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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Visits to Bywaters and Closed Loop

On 16th December, 2011 a contingent from Lewisham Council visited our new dry recyclables contractor Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd. The contingent included the Mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, Cabinet member for Customer Services, Cllr Susan Wise, Executive Director for Customer Services, Kevin Sheehan and members of staff from the recycling team.

From left to right: Michael Pusey (Bywaters), Kevin Sheehan, Executive Director for Customer Services (Lewisham), John Glover (MD Bywaters), Cllr Susan Wise, Mayor Steve Bullock and David Rumble (Bywaters)

 The visit to the materials recycling facility (MRF) was a chance for everyone to see what happens to the contents of the recycling bins when they are tipped by the Council’s collection vehicles at the east London plant.

 The tour of the MRF was conducted by David Rumble, Bywaters Strategic Development Manager who explained all the different procedures that the materials have to go through to separate everything into its component parts until the final baling process at the end. To ensure that the materials are of a premium quality and therefore command higher prices, Bywaters employ two separate teams of hand sorters who pick and sort from the fast moving conveyers all the items that shouldn’t be on that particular line. The removed materials are then added to another stream for that particular material where again they are collected in bulk and then baled.

View of part of the Bywaters materials recycling facility (MRF)

 Bywaters have been very pleased with what they have received so far from Lewisham. However, that doesn’t mean that we are by any means the perfect recycling borough and always need to be vigilant when it comes to keeping on top of any potential contamination. Bins that are contaminated with food or garden waste will cause big problems at the sorting process as it will be wet and will smell and so ruin any potential for any material that has been collected and stored with it to be recycled.

 We will be working more closely with Bywaters over the contract period to implement measures to improving much of what goes into the recycling bin and also to get more people involved in the process so that we can increase tonnages.

 After the Bywaters trip, the rest of the recycling team went on to visit Closed Loop http://www.closedlooprecycling.co.uk/ in Dagenham who receive plastic bottles from Bywaters. This was a very interesting tour and gave everyone the opportunity to see how all the plastic bottles are dealt with after leaving the MRF process. We witnessed how they were able to separate the lids from the plastic bottles using a tank. In flake form, they were able to separate them as one floated and the other sank. There was a huge emphasis on running all the flakes through as many cleaning processes as possible to make sure every last trace of metal was removed as a great deal of the flakes were destined for the dairy market and the production of new milk bottles.


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Act locally to help globally!

Sunday 2nd October was a very different kind of Sunday for David Brinson, a member of Lewisham Council’s Recycling Team. He would usually spend the morning at home with his wife, instead he spent it at St John with Holy Trinity Church in St. John’s Vale, SE8.

He was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a part of Rev Christine Bainbridge’s Creation Sunday Service. Rev. Christine spoke about how people can make small changes in their life that can have not only a positive impact on themselves, but also in the world as a whole. David was able to offer the practical solutions people could make to really make that difference. The service had a really positive feel about it and the congregants all made David feel very welcome.

Lewisham’s recycling team have been making appearances at Local Ward Assemblies, resident and tenants groups and school assemblies for the past 18 months. Their recycling presentations are always well received by residents and they always spark a lot of interesting debate. Email the Recycling Team at recycle@lewisham.gov.uk if you would like the Recycling Team to come and speak at one of your events or meetings.

Who would of thought that rubbish could be so interesting?


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WEEE Man is here to save the World!

WEEE Week – 26th September to 1st October 2011

For those that have been following us on Twitter and have seen our recent forays into the world of acting, film and promotional work, you should know all about the acronym WEEE. Below is a groundbreaking film about our very own WEEE superhero … WEEE Man.

For those not entirely familiar with the jargon of the waste industry, WEEE actually stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment or put simply, that broken toaster, radio, lamp, kettle or hoover that’s been stuck at the back of your cupboard or in your garage for the last few months that you’ve been meaning to get rid of.

The Council are staging a week of WEEE collections during what we are calling, WEEE Week. This will be your opportunity to empty your cupboards of that unwanted electrical waste, those duplicate remote controls, hairdryers, food mixers, sandwich toasters, and redundant juicing machines.

However, if you have items that are in perfect working order, why not see if someone would like it on Freecycle, or give it to a friend, neighbour or even a charity shop. Though if it is broken, then why not give it to us?

During WEEE Week, a collection vehicle with be at one of the locations below between 8.30am and 12pm to collect your old and unwanted small electrical appliances. (1pm to 4pm at Sir Francis Drake and 1am to 3pm at Dacres Road).

Please bring your old hoovers, radios, stereos, toasters, hairdryers, irons, microwaves, kettles, mobile phones, games consoles, computers and laptops to us for safe disposal.

Please note: No TV’s, fridges or fluorescent tubes are allowed as these are considered hazardous waste which we cannot accept.

Monday 26th: Kelvin Grove School, Kirkdale, SE26 6BB, 8.30am – 12pm

Tuesday 27th: Forster Park, Boundfield Road, SE6 1PQ, 8.30am – 12pm

Wednesday 28th: Ladywell Fields College, Manwood Road, SE4 1SA, 8.30am – 12pm

Thursday 29th: All Saints Schools, Blackheath Vale, SE3 OTX, 8.30am – 12pm AND Sir Francis Drake School, Scawen Road, SE8 5AE, 1pm to 4pm.

Friday 30th: Edmund Waller, Waller Road, SE15 5LY, 8.30am – 12pm

Saturday 1st October: Dacres Wood Nature Reserve, Dacres Road, Forest Hill, 11am – 3pm