Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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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.

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Christmas time is here again…

I know, I know, it comes round so quickly, it only seems like a few months ago that you were Christmas shopping and hanging up your decorations. But like it or not, Christmas is here again and everyone in the recycling team (all three of us) will be doing our utmost to make the festive period a sustainable and environmentally friendly occasion.

So how do you prepare for a greener and more sustainable Christmas when you have to get a tree, put up decorations, buy lots of food and drink and buy and wrap lots of presents?

Here's some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

Can you believe these are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple. Who needs Blue Peter?

Well, there are some measures you can take to try and reduce your impact on the Worlds resources at a time of mass consumerism. The following are some ideas and tips that we’ve put together from a wide range of sources that will help you reduce waste, tackle contamination (which is a massive problem in Lewisham) and make your food go a little further without wasting it.

One of the early purchases around Christmas time is the tree. What are the options when it comes to deciding on what type of tree to buy and where do you buy it from? Then when you have finished with it, what do you do with it?

Well, if you have an artificial tree that’s still in good condition, then use that. Whilst they are made of PVC and cannot be recycled, if you already have one, then it may as well be put to use. It can also be used year after year after year.

However, if you want a tree with the environment in mind, a real tree is the way forward. Christmas trees are farmed on land that is usually not suitable for other crops and are converted to mulch or wood chips after use leaving virtually no residual waste. Try to buy a UK tree which do provide a habitat for wildlife whilst growing. The best option would be a tree with a rootball intact that can be planted afterwards or kept in a container. More information on trees can be found here: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/1711560/eco_christmas_trees.html

Buy a real tree and leave it at a collection point for mulching.

You could buy a real tree and leave it at a collection point for mulching or use an artificial one if you already have one.

So the tree is up, now the decorations. What about re-purposing old decorations? Sleigh bells from last year that adorned a wreath that you don’t use any more can go on your tree and save you money. Also, if every family reused just two feet of ribbon, the 28,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around planet Earth?

Cheap Christmas ornaments can be made from wine corks. These reindeers for example are cheap and easy to make.

Cheap and fun craft ideas like these are simple to make.

Cheap and fun craft ideas like these are simple to make.

If you want to know how to make them, please see the following link. There are also other ideas on this site that can be used: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2014/11/jfekw.html

Once you have the tree and decorations up, you’ll start thinking about food and drink over the Christmas period. The Recycling Team can’t stress enough how useful the Love Food Hate Waste message is. Figures show that Britons throw out the equivalent of 2m turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74m mince pies.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

If you’re unsure of what to do with leftover turkey, vegetables, mince pies or the odd spare Christmas pudding, then fear not, there is a website that can help with all of these things. The Love Food Hate Waste website has been set up to inform and educate people about the enormous waste of food that goes on everyday. There’s also an enormous amount of recipe ideas which everyone will find very useful, see the link here: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

And don’t forget to compost. All manner of peelings are generated over Christmas which your compost bin will devour. Its simple and easy.

As for the drink, whilst that will keep and won’t be in danger of going off quickly, there are things to think about when it comes to the packaging of those drinks. Christmas generates enormous amounts of plastic and glass bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.

Bottles, cans, paper, glass and cardboard only. No food or garden waste please.

Bottles, cans, paper, glass and cardboard only. No food or garden waste please as that causes problems here at the sorting facility.

These can all be recycled using your recycling bin. One thing to remember however is to ensure everything that goes in there is clean and contamination free. Please do not use the recycling bin for food waste, garden waste and also for textiles. The latter can go into a textile bank or a charity shop. Please use the following link to find out exactly what can go into your recycling bin: http://goo.gl/rqh90J

After prolonged partying you eventually make it through Christmas and start the new year with lots of optimism. One of the first things to think about is when you take your real Christmas tree down, what are you going to do with it? Well, if you live near a Lewisham park, why not bring it along and leave it at a designated spot. From here we will collect it and turn it into mulch which will be used on the parks and gardens across the borough. The list of parks where trees can be left is on the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/12/08/christmas-tree-recycling-locations/

And finally, there’s just the New Years resolution to make. You could start the year on a much greener footing and say that you will recycle more this year and make all efforts to stop contamination of the recycling bins? Did we mention this was a problem?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Lewisham residents.


