Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Making Your Christmas Greener Each Year (Pt 2)

In Part 1 of our Christmas blog we looked at trees, food and wrapping paper. Now for Part 2, looking at  unwanted Christmas jumpers, recycling and reusing, alternative presents and what to do with electrical waste.

  1. That Christmas jumper or unwanted item of clothing

Love Your Clothes estimates that over £300 million was spent on Christmas jumpers in 2015; and if that wasn’t bad enough, they also said that 40% of buyers would only be wearing the jumpers once or twice.

Christmas jumper

Our textiles banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

If you are the lucky/unlucky (delete as you wish) recipient of a Christmas jumper or an item of clothing that cannot be taken back, you might want to look at other options. If you are considering buying a Christmas jumper for someone, you should firstly ask yourself if this person would really wear it? If you don’t think they would, then maybe you should buy something else? If you are reading this on Christmas day or after and have received something that looks like the image above, then there are numerous charity shops and clothing banks https://goo.gl/LnEbFS that can help. You could also try selling items of clothing on EBay or use Freecycle. Or what about this: https://wasteaid.org.uk/happy-christmas-jumper-swap/

  1. Recycling and Reusing

I think we can all agree that Christmas generates more waste than any other time of the year? More food is purchased, more drink and more presents. Much of what we think of as waste generated from this is actually a very useful resource. Cardboard, paper, glass bottles and jars (all clean), tins and cans and plastic bottles (all clean) can all be recycled. The green recycling bins or bins with the green lids accept all of these items. They don’t however accept food or garden waste. If you have a compost bin, please use this for all your fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, toilets rolls and even shredded paper. More information on recycling can be found on the Council’s website: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/What-can-i-put-in-my-recycling-bin.aspx

Please make sure that you put your bin out at the boundary of your property on collection day as well. Remember, collection times will change over the Christmas period due to the bank holidays. The collections will be a day behind for both refuse and recycling. If you have additional recycling, please use a clear sack to contain this.

  1. Presents

This can be a tricky area for those wishing to do something more environmentally friendly this year. Eartheasy.com say ‘look for locally made gifts. Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known.’ And what about choosing gifts made from recycled materials, like the examples here: http://eartheasy.com/give_recycled.htm

christmas-presents

There are also charitable gifts. Oxfam have a huge choice of gifts that benefit others in different parts of the world: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped

All of the above are just a few examples that we have found and many people will have their own ideas. If you do, please share in our comments section below.

  1. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Energy-efficient LED Lighting: If you have lights that are over 10 years old, it will be more efficient to replace them with newer, LED bulbs. This can save you up to 90% or more on electricity and they will last longer than traditional bulbs.

Replace Burnt Out Bulbs: Perfectly good lights are often thrown away when all that is required is a change of a single bulb. It may be worth spending time to find and replace the non-working bulbs or invest in a bulb tester (that can be shared between multiple families).

Utilise Timers: Might be worth considering putting your Christmas lights on timers? If you have lights adorning trees or lights outside, don’t count on remembering to turn them off after a long day. If you plug the lights into a timer, that will remember for you. Light timers can be found at any hardware store.

This time of year will probably see huge increases in consumer electronic waste as old unwanted electrical items often get consigned to the bin or the back of a cupboard. Radios, hairdryers, MP3 players, phones, game consoles and many other electronic goods maybe be looking at being discarded around this time of the year. If you find yourself in the position of not knowing what to do with an old electronic device, click on the following link for more information: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/dispose-of/Pages/small-electricals-mobile-phones.aspx

WEEE ... What happens to your electrical items that go for recycling?

Please recycle your old waste electrical and electronic equipment

Larger items of electronic waste can be taken to our Reuse and Recycle Centre in New Cross, SE14: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/landmann-way.aspx

Also, try thinking about buying presents that don’t require batteries and using rechargeable batteries if this cannot be avoided.

Christmas decorations: Christmas is a good time to get creative around the home. The internet is full of creative ways you can decorate your house like the You Tube video in part 1 of this article (see previous blog post). One simple idea that you can do is make home made stars by cutting shapes out of unwanted cardboard and decorating with last year’s wrapping paper, or even make them out of plastic bottles. All you need to do is cut out the bottom of your bottle, and cover with spray paint, acrylic paint or glitter glue. Just make sure the rest goes in the recycling bin! Here are some more ideas:

That just leaves us to wish everyone in Lewisham and all readers of this blog an enjoyable Christmas holiday and a happy New Year in 2017.


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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.