Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

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Going bananas and getting creative for Fairtrade Fortnight!

Bananas are a hot topic as this years Fairtrade Fortnight (24th February to 9th March) centered around the campaign to make bananas fair. Lewisham got into the swing of things with a number of events throughout the fortnight including a supper at the Catford Canteen, discussions by banana farmers at both Goldsmiths University and the Horniman Museum. Lewisham schools also got on board with Kilmorie school hosting a Banana themed Fairtrade breakfast and cake sale and the boroughs Clean & Green schools took part in a Fairtrade poster competition.

A Fairtrade banana tells people about the plight of the banana farmers at at Horniman Park.

A Fairtrade banana tells people about the plight of the banana farmers at Horniman Park.

Prices for bananas has been driven lower because of a price war from supermarkets to entice shoppers by offering the fruit cheaply. The effect of this has been to push the price paid to the banana producers to 40% less over the last ten years at a time when the cost of producing bananas has increased. This not only has a detrimental effect on the wages and working conditions for farmers but encourages them to intensify banana production. Environmental problems such as soil exhaustion and increased water use also have the potential to effect the land.

Leona Garrick of St Winifreds Catholic Infant School with teacher Mrs Abbs and Councillor Susan Wise

Leona Garrick of St Winifreds Catholic Infant School with teacher Mrs Abbs and Councillor Susan Wise

Leona Garrick produced this years winning poster design which will be seen out and about in the borough on one of our recycling vehicles! For more information about Fairtrade, please visit:

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A bit of London Fashion Week comes to Lewisham

Once the media have finished clambering for stories associated with London Fashion week, they’ll turning their attention to the next big event in the fashion calendar. That will be the Big Swish Event that will be taking place in Lewisham Shopping Centre a week later.

Already the event is generating a great deal of interest and momentum with lots of people contacting the recycling team to ask about when it all starts and what kind of clothes to bring along to swish with. Several bags of quality clothing have already been collected and this week, so Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services came to our offices to give us a hand in sorting some of them out.

Councillor Susan Wise helps with sorting clothes for the swishing event.

Councillor Susan Wise helps with sorting clothes for the swishing event.

On the day of the event, we are planning on having a selection of children’s, men’s and women’s clothing to swish with. Anybody can take part in the event, you simply need to turn up with an item of clothing that you no longer want or need or that’s been sitting in the wardrobe for some time. Just bring this along and then simply choose another item as a replacement – and voilà! you have swished. Couldn’t be easier

The event is being staged to raise the profile of textile recycling, and whilst we collect textiles in the recycling bins, we would prefer residents to use our textile banks where there would a better chance of keeping the quality of the item intact. Residents can also choose to take textiles to charity shops if they wish.

The event will be taking place at the site of the old Ponti’s restaurant in the shopping centre between 10am and 4pm on the 27th September. 10 other local authorities have also been invited as they were part of the huge tendering exercise that Lewisham Council led on that saw all the authorities getting a much better price for all the textiles collected. Heidi Alexander MP will also be lending her support to the event and will be popping in around 12.30pm. Details of where all our banks are located can be found below.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Please come along with clothes that you would like to swish with and enjoy the fun day out.

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Lewisham school’s environmental efforts celebrated at Clean Green awards 2013

Schools from across the borough gathered at the Civic Suite, Catford this week to mark the end of the 12th annual Clean & Green schools programme.  Thirty Lewisham schools took part in the year long programme whose aim is to support and encourage teachers and children to explore topics which impact the environment for example, transport, bio-diversity, waste and recycling.

In previous years, Clean & Green schools have set up initiatives which have been sustained in subsequent school years. Previous winners have set up food growing areas, worked with local businesses to collect and recycle tin cans and started a walking bus for children to get to school.

This years ceremony was a fun event, starting with lunch and then award  presentions by Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services.  Entertainment for the afternoon was provided by Ade from Bigfoot Arts (pictured below) who did a one man show about the effects of global warming. Extra help was provided by children in the audience and included Luna (also below) from St Savious RC Primary School who rose to the challenge for some impromptu acting, making it an extra special performance.