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Have Yourself a Merry (eco) Christmas

It doesn’t feel like it was 12 months ago that we were putting together our usual list of tips and hints on how to make your Christmas as environmentally friendly as possible.

As with every Christmas, we always notice that there are new things that can be done to reduce waste on all fronts, whether its on present buying, present wrapping or cutting down on the waste associated with food and drink.

The following are the recycling teams guide to all residents to help them enjoy a hopefully white Christmas but also a green one too.

Christmas Trees

This topic alone generates a whole range of responses. Some websites say that if you have an artificial tree, then use that rather than buy a real one. Or maybe buy a second hand artificial tree? Failing that you can rent a Christmas tree and if buying a real tree, ensure its UK grown and from a grower registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree?

And of course if you do go for the real tree option, please remember to recycle your Christmas tree at one of the many sites dotted around the borough. If you do this, then at least your tree will have a second life as mulch on garden beds and paths in the borough’s parks. Locations for recycling trees can be found here: http://goo.gl/RAOqY4

So, now that you’ve sourced your tree from an ethical supplier or dusted down the artificial tree from the loft, you just need to make it look the part in your home without worrying about the damage being done to the environment. The following link has some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas tree decorations from items that you would on any other day, throw in the bin. Making baubles using old CD’s, turning old light bulbs into Christmas penguins, reindeer’s made out of old toilet rolls? This can also be a fun activity to do with children.

From this......

And you could end up going from this……

...to this using old toilet roll tubes

…to this, using old toilet roll tubes

The following link can help you out with the above  as well as many other ideas: http://www.boredpanda.com/diy-christmas-ornaments/

Gifts

With the tree and decorations in place, thoughts now turn to presents. Shopping on the high street or online will be most peoples experiences of Christmas gift buying. But there are other ‘greener’ or arguably more interesting options to consider. For example, you could look at making something yourself? Could you make soap for example? http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/knit-free/how-to-make-soap-soap-recipe-lavender

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

Or make a case for an iPad: http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/pattern-finder/sewing-projects/sewing-for-the-home/make-ipad-case

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

There are many websites offering ideas on making gifts that have the added advantage of the gifts not coming in any additional packaging and generating more waste.

Presents can also be wrapped in newspaper or in paper from magazines. If some ribbon is used to hold it together, the effect is such that you hardly pay attention to the fact that its not wrapped in proper Christmas wrapping paper. Once the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper can simply then go straight into the recycling bin – which might be the place you want to look to get it from?

Here's some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

Here’s some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

Food and Drink

There is no doubt that the purchasing of food and drink has its fair share of waste if the right amount of planning isn’t taken into account. A huge resource of ideas, tips, hints and suggestions regarding food including freezing, storage, recipes and the using up of leftovers can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from the LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

With regards to drink, then most of this will come in either a plastic bottle, an aluminium can, glass bottle or a tetra pak which fruit juice and now some wines come in. The good news is that you can recycle all of these things in Lewisham. Please make sure that over the Christmas period, you remember to recycle all drinks containers including those jars that once contained those Christmas pickles. All we ask is that everything is clean before it goes into your recycling bin. To find out exactly what goes into your recycling bin, please click on the following link: http://goo.gl/Gt9L9W

The recycling bin can also be used for all cardboard packaging which many gifts will come in. Our crews will endeavour to keep those bins emptied over the Christmas period, but please be aware of the changes to the service due to the holidays. Full details can be found on the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2014/12/01/christmas-and-new-year-refuse-and-recycling-collection-arrangements/

Unwanted Presents

By the afternoon of Christmas Day, presents will have been opened, wrapping paper and packaging will have been recycled and some presents might start to look like it wasn’t quite what you wanted. You might have the option of taking the item back with the receipt which is fine. If not, and the item in question is clothing, think about charity shops or a textile bank to ensure the item gets a second chance and will be worn by somebody who wants it.

