Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


Leave a comment

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.


5 Comments

The Waste Hierachy

You could be forgiven for thinking that Recycling is the most important aspect of waste management. Lot’s of people do. But in actual fact it isn’t.

Like the rest of Europe we use the Waste Hierarchy in order to prioritise and manage our waste (picture below). It is a classification of waste management options in order of their environmental impact and its aim is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste from them.

Waste-hierarchyAs you can see Recycling is only at Number 4 on the list, which means that there are 3 other options that we should try and do before we even get there.

At the top of the pyramid we have Prevention and that is because the best thing that we can do is to try and prevent waste from occurring in the first place. As individuals we can do this by trying to shop sensibly and think about those supermarket purchases. We must ask ourselves “Is that Buy One Get One Half Price offer really too good to turn down?” or “Will I actually get round to eating that item before it expires?”, just by thinking a little bit more about what we purchase will mean that we not only save money, but we also will be producing less waste.

Next up we have Minimisation, which is often better known as ‘Reduce‘, and it really is that simple. It is just about trying to use less things and if we use less of something we will waste less of it. A great example of this is to start composting food scraps, like vegetable peelings, egg shells and tea bags. Portion control is also key we often cook too much food and end up throwing it away. You could even put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your letterbox to stop those pesky take away menus. How many pizza menus does one house really need?

At Number 3 we have Reuse and this is key to the whole process as this is where we can all have a really big impact on our own waste. It is far better to continue using something that has already been manufactured for a purpose then it is to get something new. A fantastic example of this is reusing super market carrier bags, they are designed to only have one use, but the more we get out of them the better. The next step on from this would be either getting a plastic ‘bag for life’ or by using a cotton shopping bag. Cotton bags are fantastic as they can be used for an indefinite amount of times whereby a ‘bag for life’ may get damaged after 20-30 uses.

Reuse doesn’t just have an impact on our own lives. Textile reuse has a truly global impact. In the first instance we would always say try and give your unwanted clothes to friends or family and it is often the case that hand-me-downs are used by multiple siblings, which is fantastic. But if you don’t have anybody to give that old jumper to or that pair of jeans that no longer fits you, then please give it to a charity shop or put it into a Textile Collection Banks. Unwanted clothes are hugely important and get assessed to find their most suitable destination points.

Textile bank - Sydenham

The best clothes are usually passed on to vintage or retro clothes shops. Even high street fashion takes these items and turns them into their own vintage range. The next grade of clothing generally goes on to be sold in charity shops, these are usually good quality items that do not have that vintage flavor. After that we have good items that may no longer be perfect or in saleable condition and this is where something special happens. It is these items that are often sent to disaster zones, places where peoples homes and possessions may have been destroyed and personally I can’t think of a better destination for them.

It is only after items can no longer be worn that they will be taken away and recycled into something else. Generally old, damaged items are used to make insulation for homes and cars.

So only after we have reduced and reused all of our waste do we finally get to Recycling. The most basic definition of recycling is when you take an old item that no longer has any functional purpose or use and you turn it into something new and useful. And as wonderful as that it, it is still not better than reuse, because with reuse no energy or resources are needed to change the physical properties of the material. In Lewisham we are quite lucky as we are able to recycle a multitude of items in our household recycling bin. These items include paper & cardboard, glass bottles & jars, metal cans & foil, household plastic package, beverage cartons (tetrapaks) and textiles.

By taking all of those items out of our refuse bin we end up sending far less waste away for disposal which in Lewisham’s case is for the 5th stage of the waste hierarchy, energy from waste (incineration). Both energy from waste and the 6th stage disposal (landfill) are the end of the line for an item. Once it has been burnt or put back into the ground there is no way back for it and that resource is essentially lost forever.

So when you think of your consumption try and remember the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

gogreen3Rsgraphic


5 Comments

Let’s stay together, to keep our food fresher for longer

Storing our food in its packaging can help keep it fresher for up to two weeks longer* and save the average family upto £270** a year. But new research released today, from Love Food Hate Waste shows that only 13% of us realise that packaging can play an important role in protecting food in our homes.

Not surprisingly the research found that after price, freshness and how long food lasts for are the most important factors for us when we go shopping. We all want to make sure our food is at its best for longer so that we don’t have to throw it, and our money, in the bin.