Luna from St Saviours RC Primary School rose to the challenge to act up with Ade from Bigfoot Arts theatre company

Luna from St Saviours RC Primary School rose to the challenge to act up with Ade from Bigfoot Arts theatre company

This year has seen more great work from the schools who participated.  Some of the achievements highlighted at the award ceremony included Haseltine School whose children, inspired by a trip to Brogdale Orchard in Kent, set about creating their own orchard using the fruit to make jams for their school breakfast club.  Another school- Horniman Primary grew vegetables in their growing area and made up veg boxes to sell to the wider community.  Both of these schools won gold awards for their effort.

Cllr Wise, who has shown continued support for the programme and judged many of this years entries, commented on the high standard of entries submitted again this year.  Holbeach School received the runners up award with judges congratulating the amount of work they did to encourage recycling in the whole school.

Maisee, William and Kennedy from this years winning school, Coopers Lane pictured with Cllr Susan Wise.

Maisee, William and Kennedy from this years winning school, Coopers Lane pictured with Cllr Susan Wise.

The winners were Coopers Lane School (pictured above) whose work throughout the year culminated in an environmental open evening attended by the school and local community. They displayed the work they had done over the Clean & Green year. The judges were very impressed with the amount of effort made by the whole school and the degree to which the wider  community were involved.

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


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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Allotment holders rewarded for their efforts in 2012 awards ceremony

The hard work and resilience of the boroughs allotment plotholders for the annual Allotments Competition was recently rewarded at the 2012 Allotments Awards ceremony held at the Civic Suite in Catford. The popular competition has run for many years and is open to over 700 plotholders of the borough’s 40 Allotments sites.

Hosted by Martin Hyde (Parks Regeneration Manager) and with awards presented by Cllr Susan Wise, prizes were given for Best Allotment Plot, Best Allotment Photo, Best New Plotholder, Allotment Site Deserving Recognition and Best Allotment Site.

In the opening speech Cllr Wise recognised the huge contribution of individual plotholders and self-managed committee members in ensuring we have vibrant food growing communities, which as well as providing nutritious home grown food, also incorporate nature areas with bee hives, ponds, orchards and wildflower planting.

Congratulations go to all our plotholders and particularly to the following for their wonderful contribution to Lewisham’s Allotments –

Overall Borough Winner – Best Plot – Ms Helen Main Ellen – Trewsbury Road, Sydenham.

As well as a high standard of planting, Helen has created a beautifully crafted plot with pristine raised beds, ornate archway and eye-catching ornamentation. Her artistic touches and love of the plot are all too apparent – a well deserved winner.

Best Allotment Photo – Mr David Culpan – Dacre Park, Blackheath

The winning photo depicting peach red rose petals against deep green clippings in a compost bin shows a beautiful combination of colour, texture and originality.

The judges enjoyed the textures and colours of this image.

Best New Plotholder – Ms Mo Joyce – Deloraine Street, Deptford

The winner of this category worked wonders on her new plot; wasting no time she has worked hard to produce an attractively laid out plot, meticulously maintained with a good variety of produce.

Site Deserving Recognition – Longton Nursery, Sydenham

The path of managing a site does not always run smoothly and this site, with underlying springs, had areas prone to flooding. When plots were becoming unmanageable the committee, undeterred and with huge input from the site Chair, Ruth Garcha, managed to secure Lottery Funding to turn the area into a communal pond with seating and bog plants. As well as this they have carried out significant clearance work at the entrance to begin creating a wildflower area. Longton Nursery are a great example of overcoming obstacles and fostering community spirit to make great improvements to their allotment.

Best Site – Trewsbury Road, Sydenham

With 60 plots, thorough and concerted effort from many members has meant this site is consistently well kept. With team effort over the years they have gone beyond the basics of site management and have also introduced Bee hives, nature pond, compost Loo and effectively engaged with members to ensure a vibrant allotment community

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WEEE Man v Recycler the robot

Its been a electrifying week over the last two weeks in Lewisham schools as the electronic giants of the recycling world fight it out for their cause.

The fortnight began with Lewisham’s very own, award nominated WEEE Man (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) who visited five schools to raise awareness of WEEE waste. It is estimated that on average in the UK, each person buys 2.8 new electrical items a year which has led to electrical goods becoming the fastest growing waste stream, increasing by around 5% each year. Faced with this challenge, Lewisham’s Environmental & Community Development (ECD) team came up with the idea for WEEE man- a recycling superhero created by using recycled pieces or electrical equipment targeted at primary aged children.

WEEE Man and Cllr Susan Wise help out at the collection at St Augustines Catholic Primary School with children (left to right) Tawana, Sarujan, Taylor, Jada and Joan.

Following the visits, the ECD team set up temporary collection points outside Tidemill Academy, John Stainer Community Primary, Adamsrill Primary, Coopers Lane and St Augustines Schools. Children, teachers, parents and residents from surrounding roads were invited to bring along their WEEE waste along and we managed to collect a large miscellaneous items including : toasters, laptops, stereos, mp3 players, lamps, mobile phones, food mixers, games consoles, irons and electric toothbrushes. Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet member for Customer Services lent her support to WEEE Week by attending the collection at St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School.

The second superhero visiting schools was Recycler the rapping robot- a creation thought up by Waste Watch and brought in to visit schools who signed up to this years Clean & Green programme. Recycler who talked, sung and danced during a 45 minute session highlighted the meaning and importance of the three ‘R’’s- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and explained the resource lifecycles of everyday objects.

From left to right are: Mark Butler, Joana Rocha Santos, Giorgia Nair, Hilman Hazizi, Felix Biddle kneeling in the front with Recycler the robot at the centre.

Shirley- Recyclers Roboteer, encourages the children to look at ways they can help to reduce their waste, giving practical examples such as taking old carrier bags to shops instead of picking up new ones and buying cereal in large boxes instead of small multipacks which have a lot more packaging. The children are then encouraged to take the message home and spread the word amongst their parents and carers.

For further information on where waste electrical can be recycled please visit our website at

We will be doing a full review of  WEEE Man’s school visits and be giving  more details on how all the collections went.

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Lewisham schools awarded in the 12th Annual Clean & Green awards

During the last twelve months, 25 schools from across Lewisham have been taking part in the Clean and Greens schools programme. Throughout the school year, the programme offers support to schools to address topics which make a difference to not only the school but the wider community and environment.

Cllr Susan Wise presenting the first prize award winners of this year C&G programme- St Winifred’s Infant School

At the start of each school year, we encourage schools to participate. Children and teachers come up with innovative ways to explore topics such as; waste and recycling, local environmental quality, love food, energy and climate change, transport , biodiversity, fair trade, water and animal welfare. Members from the Environment and Community Development team visit the schools and support activities which include group work, surveys and presentations.

This years entrants have maintained the very high standard received in previous years and a selection of topics were tackled in a creative way. This included; All Saints schools setting up a Fair trade tuck shop run by parents, Kelvin Grove school creating a growing area for crops which is maintained by a weekly gardening club and parents, John Stainer school setting up a ‘stride and ride’ scheme to encourage children and parents to at least travel some part of the journey without using the car.

Sade Christian- Imoreh from Adamsrill Primary School receiving her runners up award for her entry to the poetry section

At the end of the year, all the work undertaken by the school is presented to the judging panel who include Cllr Susan Wise- Executive Member for Customer Services. The overall winners this year were chosen for their high quality submissions, with the highly commended award going to Stillness Infant School whose activities included; reusing items found around the school to create a scarecrow ‘cyclist from team GB’ which was then entered into an RHS Scarecrow competition and also started up a scheme to reuse elastic bands which had been found around the school and started up a series of lunchtime activities to create alternative play equipment.

This years overall winners were St Winifred’s Infants school who submitted an exemplary entry. The school chose Transport as one of their topics, recruiting their own junior road safety officers who carried out road travels surveys. For their second topic of Waste and Recycling, the children successfully engaged with local businesses to arrange collection of their tin cans which they then sold for recycling. Other initiatives included a ‘big pedal’ to school and mobile phone collection box at school.

The Awards ceremony took place on July 4th at the Council Chambers where Stillness Infants School were presented with a £350 cheque and St Winifred’s Infants received £500. Prizes of book tokens were also given to entrants of poetry and poster competitions.

We will be sending information to all schools about how they can register to take part in the coming weeks. If you work in a school in the borough and do want more information about the Clean & Green programme you can visit the website at or contact Kate Parkinson or Beth Sowden on 020 8314 2245 or email