Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

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Cup of tea anyone?

Hot and refreshing, nothing beats a good cup of tea. Making it, and popping that little tea bag into a steaming cup just gives you a happy feeling.

But happy feelings aren’t necessarily what the farmers and workers have when they are growing and harvesting the tea. Many work long hours, are underpaid, and live in poverty. Health clinics, running water, electricity and adequate schooling for their children are just things to dream about, rather than a reality. They often cannot even enjoy a cup of tea that they’ve grown themselves.

Thankfully, Fairtrade is working to bring better working conditions, better pay and better community facilities and infrastructure to these people. Farmers associated with Fairtrade now wear smiles as they see their kids furthering their education, bridges being built to connect isolated villages, and medical clinics opening to provide help for the sick.

Each year, Fairtrade week highlights the need for more support for these and the many communities who are not yet benefiting from this organisation.

One way of raising awareness is getting our local schools involved. Here in Lewisham, primary schools have been studying the lives of people around the globe who produce goods such as tea and the great things Fairtrade do.

Encouraged by Lewisham Council, Lewisham kids have been designing Fairtrade posters to enter a competition where the winner’s poster is used on the side of one of our recycling lorries. This year’s winner was Isla Prosser from All Saint’s Church of England Primary School.

Winner of the Fairtrade poster competition, Isla Prosser stands proudly infront of her art work with Cllr Onikosi

Winner of the Fairtrade poster competition, Isla Prosser stands proudly infront of her art work with Cllr Onikosi

By choosing Fairtrade products you’re helping to transform the livelihoods of more than 1.4 million people in 74 countries around the world! I’d have a cup of Fairtrade tea to that!

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Old Mother Earth helped out by Lewisham’s Clean & Green schools!

The last week in July saw another triumphant end to 2014 environmental programme for Lewisham’s schools, Clean & Green.  Each year, up to 25 schools in the borough sign up for the year long programme with the aim of increasing environmental awareness in their school through initiatives such as food growing, litter clean ups, recycling collection schemes.  The sky really is the limit as schools are awarded at the end of the academic year for the most original and ingenious ways that they have come up with to help improve the environment of the school and surrounding areas.

Schools work on the programme from October to June, concentrating on their chosen theme and at the end of the year, they submit an entry showing what they have managed to achieve.  Support is given along the way in the form of  visits and assemblies. And as recognition of their hard work an award ceremony takes place in the Civic Suite, Catford, attended by representatives from the school and Lewisham’s local dignitaries in late July.

This years awards were presented by Cllr Rachel Onikosi – Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Nigel Tyrell – Head of Environment at Lewisham.  The afternoon included a lunch for the children and teachers and an environmental performance called ‘Old Mother Earth’.

Actors Nichola and Barney from Caboodle Arts performing 'Old Mother Earth'

Actors Nichola and Barney from Caboodle Arts performing ‘Old Mother Earth’

This years programme saw more excellent work from all the schools who took part, but particularly, the schools who managed to achieve awards who were – Coopers Lane, Haseltine, Holbeach, Watergate, St Augustines, Edmund Waller & Good Shepherd Primary Schools.  St Winifreds Catholic and Stillness Infant Schools also managed to secure Gold awards.

All Saints Primary School was presented with the overall runner up award for their efforts to encourage the whole school and local neighbourhood to use more sustainable forms of transport.  However, the overall winner of this years programme was Horniman Primary School who won the Clean & Green Distinction Award and a cheque for £300 for their pedal powered radio station which children, parents and teachers built in their school playground!

Cleanest and Greenest!  Cllr Rachel Onikosi presents Horniman students Keir Holmes,  Marnie Paul, Jacob Waters with award and cheque for the school.

Cleanest and Greenest! Cllr Rachel Onikosi presents Horniman students Keir Holmes, Marnie Paul, Jacob Waters with award and cheque for the school.

If you are a child, teacher or parent at a Lewisham school and would like more information on taking part in next years programme, please email or visit for more information.

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International use for Lewisham Blog Photo

Two weeks ago we were approached by Australian student, Emerson Brophy, about whether he could use one of our photos in order to design a recycling poster. And being the kind hearted people that we are, we readily agreed. But there was one caveat attached and that was that we got to show off the finished design on our blog.

First here is the original picture:

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment piles up before being processed.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment piles up before being processed.

And here is Emerson’s design:

Recycling Poster FINAL SMALL

I think that everyone will agree that he has done a cracking job. Well done Emerson!!

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World Fairtrade Day Poster Competition Winner!

This year’s World Fairtrade Day was on Saturday the 11th of May and Lewisham children were asked to design a poster or collage in a competition to display on a Lewisham recycling vehicle.

Fairtrade is an organised social movement whose aim it is to help producers in developing countries and to make better trading conditions for their produce whilst also supporting the aims of sustainability.