Fresher for Longer

Fresher for Longer

In fact there’s a great opportunity for us all to save money every week. Even though the majority of us, 61% in fact, are mistakenly thinking fruit and vegetables will sweat and go off quicker if they’re left in the pack. The evidence shows that if we keep our food in its packaging and store it according to the label when we get it home, we would have more time to eat it, reducing the 4.4 million tonnes of good food and drink wasted each year.

To help us waste less and save more, Love Food Hate Waste has launched ‘Fresher for Longer’ the perfect way to help us not waste food. With images of pears asking to hold onto their pack ‘till lunch do us part’ and cheese pledging  ‘you make my shelf life complete’ the theme shows how packaging can not only protect our food from damage on its way to the shops, but keep it fresher for longer in our homes.

Packaging can also help food last much longer.

Packaging can also help food last much longer.

Fresher for longer’ is being officially launched today in conjunction with Marks & Spencer as part of its Plan A commitment to help customers live more sustainably. Over the years M&S has introduced a number of packaging innovations to help us waste less, such as vacuum ‘skin’ packs on fish and meats and the ‘It’s Fresh’ tab in strawberry punnets, to maintain the quality and freshness of its food for days longer. Today M&S has also launched a new online interactive ‘Fresher for Longer’ tool, on its Plan A website for customers to find the best way to store their food.

To save money, the best solution is to buy food we want to store for longer than a day or two, with the appropriate packaging; for example even fruit and vegetables bought loose can last longer if stored properly in a bag that is lightly tied in the fridge. Packaging innovation means many manufactures and supermarkets now use breathable fruit and veg bags, have more re-closable  packs and many more clever features, all designed to make food last longer and save us as consumers money.

Love Food Hate Waste’s Emma Marsh said: “Saving money is always at the top of people’s wish list and wasting less food achieves this. By taking advantage of new packaging innovations, getting to know the packs our food now comes in and discovering the best way our food wants to be stored, for example at lovefoodhatewaste.com, we can reduce the amount we throw away which will have huge environmental benefits as well as saving us money. So when I get my food home, I keep it in its original packaging and check out the instructions on pack to keep my food fresher for longer.”

Cheese

This new research, Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging, delivered in partnership with INCPEN, The Packaging Federation, The Food and Drink Federation, Kent Waste Partnership and The British Retail Consortium, has been published today by WRAP.

Industry partners said: “Food waste is a global issue. We all have a role to play in reducing it; manufacturers, retailers and consumers, and there are many ways of doing it. Keeping food in its specifically designed packaging, and following the dates and storage guidance that appears on the pack is a great start. We have made significant progress in this area, but there is still more that we can do to help reduce food waste, reduce the environmental impact and ultimately save consumers money”.

*Helping consumers reduce fruit and vegetable waste September 2008 By keeping fruit and vegetables in their original packaging in the fridge they will keep up to two weeks longer.

** £270 per family (the value of good food and drink that’s thrown away because it’s “not used in time”).

 


Leave a comment

Love food? Hate waste? Like composting?

Lewisham Council is offering free workshops that you, your family or your friends may be interested in. One theme is home composting and the other is Love Food Hate Waste. Short workshop will give you lots of tips and information on saving money and using food wisely to ensure you waste as little as possible.  On top of this, you will learn how to compost properly so that you can turn kitchen and garden waste into compost that can be used on your garden. The dates and locations are as follows:

Learn to compost

Goldsmiths Community Centre,

Castillon Road, SE6 1QD

Love Food Hate Waste and Composting

Wed 25th July

Recycling stall – 10am to 1pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop 1.30 to 2.45pm

LFHW workshop – 3pm – 4.15pm

Wed 1st Aug

Recycling stall – 1pm to 2.50pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop 3pm to 4.15pm

LFHW workshop – 4.45pm to 6pm

Composting workshop – 6.30pm to 7.45pm

Love food? Hate waste?

Fri 3rd Aug

LFHW workshop – 9.45am to 11am

Composting workshop – 11.30am to 12.45 pm

LFHW workshop – 1.30 to 2.45 pm

Recycling stall – 3pm to 4.15pm (this is not a workshop)

Wed 8th Aug

Recycling stall – 1.30 – 4.20pm (this is not a workshop)

LFHW workshop – 4.30 to 5.45pm

Composting workshop – 6.15pm to 7.30pm

Fri 10th Aug

LFHW workshop – 10am to 11.15am

Recycling stall – 11.30 to 1.45pm (this is not a workshop)

Composting workshop – 2.15pm to 3.30pm

 

Learn to compost

Wed 15th Aug

Composting workshop – 11.30am to 12.45pm

Recycling/LFHW stall – 1.30 – 4pm (this is not a workshop)

 

But wait there’s more!!!

