Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Recycling team busy at SELCHP’s annual Open House

On Sunday 20th September, the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) plant in New Cross, opened its doors to the general public again as part of the annual Open House event that happens across the capital. For those who are not familiar with what SELCHP does or what it is, put simply, this is where all of the rubbish that goes into your black bin ends up. Once inside the SELCHP plant, all of this rubbish is incinerated.

The burning of rubbish and all of the processes involved with this is clearly something that many people are curious about as the event is very well attended. This is why Lewisham Council’s Recycling Team also attended so that they could speak to many of the attendee’s about waste and in particular recycling and composting.

Kate and Paddy from the Council's Recycling Team spoke to over 100 people throughout the day.

Kate and Paddy from the Council’s Recycling Team spoke to over 100 people throughout the day.

The dates of the Open House event fell quite fortuitously in the middle of Lewisham’s consultation ‘Let’s Talk Rubbish’ which started on the 21st July 2015 and runs until October 18th. The Council would like to know what you think about potential changes that are being proposed across the borough. Are you in favour of fortnightly refuse collections? Would you like to see food collections starting? And what about a subscription garden waste service, would that be something you’d participate in? If you haven’t filled in a survey yet, click on the following link, watch the short video and then tell us what you think: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/Consultation-on-waste-and-recycling-changes.aspx

The recycling trailer was kept busy all day long with inquiries about recycling and composting. This gave Kate and Paddy from Lewisham’s Recycling Team a chance to speak more in depth about the on going consultation to the Lewisham residents that attended. It was also an opportunity to tell people about the change in policy of collecting textiles. This is something that we want everyone in the borough to be made aware of. If you have textiles that you no longer want,  please use a textile bank to dispose of them or a charity shop. Otherwise they will be soiled and ruined beyond use and classed as contamination if they go inside of your recycling bin.


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Plastic recycling – the do’s and don’ts

When it comes to plastics and recycling, the picture can be a bit confusing for residents all wanting to do the right thing. There are just so many different types of plastics in the world, plastics that people use everyday, which many people assume can be recycled.

Plastics come in all shapes and sizes and whilst we do ask for all your milk bottles and plastic bottles, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want every type of plastic.

So what are the plastics we don’t want? The following list details some of the items that Viridor, our current contractor and materials recovery facility operator told us they can’t recycle:

  • Laminated plastics – these can go into your refuse bin
  • CDs and cases and their transparent sleeves – charity shops or the refuse bin
  • Childrens toys – to the local Reuse and Recycling Centre or toy libary
  • Electrical appliances – to Reuse & Recycling Centre or a WEEE bank
  • Video and music cassettes – these can go into your refuse bin
Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents, electrical items cannot be recycled in your green bin

Videos, music cassettes, toys, laminated documents and electrical items cannot be recycled using your green bin

New technologies have made video and music cassettes redundant but many people still have lots of these at home. These are made up of plastic, metal and tape which becomes entangled in the sorting equipment if they end up in the recycling bin. We don’t have any facilities to collect these and the nearest place to process and recycle them is in Bristol.

There are also other ways to make use of some items as well. For example CDs can be used as bird scarers if you’re a gardener or have an allotment. Freecycle could also be seen as a way finding a home for these items as local community projects might be able to use them (often projects like things with different textures and colours to create mosaics for example) or pass them on to friends and family, or sell them on online sites.

Another item that we’d like to see out of the recycling bin is clothing and textiles. Whilst we have been collecting them in the recycling bin when we were with a different contractor, the time has come to change this. We are now asking residents not to use this route and instead use our textile banks or your local charity shops.

Please take clothing to a textile banks or a charity shop

Please take clothing to a textile bank or a charity shop and avoid using your recycling bin

This is because the quality is massively reduced when clothes and textiles are put into the bin. After leaving the bin they are tipped into a truck and then tipped again and sorted at the materials recovery facility (MRF). This isn’t what you’d call a very clean operation and as you can imagine, the clothes get very dirty, smelly and reduced in quality and value. By placing textiles in our textile banks you can be sure someone will be able to enjoy the benefits of your generosity. Visit this link to see where our textile banks are, http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/textile-recycling/Pages/Textile-recycling-banks.aspx

As a general rule of thumb regarding recycling, we say that if it’s not on the sticker on your recycling bin, then please put the item into your refuse bin.

Full details here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx