Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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 that can help. You could also try selling items of clothing on EBay or use Freecycle. Or what about this:

  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:

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. 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:


There are also charitable gifts. Oxfam have a huge choice of gifts that benefit others in different parts of the world:

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:

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:

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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Have Yourself a Merry (eco) Christmas

It doesn’t feel like it was 12 months ago that we were putting together our usual list of tips and hints on how to make your Christmas as environmentally friendly as possible.

As with every Christmas, we always notice that there are new things that can be done to reduce waste on all fronts, whether its on present buying, present wrapping or cutting down on the waste associated with food and drink.

The following are the recycling teams guide to all residents to help them enjoy a hopefully white Christmas but also a green one too.

Christmas Trees

This topic alone generates a whole range of responses. Some websites say that if you have an artificial tree, then use that rather than buy a real one. Or maybe buy a second hand artificial tree? Failing that you can rent a Christmas tree and if buying a real tree, ensure its UK grown and from a grower registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree?

And of course if you do go for the real tree option, please remember to recycle your Christmas tree at one of the many sites dotted around the borough. If you do this, then at least your tree will have a second life as mulch on garden beds and paths in the borough’s parks. Locations for recycling trees can be found here:

So, now that you’ve sourced your tree from an ethical supplier or dusted down the artificial tree from the loft, you just need to make it look the part in your home without worrying about the damage being done to the environment. The following link has some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas tree decorations from items that you would on any other day, throw in the bin. Making baubles using old CD’s, turning old light bulbs into Christmas penguins, reindeer’s made out of old toilet rolls? This can also be a fun activity to do with children.

From this......

And you could end up going from this…… this using old toilet roll tubes

…to this, using old toilet roll tubes

The following link can help you out with the above  as well as many other ideas:


With the tree and decorations in place, thoughts now turn to presents. Shopping on the high street or online will be most peoples experiences of Christmas gift buying. But there are other ‘greener’ or arguably more interesting options to consider. For example, you could look at making something yourself? Could you make soap for example?

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

Or make a case for an iPad:

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

There are many websites offering ideas on making gifts that have the added advantage of the gifts not coming in any additional packaging and generating more waste.

Presents can also be wrapped in newspaper or in paper from magazines. If some ribbon is used to hold it together, the effect is such that you hardly pay attention to the fact that its not wrapped in proper Christmas wrapping paper. Once the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper can simply then go straight into the recycling bin – which might be the place you want to look to get it from?

Here's some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

Here’s some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

Food and Drink

There is no doubt that the purchasing of food and drink has its fair share of waste if the right amount of planning isn’t taken into account. A huge resource of ideas, tips, hints and suggestions regarding food including freezing, storage, recipes and the using up of leftovers can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website:

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from LFHW website:

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from the LFHW website:

With regards to drink, then most of this will come in either a plastic bottle, an aluminium can, glass bottle or a tetra pak which fruit juice and now some wines come in. The good news is that you can recycle all of these things in Lewisham. Please make sure that over the Christmas period, you remember to recycle all drinks containers including those jars that once contained those Christmas pickles. All we ask is that everything is clean before it goes into your recycling bin. To find out exactly what goes into your recycling bin, please click on the following link:

The recycling bin can also be used for all cardboard packaging which many gifts will come in. Our crews will endeavour to keep those bins emptied over the Christmas period, but please be aware of the changes to the service due to the holidays. Full details can be found on the following link:

Unwanted Presents

By the afternoon of Christmas Day, presents will have been opened, wrapping paper and packaging will have been recycled and some presents might start to look like it wasn’t quite what you wanted. You might have the option of taking the item back with the receipt which is fine. If not, and the item in question is clothing, think about charity shops or a textile bank to ensure the item gets a second chance and will be worn by somebody who wants it.

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

A list of the textile banks can be found on the following link:  As well as clothing, there may be other gifts that you have received which a charity shop might accept and sell to people who might want it. You may also be receiving gifts that will render some of the things you already have in your house obsolete. For example, you might get new kitchen appliances which will be seen as an upgrade to what you already have at home. It could be a toaster, kettle or a coffee making machine. It may be a new DVD player, laptop or games console? If residents do have redundant electrical items at home that do not work or are broken, please recycle them using either one of our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks or take the items to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. Details on the locations of the WEEE banks can be found here:

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

And finally, please remember to leave your bins at the boundary of your property on the correct collection day if you want them emptied. Once they have been emptied, please bring them back in off the street. Last, but not least, Lewisham’s recycling team would like to wish all residents in the borough and a merry Christmas and a happy new year.