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

A list of the textile banks can be found on the following link: http://goo.gl/G6yFpZ  As well as clothing, there may be other gifts that you have received which a charity shop might accept and sell to people who might want it. You may also be receiving gifts that will render some of the things you already have in your house obsolete. For example, you might get new kitchen appliances which will be seen as an upgrade to what you already have at home. It could be a toaster, kettle or a coffee making machine. It may be a new DVD player, laptop or games console? If residents do have redundant electrical items at home that do not work or are broken, please recycle them using either one of our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks or take the items to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. Details on the locations of the WEEE banks can be found here: http://goo.gl/ciZGzo

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

And finally, please remember to leave your bins at the boundary of your property on the correct collection day if you want them emptied. Once they have been emptied, please bring them back in off the street. Last, but not least, Lewisham’s recycling team would like to wish all residents in the borough and a merry Christmas and a happy new year.


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Police stand by whilst a man is eaten by a large compost heap

People’s Day 2014 and the Green Police were out in force again arresting anyone they caught not recycling and dealing with their waste properly. Many people came to see the recycling stall near the bandstand in Mountsfield Park on what was a lovely summers day and took away the odd freebie (spaghetti and rice measurers, pens, pencils, rulers, cotton shopping bags etc.) or just some information they were after.

Joining forces with Lewisham police to fight the war on waste

Joining forces with Lewisham police to fight the war on waste

Over 150 people visited the recycling stall which also benefitted from being situated right next to the man eating compost heap called Compost Mentis. This was a small theatrical performance by 3 actors which served to highlight the benefits of composting whose star performer was a huge compost heap that comes to life and eventually devours the disgruntled gardener who seems to spend his time in the garden getting annoyed.

Dave Bowman from Bywaters (right) with Kate and Dave from our recycling team

Dave Bowman from Bywaters (left) with Kate and Dave from our recycling team

The Compost Mentis performance drew quite a healthy crowd and children in particular were mesmerised by the large compost heap gulping down the gardener and letting out a mighty burp at the end. For those that weren’t able to see the performance, please click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQuDKLHNRXo

A disgruntled gardener has a closer look at the large compost heap

A disgruntled gardener has a closer look at the large compost heap

This year like last year, the Green Police aka Lewisham’s Recycling Team were joined by a new recruit from Bywaters, the company that takes all of the recyclables that are collected in the recycling bins across the borough. Dave Bowman (Recycling Quality and Tipping Relations Manager) was on hand to answer all those tricky questions posed by residents regarding what happens after all those tins, cans, bottles, cardboard, paper and beverage cartons are tipped into the back of a recycling vehicle. It was very useful having him there as there were quite a few residents that were intent on grilling him and finding out all about the sorting and separating processes.

The gardener is devoured  by the large compost heap and shocking all the onlookers

The gardener is devoured by the large compost heap and shocking all the onlookers

Overall, a very productive day for the team and hopefully all the questions that were asked were answered satisfactorily. Everyone liked the Love Food Hate Waste freebies that were given away. We also promoted the Love Food Hate Waste website which is a very useful resource and covers all aspects of food including recipes and how to store food correctly. For those who are not familiar, please see the following link: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/


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Forget Turtle Doves and Leaping Lords – here’s our 12 tips of Christmas……

After three, 1, 2, 3

On the first day of Christmas my true love……..

OK, there’s no need to break into song, but as an alternative to this festive ditty, the Recycle for Lewisham team have done away with swimming swans and piping pipers and are offering our very own 12 tips of Christmas.  These are just a few things that you as a Lewisham resident can do to make your yuletide that bit greener and better for the environment.  So let’s get started…

1. Make sure you have access to a recycling bin over Christmas so that you’re able to recycle all your cans, paper, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed plastics and beverage cartons. You can order a new recycling bin by clicking on the following link: http://goo.gl/UFGktq

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

2. Transform your Christmas leftovers with these inventive roast turkey sandwich ideas.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Turkey, Cream Cheese and Bacon Sandwich – Smoky bacon and chive cream cheese make this a perfect Boxing Day breakfast or if you are feeling a little healthier, how about making a Turkey, Watercress and Apple Sandwich – Thinly sliced apples lend a crisp sweetness to this tasty treat.

3. Once the presents have been opened, turkey eaten and the Christmas tree is looking a bit bare, remember it can have a new lease of life by taking it to one of 12 Christmas tree drop off points at local parks around the borough where it will be turned into mulch: http://goo.gl/wFk3LE

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

4. Why buy all that expensive wrapping paper when newspaper and magazines will do just the same? Why not add some string and ribbons and a home-made tag as well and be more creative this Christmas.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

5. Has someone just given you a beautifully wrapped present, with lovely paper and ribbons? Unwrap it carefully and save the paper and decorations to use later!