Saturday 1 September

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve – Composting workshops only

Forest Hill

SE23 3TQ (entrance is opposite Tyson Road)

9.30–10.45am or

11am–12.15pm

Monday 3 September

Dacres Wood – Composting workshops only

Dacres Rd,

Forest Hill

SE23 2NZ (entrance is adjacent to Homefield House)

11am–12.15pm

 

Downham Library – Composting workshops only

within the Downham Health & Leisure Centre,

7–9 Moorside Road,

BR1 5EP

Wednesday 5 September

5–6.15pm or 7–8.15pm

Thursday 6 September,

11am–12.15pm or 1–2.15pm

 


Leave a comment

Food and cooking demo goes down a treat

There might have been a bit of a chill in the air but there were plenty of hot and spicy treats for the large crowds that gathered throughout the day for Lewisham’s first Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) cooking demonstration.

Richard cooks up a few treats for all the on lookers.

Richard cooks up a few treats for all the on lookers.

On Monday 21st November, celebrated chef Richard Fox spent the day just outside the shopping centre near Lewisham market showing people how to make simple yet wholesome food from ingredients that they might on another day have considered throwing away.

 First up on the menu was a biryani accompanied by flat bread made from left over chicken, sausages, peas, green beans an onion, some rice, some flour and a few herbs and spices that are probably lurking in everyone’s cupboard somewhere. This was all cooked and dished up within 10 mins or so and served to show the shopping residents of Lewisham just what could be achieved using simple everyday ingredients.

 As well as showing people simple and easy to cook recipes, Richard was also giving out many tips on how to make food last longer and therefore increase its chance of being used up and of course not wasted (which is what the event was all about). For example, he demonstrated how to make coriander last at least a week longer by simply wrapping it in paper towel, sprinkling it with some water and then wrapping some cling film round the stalks.

He also showed a plastic punnet filled with mushrooms that didn’t look their best and asked the crowd how many people would throw the mushrooms away with many agreeing that they would. Richard then cooked the mushrooms in some hot rapeseed oil before leaving them to cool. Once cool they could be put back into the fridge where they will keep for up to another 4 or 5 days and can be added to stews, curries etc. when required. This method was also demonstrated with some very overripe tomatoes which Richard explained were probably at their tastiest now and would be ideal for pasta sauces.

Shoppers gather to watch Richard in action

A second cooking demonstration is being planned for tomorrow (24th November) just outside the shopping centre again where chef Leigh Adams will be in action showing people how to make simple dishes and to think about not wasting food when there is really no need to.


Leave a comment

Top 10 tips for cooking and storing food in the home

So how do you go about cutting down on food waste? Here are some top tips:

 

1. Make the most of foods approaching use by date: why not cook and freeze for later use? For example, cook those sausages, freeze them and then turn them into a sausage risotto on another day.

 2. Remember to check the fridge daily (not just to get the milk out!) and look at dates and what needs using up – use this information in your meal planning. For example, if the eggs are approaching their ‘best before’ date then it might be omelettes for tea instead!

 3. No need to throw carrots and cucumbers away if they’ve gone a bit soft. Just put them in a glass of water in the fridge – they’ll perk up in no time. You can then peel and chop carrots, onions etc, bag them and freeze. When needed, just take out as much as you need and reseal. No more soggy veg at the bottom of your veg box.

 4. A curry is a good solution for just about any unused or leftover food, even vegetables that are on the soft side will be fine in a curry or casserole.

 5. Always finding the half used jar of pesto at the back of the fridge? Why not freeze the leftovers for another day?

 6. Understand the best way to store foods to keep them fresher for longer. Keep your fridge at the correct temperature: below 5°C.

 7. Storing fruit in the fridge can extend its life for up to 2 weeks (this does not work not bananas and pineapple).

 8. You can keep food safely in the freezer for years, in theory, as long as it has stayed frozen the whole time. However, the taste and texture of food changes if it’s frozen for too long, so you might well find that it’s not very nice to eat.

 9. Plan around your schedule and choose a time to plan when you will not be interrupted (too much) – include meals from the freezer, leftover recipes (e.g. pasta for tea, leftovers for lunch), cooking double and freezing half. If possible, use the time to look through cook books and recipes.

 10. Get others involved in menu planning – this ensures there’s something for everyone.

(image: Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)