Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


Tag along to a textile bank for some recycling

Over the last week you might have seen a blue tag hanging on your recycling bin. Lewisham Council are keen to make sure that everyone’s recycling all they can, including their textiles. More than 60% of UK householders say they have unwanted clothes and textiles in their homes. We’d like to see these clothes being put to use and the clothes given a second chance.

You might have seen these hanging on a recycling bin near you.

You might have seen these hanging on a recycling bin near you.

These blue tags are an encouragement to all our residents to take a look at their wardrobes to clear out any unused textiles and recycle them by using one of the many textile banks located around the borough.

Full details of where your nearest text bank is can be found on the bin hanger.

Full details of where your nearest text bank is can be found on the bin hanger.

If you didn’t see one of the hangers on your recycling bin then don’t worry, full details of where you can find your nearest textile bank can be found on our website. For updates for new or relocated textile banks please visit:

A friendly cat approves of the new bin hangers.

A friendly cat approves of the new bin hangers.

The textiles are collected by a company called LMB who are based in East London. Full details of the company can be found on the following


End of season- swishing success in Lewisham

Following the success of our ‘big swish’ held in Lewisham shopping centre last year, we decided to hold three more mini ‘swishes’ in the borough at – Brockley, Grove Park and Lee Green.

Swishing is swapping – people turn up with something (in this case clothing) that they no longer want and swap with other peoples clothes that they no longer want. No money changes hands and swishes are usually a sociable event with the added benefit of reducing the need to shop and reusing clothing.

The three mini swishes were held each month from January to March with thirty residents coming along to swish items of clothing. In total twenty six items of clothing were swished and other items of clothing were handed in which we sent for reuse.

Window dressing at the swishing event

Window dressing at the swishing event

The swish in March took place at Lee Green Community Centre- whilst the sewing lesson was taking place upstairs!

Feedback about the events was very positive: “Thank you, some lovely new clothes and a fab dress for tomorrow night” & “Nice relaxed event”

Another satisfied customer

Another satisfied customer – vintage dress going to a happy swisher

We haven’t currently got any more swishes planned however you can go to which advertise local events. If you don’t want to swish your clothes, you can always donate them to a charity shop or take them to one of our textile banks which are located across the borough. Click on the following link and find the nearest textile bank to where you live:

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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:

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Launch for textile recycling in Lewisham

The Lewisham Council led, pan London textile procurement process finally came to a finish recently with the award of the contract going to LM Barry (LMB), a textile recycling company that are based in east London.

Potentially, 11 London local authorities could benefit from this innovative procurement process. A process that took many months and an equal amount of meetings to put together.  The new contract which Lewisham has entered into with LMB  means that the Council will receive a greater level of income for all the textiles that are deposited in the brand new banks. Many residents may have already seen the dark blue textile banks popping up at existing bring sites around the borough to replace the old green ones.

Bring along an item of clothing and exchange for something - that's swishing.

Bring along an item of clothing and exchange for something else – that’s swishing.

To launch the service and publicise it further, the Council are staging an event to highlight the kinds of textiles that we want residents to put into the banks. This will also be an opportunity for residents to see the sort of  items that are reused and recycled every day through the textile bank collection service.  The event, which is being held at Lewisham Shopping Centre is known as a ‘swishing’ event.

Swishing has grown in popularity in recent months with many people staging events in their homes amongst friends and family.  Swishing involves people bringing along a suitable item of quality clothing to the event and then take something home of equal quality that they like. Full details of this event can be found on the poster above. Staff from Lewisham Council will be on hand to answer any questions and queries about the new service as well as help out with the categorizing of the clothes and ensuring people find something they like which they can take home and use again.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Please use this opportunity to bring something that you have forgotten about or no longer wear and wish to exchange for something different that you will appreciate and wear more than the item you brought.

The event will run from 10am to 4pm on Friday 27th September 2013 at the site of the old Ponti’s restaurant in the middle of Lewisham Shopping Centre.  Everyone welcome.