck can easily grab the bins for loading.

“It’s all about the team work.”

Not only are they running up and down our streets pulling out and loading bins while I’m still getting breakfast, they also do a quick visual check for anything that shouldn’t be in the recycling bins (or “contaminants” as they say in the trade). As the load is tipped in and before it gets compacted, the driver also inspects for contaminates that may have been hidden via a surveillance camera that he views within the cab.   

 “We work pretty tightly as a team. We all look out for each other and try and help each other out” Oscar, the driver comments.

 “We’re like family really. And not just in our own crew but also when other crews need a hand we join them and help out with whatever they need. It’s a good group and we all try and help each other out” says Jerome, pitching in. 

So with all this running and moving bins about I figured they must be pretty fit. All of them agreed with enthusiasm, so I got them to tell me what it was like on their first day on the job…

“We love working together to get the job done”

“It was BAAAD! I didn’t think I’d make even 3 hours! I was totally stuffed!” Daniel replied shaking his head.

Reflecting back, Andre said “My legs and feet were SO sore – but I didn’t really feel it ‘til the next day, you know, when I tried to get out of bed…But you get used to it… It took me about 2 weeks before I really got used to it. I guess it’s like going to the gym

And now they’re cranking up the fitness as the ability to recycle more items has now expanded. “People are definitely recycling more, because we can feel it in the weight of the bin when were pulling them out and you can see there’s more stuff in the bins too”  they all agreed.

Since the change in service which allows Lewisham’s residents to recycle much more there’s also been a significant drop in contamination – from about 14% down to under 5%. In fact the way Steve puts it, “Most of the time kerbside collections, like up in Blackheath, are clean as a whistle”.

But in some areas contamination is still an issue.

Crews are still finding food waste and other unsightly things in the recycling bins and continuously have to reject recycling bins that contain black sacks. In the UK black sacks have traditionally been used for rubbish not recycling, so crews cannot accept these when found in the recycling bin “We just can’t go around looking in each one to see if it’s recycling or not, apart from the fact that there’s no time to do that, it’s just not safe!” Steve adds.

The crews really highlighted that especially on estate properties there are still many people who don’t seem to respect the recycling crew’s work, in that there’s lots of fly-tipping and contamination issues. Compared to kerbside properties, estates need to improve on recycling practices.

So what did I discover about our recycling crews? If there’s one thing to take from this experience, it’s that these great guys, for all the banter throughout our chat, put in the hard yards and deal with something that most of us either take for granted or doesn’t even come across our radar.

I can’t even imagine what it’d be like if these collections just stopped and we needed to deal with it! So thanks guys and all the other recycling men out there who contribute to such an important activity such as saving our natural resources!


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Digital Switched Over

On Wednesday 13th June Lewisham Council’s Recycling Team in partnership with The Lewisham Pensioners Forum organised and collected obsolete TVs from elderly residents in the Borough.

The collection was set up because the LP Forum identified the aftermath of the Digital Switch Over as being a real concern for some of their members. The collection was offered to any forum member who was unable to dispose of an obsolete TV themselves, whether due to mobility issues or because they had no one else in their lives who was able to help them.

Setting off bright and early in a Lewisham Transit Van the Recycling Team visited 26 different locations from all over the Borough before taking their bounty to The Reuse and Recycling Centre at Landmann Way in New Cross. The collections took all day, but luckily the roads were clear and everybody had their TVs removed on time (pretty much!) The final haul consisted of:

  • 46 TVs
  • 30 Household Batteries
  • 16 Remote Controls
  • 3 TV Stands
  • 2 VHS Players
  • 1 DVD Player
  • 1 CD Player

All electrical waste (WEEE) is removed from The Reuse and Recycling Centre by REPIC. They are the largest WEEE producer compliance scheme in the UK, and they ensure that all of the electrical items that are taken to Landmann Way are responsibly recycled.

If you would like further details on TV recycling and the Digital Switch Over please click here.

Please click here to go the Lewisham Pensioners Forum website.


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WEEE Man trims down WEEE waste during WEEE Week

WEEE Week ran from September 24th through to October 1st, 2011. In the build up to this event, Lewisham Council called upon the services of its new superhero WEEE Man, who came along to raise awareness and the profile of this type of waste.

 The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) was introduced into UK law in January 2007 by the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006. It aims is to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.

