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.


New Cabinet Member presents prize to recycling competition winner

We recently ran a competition for those of you who recycle in communal bins. We wanted to make people aware of the new types of locks being fitted onto large recycling bins which we hope will help in the fight against non recyclables being put into recycling bins!

Cllr Onikosi with Brockley resident Fontella Alvaranga

Cllr Onikosi with Brockley resident Fontella Alvaranga

The new locks will prevent the whole lid from being lifted up, so it’s impossible for a whole black sacks worth of rubbish finding its way in there. We know that lots of people who use the communal recycling bins work really hard to make sure the right things go in there, making it so frustrating when something non- recyclable gets put in. Nappies, black sacks, garden waste, wood all make the bin ‘contaminated’ often meaning all of the contents have to incinerated instead of being sent to be turned into something new. This also causes the bin to not be emptied on the right day while we arrange for a different vehicle to empty it – all costing time and money. To put recycling into a bin with one of the new locks, the letter box lid part should be lifted. It is possible to get an untied carrier bag filled with recycling through or items can be placed in one at a time.

Alex Marshal popped into the depot to collect his voucher.

Alex popped into the depot to collect his voucher.

Leaflets were delivered to estate properties and on the back was a competition to win one of four £50 shopping vouchers. One of the lucky winners- Brockley resident, Fontella Alvaranga (first picture above) was presented with her prize by Cllr Rachel Onikosi- Cabinet Member for Public Realm & our new lead member for Environment Services. Other vouchers were won by biology student, guitar teacher and avid recycler, Alex Marshall (above), who was really pleased to take part in the competition and was chuffed to win one of the prizes.

Richard was our third winner.

Richard J Watts was our third winner.

When we gave Richard his voucher and took his photo he said “I haven’t won anything for a long time – I think the last time I won anything it was tickets to the cricket about 12 years ago – that’s why I look so happy in the photo!”

Well done to all three winners and hope you enjoy spending the vouchers.