Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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It’s Climate Week!

As it’s Climate Week, we have a guest writer from the Sustainability Team, Nichola Hughes:

It’s described as “a supercharged national occasion that offers an annual renewal of our ambition and confidence to combat climate change”.  Sounds like something you can’t argue with. It’s also particularly significant for Lewisham Council as we recently signed up to Climate Local – pledging our commitment to local action to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Come along and get involved with Climate Week.

Come along and get involved with Climate Week.

Nationally, over 3,000 events will be taking place up and down the country this week, all with a common goal of  inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future. The events range from a pedal powered film screening to a vegetarian punjabi cooking course. There are events happening in Lewisham too – check out the Event Map on the Climate Week website.

Exploring the Climate Week website, I was most interested to see what suggestions were included under the ‘how to get involved’ section. It would seem that the most significant things that our residents can do are:

1)       Green your home and cut your utility bills by becoming more energy and resource efficient at home

2)       Switching to a green energy supplier like Ecotricity who invest 66% of their profits on building new sources of green energy

3)       Sign the Climate Week declaration, calling on the UK government to do more to prevent climate change

4)       Go to a climate week event near you!

To mark ‘Climate Week’ Lewisham Council has organised an interactive event to help break down barriers to cycling and walking. Residents can also learn how to cycle confidently on the borough’s streets as well as become more fuel-efficient in their homes and vehicles. The Clean and Green Travel Event is on 8 March between 10am-4pm in Sainsbury’s car park, New Cross, SE14 5UQ, no booking is required.

I very much hope that the week of events will go a long way towards renewing national and local ambition and confidence to combat climate change.


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Climate Week Winners

As part of this years Climate Week our sustainability team organised a competition for local school children to design a poster which would end up on the side of a recycling truck. We were overwhelmed with responses and the standard was so high that we chose two winners!

Isaac Sackville-Adjei, aged 10 and Saskia Perez-Cooke, aged 6 (both from John Ball Primary School, Blackheath) produced really eye-catching designs that stood out for the judges and also helped to get across the message about climate week.

Saskia’s entry (below) focussed on recycling.

Whilst Isaac’s cleverly combined the idea’s of cycling and recycling (below).

Councillor Susan Wise was on hand to take the children around the truck, and the crew were happy to meet the children who designed the vehicle sides, as they’d had lot’s of compliments from members of the public about the artwork.

The children were delighted to see the result of their hard work and excited about being able to sit in the cab of the truck.




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Textile Thursday

So it’s the 4th day of climate week and we realised that we had unwittingly released information on Meat free Monday, Telephones on Tuesday and World Water day on Wednesday so we thought the only possible thing we could do was Textile Thursday ….

In the UK, approximately 1.5 – 2 million tonnes of textile waste is generated each year. Of this, 1.2 million tonnes enter the household waste stream and ends up in landfill. Textiles present particular problems at landfill: man-made fibres do not decompose and although woollen garments do eventually decompose they emit methane gases which contribute towards global warming and climate change. Even though we don’t landfill our domestic waste in Lewisham, the majority of the UK does and burning clothes is not an awful lot better than burying them.

So what can the residents of Lewisham do with unwanted textiles? We’ve created a list, starting with the best possible option:

1. Think about why the clothes are unwanted, it’s often best to buy better quality clothes that last longer – I’m no fashion expert but apparently classic items never go out of fashion!?

2. Take unwanted clothes to your local charity shop, it’s best to donate clothes locally and give them a new lease of life.

3. Use the old clothes yourself to create dusters, draft excluders or make a pillow from a t-shirt. You can attend our crafts and draughts event this Saturday to find out how to make your own draught excluders – go to our recycling map and click on the orange suns to find out where the event is.

4. Use the numerous textile banks around the borough, visit our recycling map (look for the purple pins) to find your nearest bank. These clothes are sorted into various grades, with some staying in the UK and others providing an affordable source of clothing to disadvantaged people in the developing world and emerging countries in Eastern Europe.

Please don’t put textiles in your normal refuse or recycling bins, they can’t be recycled at our Materials Recovery Facility and it’s a waste if they’re burnt.

In addition to all of these options we’re currently carrying out a textile collection trial in the Brockley and Telegraph Hill wards, if this is succesful we’ll be looking to expand it to more parts of the borough.


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World Water Day … a day late

This week is climate week and yesterday was world water day but because I’m a little bit slow (and was out of the office), our blog posting about it is today – but never mind because the message is just as pertinent as it was yesterday….

Water is a precious resource and should be used wisely at all times because it’s not as abundant as you might think.  Using water, especially hot water, also uses energy and increases emissions of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

DID YOU KNOW – The average person in England and Wales uses 150 litres of water a day – imagine 264 pints of milk and that’s 150 litres of water.  By 2020, with increasing population and housing growth the demand for water could increase by 5% – that’s 800 million extra litres of water a day.

Visit the Act on CO2 website for lots of useful hints and tips on how you can reduce your water consumption.

As well as reducing your water consumption you might want to think about switching from bottled water to reusing a bottle and simply utilising the tap water that you already pay for….

  • Bottled water generates up to 600 times more CO2 than tap water
  • New research shows that drinking a bottle of water has the same impact on the environment as driving a car for a kilometre
  • There’s enough oil used in the production process of water bottles in the UK to keep 17,000 cars on the road for a year

You can come along to see the waste and recycling team at Sydenham Sainsburys tomorrow to pick up a free reusable water bottle and plenty of other hints and tips, including how to “love food and hate waste”.


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Climate Week in Lewisham

Next week is Climate Week – a national occasion that offers an annual renewal of our ambition and confidence to combat climate change. It is for everyone wanting to do their bit to protect our planet and create a secure future.

Climate Week will shine a spotlight on the many positive steps already being taken in workplaces and communities across Britain. The power of these real, practical examples – the small improvements and the big innovations – will then inspire millions more people.

Thousands of businesses, charities, schools, councils and others will run events during Climate Week on 21-27 March 2011. They will show what can be achieved, share ideas and encourage thousands more to act during the rest of the year. You can find out more about the campaign, including how to get involved by visiting the Climate Week website.

There are also a number of events happening in Lewisham which you can get involved in … you can visit our own recycle map to see the location of these events – look for the orange suns! or the Climate Week website to find your nearest one.

Crafts and Draughts Event Saturday 26 March 2- 4pm

A FREE event for people of all ages where you can

  • make useful things for your home from recycled materials
  • learn how to make your home warmer
  • get information on how to get involved in a community garden
  • the winner of our Climate Week competition will be announced.

Carbon Compact Launch
Climate Week sees the launch of Lewisham’s Carbon Compact supporting delivery of the borough’s target of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.
You can sign up as an individual or an organisation by e-mailing us at energy@lewisham.gov.uk

The Climate Week Challenge
Schools, colleges, businesses and organisations across Lewisham can take part in the biggest ever live environmental competition – the Climate Week Challenge, Monday 21 March.

London Schools Earth Hour
Lewisham Schools are taking part in their own ‘Earth Hour’ from 2 – 3pm on Friday 25 March.

Reducing waste, helping the planet
Thursday 24th March 10.30 – 3.30 pm.
Learn how to reduce your carbon emissions by reducing waste. Sainsbury’s car park, Southend Lane.

Composting information stall
Sunday 27th March 1 – 4pm.
Get a free garden compost bin and learn how to make your own compost. Dacres Wood Nature Reserve.