 With the help of WEEE Man, Lewisham Council set about taking the message of recycling WEEE waste to the people of Lewisham. A couple of weeks before WEEE Week started, several schools were visited where a presentation was given to the assemblies about the issues surrounding electronic waste and how this could be recycled. The presentation informed the children about what WEEE waste was, and why it was important to recycle and dispose of this waste in the best way possible. This also included reusing any working items of electronic waste whenever possible.

 The children were then shown this short film featuring WEEE Man 

which they enjoyed very much before the actual man himself appeared to the very excited assemblies. He wandered amongst the excited children before making his exit and leaving behind flyers which the children were instructed to take home to their parents. The flyers carried all the information about the WEEE waste collections that were taking place at 6 schools. The schools that took place were Kelvin Grove, Sydenham, Forster Park, Catford, Ladywell Fields College, Ladywell, All Saints School, Blackheath, Sir Francis Drake, Deptford and Edmund Waller, New Cross. Two consecutive Saturday collections also took place at Dacres Road Nature Reserve.

 The collections saw lots of items being brought, from obsolete video recorders, defunct irons, hairdryers, and microwave ovens, through to redundant printers, scanners, old telephones, faxes, radios, stereos and even a hedge trimmer (see photo above). During the collection week, WEEE Man even decided to put in an appearance and was mobbed by children seeking autographs (see photo below).

 Two caged vehicles worth of WEEE waste was collected during the seven days that the collections ran for and a total of 1880kg of WEEE waste was collected. That’s nearly 2 tonnes!

 For those people that didn’t manage to drop off their old and unwanted items of WEEE waste, don’t forget that we still have 6 small appliance banks around the borough https://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/02/11/small-appliance-banks/ that can be used at any time. If you have items that are too big and not suitable for the small appliance banks, you can always take them to the Reuse and Recycle Centre at Landmann Way.

 Thank you to everyone that came along with your old toasters, kettles and radios etc and for making this event the success that it was. WEEE Man also called on the WEEE phone to say a big thank you to all the schools and the children for all their help and support. He will be more than happy to make return visits to schools and visit other schools in the future.


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WEEE Man is here to save the World!

WEEE Week – 26th September to 1st October 2011

For those that have been following us on Twitter and have seen our recent forays into the world of acting, film and promotional work, you should know all about the acronym WEEE. Below is a groundbreaking film about our very own WEEE superhero … WEEE Man.

For those not entirely familiar with the jargon of the waste industry, WEEE actually stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment or put simply, that broken toaster, radio, lamp, kettle or hoover that’s been stuck at the back of your cupboard or in your garage for the last few months that you’ve been meaning to get rid of.

The Council are staging a week of WEEE collections during what we are calling, WEEE Week. This will be your opportunity to empty your cupboards of that unwanted electrical waste, those duplicate remote controls, hairdryers, food mixers, sandwich toasters, and redundant juicing machines.

However, if you have items that are in perfect working order, why not see if someone would like it on Freecycle, or give it to a friend, neighbour or even a charity shop. Though if it is broken, then why not give it to us?

During WEEE Week, a collection vehicle with be at one of the locations below between 8.30am and 12pm to collect your old and unwanted small electrical appliances. (1pm to 4pm at Sir Francis Drake and 1am to 3pm at Dacres Road).

Please bring your old hoovers, radios, stereos, toasters, hairdryers, irons, microwaves, kettles, mobile phones, games consoles, computers and laptops to us for safe disposal.

Please note: No TV’s, fridges or fluorescent tubes are allowed as these are considered hazardous waste which we cannot accept.

Monday 26th: Kelvin Grove School, Kirkdale, SE26 6BB, 8.30am – 12pm

Tuesday 27th: Forster Park, Boundfield Road, SE6 1PQ, 8.30am – 12pm

Wednesday 28th: Ladywell Fields College, Manwood Road, SE4 1SA, 8.30am – 12pm

Thursday 29th: All Saints Schools, Blackheath Vale, SE3 OTX, 8.30am – 12pm AND Sir Francis Drake School, Scawen Road, SE8 5AE, 1pm to 4pm.

Friday 30th: Edmund Waller, Waller Road, SE15 5LY, 8.30am – 12pm

Saturday 1st October: Dacres Wood Nature Reserve, Dacres Road, Forest Hill, 11am – 3pm