Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Textile Flash Mob Hits Lewisham Shopping Centre

In the UK, we throw away over a million tonnes of textiles every year. All of it could have been reused or recycled instead of going to waste. Lewisham Council and Goldsmiths University students joined forces to raise awareness of this issue, and as part of the campaign, came up with the crazy idea of performing a flash mob while creating an art instalment at the Lewisham Shopping Centre, which took place on the 14th of March 2015.

The students, coming from a range of backgrounds had no experience in performance or flash mobs but managed to catch the eye of over 200 onlookers and after each performance talked with residents about how they can upcycle, reuse or recycle textiles.

The flab mob start their routine as curious shoppers try to work out what is going on

The flab mob start their routine as curious shoppers try to work out what is going on

Once the flash mob completed their routine, shoppers had the opportunity to find out what was going on and approached the Goldsmith’s students.

We're asking residents to use clothing banks and charity shops to recycle all their textiles instead of their green bins

We’re asking residents to use clothing banks and charity shops to recycle all their textiles instead of their green bins

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We take the MetalMatters Campaign directly to the shoppers

On Friday 14th March, members of the Council’s recycling team launched it’s MetalMatters campaign at the shopping centre in Lewisham. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of recycling tins, cans, aerosols and foil and increase the tonnages collected in the borough.

Lewisham Council have received funding from MetalMatters and also from the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to conduct a campaign right across the borough. For the launch, we joined up with Myatt Garden Primary School who came along to the shopping centre to create an original piece of artwork using tins, cans, foil and bottles tops.

Myatt Garden Primary Schools made a good start on the art work will will go to other schools in Lewisham.

Myatt Garden Primary School made a good start on the art work which will go to other schools in Lewisham.

Their canvass for this event was a huge framed steel sheet which with the aid of magnets was used to place bottle tops and recycled cans to form images and words. 10 children spent 4 hours in the main square of the shopping centre preparing bits of metal, magnetic strips, cuttings and placing them onto the steel sheet.

Their infectious enthusiasm led many passing shoppers to stop and enquire what the activity was all about. This gave the recycling team the perfect opportunity to engage with the shoppers and to explain the importance of recycling tins and cans and let them know how much metal really matters.

Children from Myatt Garden Primary School, teachers, representatives from the MetalMatters campaign and WRAP and special guest the Tin Man.

Children from Myatt Garden Primary School, teachers, representatives from the MetalMatters campaign and WRAP and special guest the Tin Man.

This was also an opportunity to ask all those residents to recycle all their paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, beverage cartons, mixed plastics and plastic bottles including their tops.

The event was a huge success with all the school children having a great day out and making their own personal contribution to public art. The artwork will go on to visit more schools in the borough and may eventually appear in the National Gallery.

Shoppers also had a chance to meet our mystery guest the Tin Man who really was in a position to say how much metal really does matter. Lots of shoppers stopped to pose for photos with him and he was more than happy to pose with all the school children in group shots.

For the next couple of months residents will continue to see the campaign on the side of our recycling and refuse vehicles and will also be receiving a second leaflet through the post reminding them of the importance of recycling tins, cans, aerosols and foil.

Don't forget to recycle all your tins, cans, aerosols and foil and make your metal matter.

Don’t forget to recycle all your tins, cans, aerosols and foil and make your metal matter.

One thing we would also ask everyone to do and that is to give your food cans a quick rinse before depositing them into your recycling bin. This will increase their value and stop your bin from smelling. For more information on what you can recycle or if you want to order a recycling bins, please click on the following link: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/default.aspx?LGNTF=10


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Can we do it? Yes we Can

Lewisham’s Metal Matters campaign has been running for a couple of weeks now and many of you may already have seen this in one form or another. Perhaps you have seen the trucks carrying the huge banners highlighting the importance of recycling tins and cans for example or have seen the JC Decaux signs carrying the posters all across Lewisham. The Council’s official website has also been displaying a huge banner ad with a link connecting you to our recycling page.

JC Decaux signs as seen all across the borough

JC Decaux signs as seen all across the borough

The metal packaging manufacturing industry, recyclers and fillers have teamed up with Lewisham Council to launch the ‘make your metals matter’ recycling campaign, to raise awareness of the importance of metal packaging recycling and to increase the amount collected from households. The campaign is being jointly funded by MetalMatters, an industry partnership comprising the UK’s leading producers, users and recyclers of metal packaging and Recycle for London.

To raise awareness further, we are going to have a launch event in the Lewisham Shopping on Friday 14th March between 10am – 2pm.

The event will be our opportunity to engage with Lewisham shoppers and encourage them further to recycle all their tins and cans including aerosols and foil. Also at the event will be children from Myatt Garden Primary School who will be taking part in an art project to create a unique piece of artwork from tins, cans, bottle tops and ring pulls. The construction of the art project will be taking place in the shopping centre itself and council staff will also be there asking shoppers to join in should they wish.

It is hoped that once the artwork is completed, it will go on to be displayed in the National Gallery. As well as all this activity, we will also be inviting a special guest that will be handing leaflets and talking to shoppers about his own experiences of how much metal matters to him.

If you are going to be in the shopping centre on March 14th between 10am and 2pm, why not pop over to the Metal Matters stand and say hello and find out how you can play your part in increasing the amount of tins, cans, aerosols and foil that can be recycled.

