Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Making Your Christmas Greener Each Year (Pt 1)

Each year Lewisham’s Recycling Team attempt to cajole and persuade its residents to make their Christmas’s a little greener and more environmentally friendly than the previous one. This year will be no different of course and below are some simple ideas to make your Christmas green though not necessarily white.

So at a time of frenzied consumerism, what measures can be taken that are a little kinder to the straining environment? What simple steps can be taken that won’t result in huge amounts of waste being generated needlessly. The following will help guide you through what many consider to be a hectic time of year. Some may save you money, some may save you time, most will probably help save the planet. Buying things that you don’t need is something that George Monbiot discusses in an article from 4 years ago that’s worth a read: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/on-12th-day-christmas-present-junk

Part 1 of our Christmas blog takes a look at Christmas trees, food and wrapping paper. Part 2 will focus on presents, recycling and reusing. So what actions can you take to minimise some of the environmental damage over Christmas?

  1. Christmas trees

Most if not all people that celebrate Christmas at home will be getting a tree. If you have an artificial tree that you think will see you through another Christmas, then we’d suggest using that. Why buy a new one if you don’t need to? If you’re buying a real tree, Friends of the Earth say buy a UK grown tree and ‘from a retailer registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association. If you want a tree that is certified organic, check to see that it has been approved by the Soil Association’.

christmas-tree-1

Use one of our drop off points for your real Christmas tree

When you’ve finished with your real tree, please make sure it’s recycled at one of our many collection points in our parks. You can also rent a tree as well? If you fancied making a small ornamental tree, this link shows you how:  

  1. Food

Planning what you’ll eat is one of the best things you can do. Jot down the ingredients you will need from each recipe, have a good look in the cupboards, fridge and freezer to discover what you’ve already got, then write a shopping list. By planning you can also build in ideas for making tasty meals from any leftovers, forgotten foods and meals from the freezer.

christmas-dinner

A well planned Christmas dinner will cut down on food waste

If you’re shopping early for Christmas, there’s lots of things that can be frozen in time. For example, if you’ve bought a ham with a Use By Date that says you’ve got a week to eat it, but you won’t even get a start on it by then, freeze it on the day you’ve bought it and defrost it closer to the time that you’ll be eating it. When you’ve defrosted it, you’ll still have a week to eat it!

Buy your Brussels sprouts from a farm shop still on the stalk. They will keep for up to two weeks in a shed or on the patio, saving vital fridge space and cutting down on packaging.

Don’t forget the garden birds. Use the excess cooking fat from the goose or turkey and muesli to make your own fat balls. While the fat is still warm, spoon into muffin cases; add a hanging string or make sure they fit your bird feeder.

Freezing your food in time allows you much more control over your Use By Dates, but make sure you take note of how many days you’ve got left on the dates. For the example above, if you’ve kept the ham in the fridge for 2 days then decided to freeze it, you’ll have 5 days to eat it. The Love Food Hate Waste website also has lots of tips and recipes about food over Christmas: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

Remember, you can ignore the Sell By Date – that’s for the shops only; and you can still eat food after the Best Before Date. It’s only the Use By Date you need to pay attention to. As for Christmas pudding, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Also, if you want to look for alternatives to the crackers, what about these reusable ones: http://www.keepthiscracker.com/

  1. Wrapping paper

The easiest option when it comes to wrapping paper is to buy it by the roll from your local shop or supermarket. But is that good for the environment? There are alternatives however. Some people use newspaper with string and ribbon, old maps can also be utilised and bring some added colour, large calendars that may be thrown away could be recycled into this years wrapping paper.

wrapping-paper

There are lots of alternatives to wrapping paper

Gift bags from previous presents could also be reused – these don’t require the use of tape. Shops also sell cotton or flannel gift bags which can be used over and over again. Wrapping paper from a previous Christmas could also be reused again.

A second article will follow next week and look at what to do with that unwanted Christmas jumper and what to do about recycling and reusing.


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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.