Fairtrade advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards and focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries. Exports from Fairtrade countries include:

  • Handicrafts
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Tea
  • Bananas
  • Honey
  • Cotton
  • Wine
  • Fresh fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Flowers
  • Gold

Many of the above products are available in most supermarkets. Look out for the Fairtrade logo on the packaging. More information on the Fairtrade movement and it’s work can be found on the following link:

For this years World Fairtrade Day, children were asked to show links between their own lives and those of a child in another country.

The winning entry was designed by Rohan Praveen who is 8 years old and from St William of York School.

image: Fair Trade Poster

Rohan’s poster was chosen from over 100 entries from schools throughout the borough, and we loved it for it’s inspiring slogan “Nature Asks Us To Be Fair!”

The photograph below is of Rohan with the recycling vehicle which now carries his winning design and can be seen driving around the borough on weekdays collecting and emptying recycling bins. Well done to Rohan!

Image: Rohan Praveen with Recycling Vehicle


Lewisham schools sculpture a ‘London Landmark’ to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight which ran from 25th Feb to 10th March, schools in Lewisham who are on the Clean & Green programme were asked to take part in a competition to make a sculpture out of Fairtrade packaging of a famous landmark in London.

Fairtrade fortnight is an annual campaign event, run to raise awareness of Fairtrade products. Choosing to buy Fairtrade products ensures that producers get a guaranteed price which covers the cost of production. This means farmers have more control over their lives and are able to plan for their future knowing that they are bringing in a certain level of income.

Cllr Susan Wise with first prize winner Lottie.

Cllr Susan Wise with first prize winner Lottie.

Amongst the entrants, St Winifreds Infant School submitted entries of Tower Bridge, a London bus and the winning entry to the competition- Canary Wharf produced by Lottie pictured above with Cllr Susan Wise who presented her with a prize of a book token

Cllr Susan Wise with St Winifreds Infant School teacher Miss Hampson & winners Lottie, Leona & Frasier.

Cllr Susan Wise with St Winifreds Infant School teacher Miss Hampson & winners Lottie, Leona & Frasier.

Children from St Winifreds Infant School who showed their enthusiasm for Fairtrade with their entries. Also pictured Cllr Susan Wise and St Winifreds infant school teacher Miss Hampson who encouraged the children to explore the difference Fairtrade can make. The sculptures are now on displayed in the foyer of Lewisham Library.

The Clean & Green programme offers schools the opportunity to take part in events and activities, including competitions throughout the academic year. Running Fairtrade competitions is one element of the programme. Other events took place in Lewisham to celebrate Fairtrade fortnight- for more information visit: . If you are school and would like more information about entering the Clean & Green schools programme next September- please visit: or email

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Design a poster for Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade fortnight runs from the 25th February to 10th March and we are running a Fair Trade fortnight poster/collage competition for Primary Schools in Lewisham.

Get those creative juices flowing with ideas for a poster or collage.

Get those creative juices flowing with ideas for a poster or collage.

We would like children to think about what that means to them and to design a poster showing a link or links between their life and the life of a child in another country.  Then send it to us here!

Beth Sowden, ECD , Wearside Service Centre, Wearside Road, London, SE13 7EZ .

They can refer to possessions, climate, environment and show things that they have in common. The winning design will be made into a panel/banner on the side of one of our recycling vehicles!  This will all happen for World Fairtrade Day on May 11th 2013. One more thing to bear in mind, as the design will be going on the side of our collection vehicles, if possible, try to make your poster design or collage in landscape format so that it will look much better.

For details on what the previous winner did, please click on the following link where you will see the winner Esosa and his poster design. 

We will need the names of children who are submitting an entry, their ages and the name of the school they attend.

Here’s a link to a website that I hope will inspire

The closing date for Friday the 15th of March.

Good luck  to all,

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Lewisham’s Junior Citizens

Last week the Council’s Recycling Team were back at Lee Green Fire Station taking part in the biannual Junior Citizens educational scheme. The scheme is is put on by the Metropolitan Police and aims to help prepare Year 6 students for the big step into their first year of secondary school.

Amongst the busy activities at Lee Fire Station, the Junior Citizens also learn about waste education.

Around 1,000 children from across the borough took part in 12 minute interactive sessions which test and enhance their knowledge on subjects from recycling to road safety and from first aid to drugs and alcohol awareness.

The Recycling Team focus on promoting the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, talk about what can and cannot go into the recycling bins and show them some examples of what old household materials are turned into when they are recycled. Did you know that your old plastic bottles are often turned into polyester clothing like fleeces and school uniforms?

Other Junior Citizens partners are the London Fire Brigade, the St. John’s Ambulance, Transport for London, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Lewisham NHS Trust.