Further information about the recycling of tins, cans, paper, cardboard, mixed plastics, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, beverage cartons can be found on the following link: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-I-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx


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Lewisham shoppers bag a bargain at a ‘Big Swish’

Last Friday, the middle of Lewisham Shopping Centre was transformed into a vintage shoppers delight when the Lewisham Recycling team held a ‘Big Swish’ to raise awareness of the new textiles banks across the borough.

Big Swish 1

The middle of the shopping centre was given a ‘vintage makeover’

The term swishing refers to swopping of items, often clothes, where someone swops a garment that they no longer want with someone else’s unwanted item.

The swishing began at 10am and luckily even early visitors had a plentiful supply of quality clothes to choose from.

Big Swish 9

Bagging a bargain!

Much of the stock already on display was sourced from Lewisham’s new LMB textile banks. The quality of items on offer was very impressive, with clothing ranging from vintage garments, high street brands and designer labels.

The event was very well attended and a total of just over 80 garments were ‘swished’.  Lewisham East Member of Parliament – Heidi Alexander, also came along to show her support for textile reuse and brought along a number of ‘swishable items’.

Big Swish 6

Heidi Alexander MP at the Big Swish

Please bear in mind that textiles can still be placed into your recycling bin, but if placed in our textile banks there is a better chance of the item being reused rather than recycled. Remember – Reuse is always better than recycling!  And if you can’t get to a textile bank then there is always the option of using your local charity shop.

Details of where Lewisham textile bins are located can be found here:  https://recycleforlewisham.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/swishing-event-invite2.jpg


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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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Recycle Week 2013

This week is National Recycle Week 2013 and the recycling team at Lewisham Council have been out and about in the borough promoting recycling and composting to residents.

Dave Brinson talks to one of the many shoppers that came to visit us throughout the day.

Dave Brinson talks to one of the many shoppers that came to visit us throughout the day.

On Wednesday 19th the team went to the shopping centre in Lewisham where we had a small stand and throughout the day spoke to many residents and shoppers giving advice and information on all manner of environmental issues. Many people just wanted advice and reassurance about what to recycle. Others were asking about the new Service Standards that we are currently introdcing.

We also took requests for compost bins, recycling bins and gave out bin stickers, leaflets and spaghetti measures and freezing clips to encourage more people to Love Food Hate Waste.

Visit us at our newly refurbished trailer on Friday 21st June.

Visit us at our newly refurbished trailer on Friday 21st June.

On Friday 21st, the team are heading to Sainsbury’s in New Cross Gate where we are taking our newly refurbished trailer and will again be talking to shoppers and residents and giving information as well as a few freebies to those that come and visit us.


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Recycle Week in Lewisham 2012

June 18th – 24th was National Recycle Week  and was an opportunity for the Environment and Community Development (ECD) Team to promote recycling to the residents of the borough. Social media was used to send out endless tweets giving facts about plastic bottles (this years theme) as well as other facts to encourage people to recycle more or even start recycling for the first time.

Several different events took place by way of raising awareness of recycling generally, but also to keep putting the message out that the Council are now able to recycle more materials such as beverage cartons, shredded paper, textiles and mixed plastics on top of the usual paper, cardboard, cans, plastic bottles and glass.

As part of the acivities, we took a group of pensioners from the Lewisham Pensioners Forum to the materials recycling facility (MRF) so that they were able to witness at first hand how all the various materials were separated and sorted using an efficient mechanised process that also includes a great deal of hand sorting.

As well as this, Council staff took out its recycling trailer twice during the week to the Lewisham shopping centre where a builders bag was used to collect ‘on the go’ recycling from the commuters and shoppers who were out and about in the high street.  As well as collecting cans and sandwich packs, there were also a lot of plastic bottles collected. This was also an opportunity to engage with our residents to promote the recycling of plastic bottles and to answer any queries they had about recycling and waste issues generally.

A resident visits us at our recycling trailer

Some of the items collected in the builders bag from shoppers and commuters.

Whilst these activities were taking place, we had also been in touch with an art organisation called Platform-7 to organise another event that we wanted to take place during Recycle Week. The event was called Deluge (see story further down) which took place at the old Blockbusters store in Rushey Green, Catford. The focus here was on the ‘politics of the videocassette, obsolescence and recycling. ‘ Academics from Goldsmiths University gave mini lectures on obsolescence and packaging. Paul Halliday, a lecturer from Goldsmiths was exhibiting his art installation at the Blockbusters store. This was a large spooled out mass of video tape from around 600 old video tapes that were collected as part of the project. Whilst Platform-7 were using the disused shop (courtesy of Lewisham Council), they were encouraging residents to still use it as a drop off point for all their unwanted videos which people were more than happy to do. Just like the old days. Looking at the  the mass of spooled out tape was like staring at an advancing oil slick in the large open space of the Blockbuster store.

The spooled out tape from 600 video tapes. More were collected and will be recycled.

The Council also called upon the services of WEEE Man who turned up to promote the collecting of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) . As well as using Blockbusters for collecting video tapes, it was also being used as a drop off point  for old electrical waste and several items of WEEE were collected as part of this.

WEEE Man deep in video tape at Deluge

The spooling mass of tape could be seen 24 hours a day through the window with the night lights and assisting fans giving the installation a different look in the dark evening.

The drop off point for video tapes. WEEE Man drops off his old Terminator films.

All tapes, items of WEEE, the recyclables collected in the builders bag in the high street will all be recycled at the end of Recycle Week.