Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

1 Comment

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.

Leave a comment

Bring and fix events helping to encourage reuse in Lewisham!

The Lee Green Community Centre was a hive of activity this Saturday as it held its first bring and fix event.

This was all taking place at the Lee Gate Shopping Centre.

Lee Gate Shopping Centre.

Bring and Fix is a new fair that brings together local people of different ages to share their skills and knowledge to help each other out and have fun doing it. ‘Fixers’ are made up of people volunteering their time to encourage re-use of items which may otherwise have been thrown away and ‘Bringers’ are people who need something repairing or who want to find out about something. The fixers this Saturday ranged from someone sewing a new skirt out of an old dress, gardening advice, mobile advice, knitting, small item repair and recycling ideas. Those who volunteered as fixers received Time Credits for their efforts and Joan Roach from Spice who run the time credits scheme in Lewisham was also on hand with her extraordinary dress making skills. Items that got fixed on the day included a bag, a dress, some hair clips, a scooter and other successes including someone learning how to turn predictive text off their mobile phone.

Lots of people took part in the activities.

Lots of people took part in the activities.

Members of the local community as well as local Cllr Jim Mallory came along to support the event and get their items fixed. Members from the Rushey Green time bank were also at the event as well as from Lewisham’s recycling team. More bring and fix events will be taking place at the Lee Green Community Centre so please contact them directly on or keep a look out on our blog for more information!

One of the volunteers repairs a toy scooter.

One of the volunteers repairs a toy scooter.


Recycle your old garden tools

The Conservation Foundation are promoting their garden tool recycling project. Whilst there’s no drop off point in Lewisham itself, there is a drop off point in Lambeth for those people that are able to drive there and leave their old spades, forks and rakes etc. behind.

For those wishing to find out further information, please see the following link

Further information on this initiative can be found on the leaflet below.

'Dig' out those old tools and see them being brought back to life.

‘Dig’ out those old tools and see them being brought back to life.

Full details on the drop off points can be found on the link above.

Full details on the drop off points can be found on the link above.


Leave a comment

Junior Citizens learn all about recycling

The Council’s recycling team have again been involved in the annual Junior Citizen programme. This year it has been held at the Lee Green Fire Station on Eltham Road and aims to teach children about the dangers of drugs, safety on public transport and talking to strangers amongst many other subjects including recycling and waste.

 The recycling team do already run a successful Clean and Clean programme across the borough in Lewisham’s primary schools, however this gives us another opportunity to engage with children further and to talk to them about the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We also talk about what should and shouldn’t go into the recycling bins and finally give them some examples of what happens to the things they recycle and what they eventually end up being recycled into.

 Groups of children go from room to room in the fire station and spend around 12 minutes in each learning something new. It is hoped that what they learn about recycling can be taken home and taught to their parents. The two week event finishes on Friday.


The Full Set

So we’ve finally got our act together and created a REUSE tab for the blog, meaning we can now boast the full complement of reduce, reuse and recycle. The reuse tab is going to act as a directory of local and national businesses who are able to take things that you don’t want or need and do something useful with them.

If you know of, or are a business that fit’s into this criteria leave a comment at the bottom of the page or send an email to … In the meantime we hope you find the new page useful.

Leave a comment

Textile Thursday

So it’s the 4th day of climate week and we realised that we had unwittingly released information on Meat free Monday, Telephones on Tuesday and World Water day on Wednesday so we thought the only possible thing we could do was Textile Thursday ….

In the UK, approximately 1.5 – 2 million tonnes of textile waste is generated each year. Of this, 1.2 million tonnes enter the household waste stream and ends up in landfill. Textiles present particular problems at landfill: man-made fibres do not decompose and although woollen garments do eventually decompose they emit methane gases which contribute towards global warming and climate change. Even though we don’t landfill our domestic waste in Lewisham, the majority of the UK does and burning clothes is not an awful lot better than burying them.

So what can the residents of Lewisham do with unwanted textiles? We’ve created a list, starting with the best possible option:

1. Think about why the clothes are unwanted, it’s often best to buy better quality clothes that last longer – I’m no fashion expert but apparently classic items never go out of fashion!?

2. Take unwanted clothes to your local charity shop, it’s best to donate clothes locally and give them a new lease of life.

3. Use the old clothes yourself to create dusters, draft excluders or make a pillow from a t-shirt. You can attend our crafts and draughts event this Saturday to find out how to make your own draught excluders – go to our recycling map and click on the orange suns to find out where the event is.

4. Use the numerous textile banks around the borough, visit our recycling map (look for the purple pins) to find your nearest bank. These clothes are sorted into various grades, with some staying in the UK and others providing an affordable source of clothing to disadvantaged people in the developing world and emerging countries in Eastern Europe.

Please don’t put textiles in your normal refuse or recycling bins, they can’t be recycled at our Materials Recovery Facility and it’s a waste if they’re burnt.

In addition to all of these options we’re currently carrying out a textile collection trial in the Brockley and Telegraph Hill wards, if this is succesful we’ll be looking to expand it to more parts of the borough.

Leave a comment

Lewisham Schools Christmas Card Competition

During the post Christmas months (January and February 2010) Lewisham council asked their staff to bring in unwanted and used christmas cards. As a result of this we were able to collect over 10,000 cards – but rather than just recycling these immediately we wanted to push them up the waste hierachy. So we held on to the cards for 10 months and in December 2010 asked local schools to utilise the cards to make decorations.  5 schools signed up and we ran a competition to find the best decorations.

The 5 schools which took part were:

Stillness Infants
Forster Park
Kelvin Grove
St Winifred’s

And the winners are …. (insert drumroll) ….. Stillness Infants,

Congratulations to Stillness Infants and all the Schools which took part, we’ve put some photo’s up below. If you know of any schools which may be interested in entering the competition this year (December 2011) then email – we have plenty more cards!