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

6. Do you need to make space for all of the new DVDs, CDs and books that you will be receiving this Christmas? Why not donate your old ones to your local charity shop, or if they are a classic titles you can make a bit of cash by selling them at car boot sales or online using sites such as Amazon and Play.com

Sell or giveaway old books and CD's that you no longer want.

Sell or giveaway old books and CD’s that you no longer want.

7. Did you get a Christmas jumper or item of clothing that you can’t see yourself wearing? Not to worry, these can be reused through a charity shop or deposited at one of the many textile banks across the borough:  See locations here:  http://goo.gl/i38qmY

Our textiles banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

Our textile banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

8. Tired of trying to eat up all those left over roasted vegetables after Christmas? Turn it into a delicious soup and freeze it for later – see the link below but remember, you can use all sorts of roasted veg for this! http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes/roasted-sweet-potato-soup-paprika

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

9. Plan on having cheese platters out at your Christmas parties? Always place out less than what you think is needed and keep the rest in the fridge – you can always top up the plate if needed later. If you’ve got too much left over, you can even freeze cheese either as a whole block or grated… it’s up to you!

Don't eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

Don’t eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

10. Christmas is the perfect time for getting that compost bin. With all the food preparation that will happening, you’ll need somewhere to deposit all those peelings from the fruit and vegetables.  It could be the start of your New Years resolution to start being greener. The compost bins are free as well: http://goo.gl/ub4Wc6

Mr Compost says 'Come along and learn how to make some good quality compost for your garden.'

Mr Compost says ‘Why not get a compost bin this Christmas and new year and start composting.’

11. Some Christmas cards are too nice to throw away, so why don’t you turn them into gift tags to use the following Christmas. It takes just minutes to do, and with a bit of care they can come out looking every bit as nice as ones you can buy in the shops.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards - in the New Year of course.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards – in the New Year of course.

12. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run. Broken small appliances can be taken to one of our WEEE banks  http://goo.gl/73tm3k  or our Reuse and Recycling Centre:  http://goo.gl/n6NbrO

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.


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Living Waters Christian Centre Food Service cooks up a storm with Lewisham

Over the years, Lewisham’s recycling and waste minimisation team have set out to raise awareness of the enormous waste generated by people throwing away food. This includes food that could have been eaten – it may have been forgotten about, not stored correctly, or not used for a number of other reasons.

To help our residents reduce food wastage at home, we’ve put on public educational cooking demonstrations in supermarkets, local street markets and at People’s Day and have ran cooking classes at  a variety of venues around the borough.

Lewisham residents about to enjoy the fruits of their labour. New recipes learnt in the first of Honor Oak Community Centre and Lewisham Councils  Love Food Hate Waste cooking class.

Lewisham residents about to enjoy the fruits of their labour. New recipes learnt in the first of Honor Oak Community Centre and Lewisham Councils Love Food Hate Waste cooking class.

Now we’ve taken it a step further. Lewisham has teamed up with Living Waters Christian Centre Food Service and developed a series of 4 Love Food Hate Waste cooking classes in co-junction with their Food Bank. These classes are intended for those who don’t feel confident with their cooking skills and need to cook to a budget. Though targeted to residents registered for the Food Bank, all Lewisham residents are welcome to come and learn.

Our first class went down like a treat.

“I learnt how to make a meal out of virtually nothing just by adding things that’s already around the fridge or cupboard”

The content of the class was designed to show how by creating a very simple sauce made from just a few basic ingredients you can then sprout many different flavoursome meals from this one foundation. From a simple tomato based sauce we made a curry, courgette boats with spicy sausage and finally smoky mince and rice stuffed peppers. Along the way, we discussed all the ways that you could prevent food waste.

Having achieved a fun and educational session of cooking, and of course eating the results, here’s a few more comments about the course from the participants:

 “I learnt that you can freeze eggs and how to keep herbs fresh for longer!”

 “I don’t like to waste food so finding out how to preserve food that’s on the brink of being perished was helpful”