Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Going bananas and getting creative for Fairtrade Fortnight!

Bananas are a hot topic as this years Fairtrade Fortnight (24th February to 9th March) centered around the campaign to make bananas fair. Lewisham got into the swing of things with a number of events throughout the fortnight including a supper at the Catford Canteen, discussions by banana farmers at both Goldsmiths University and the Horniman Museum. Lewisham schools also got on board with Kilmorie school hosting a Banana themed Fairtrade breakfast and cake sale and the boroughs Clean & Green schools took part in a Fairtrade poster competition.

A Fairtrade banana tells people about the plight of the banana farmers at at Horniman Park.

A Fairtrade banana tells people about the plight of the banana farmers at Horniman Park.

Prices for bananas has been driven lower because of a price war from supermarkets to entice shoppers by offering the fruit cheaply. The effect of this has been to push the price paid to the banana producers to 40% less over the last ten years at a time when the cost of producing bananas has increased. This not only has a detrimental effect on the wages and working conditions for farmers but encourages them to intensify banana production. Environmental problems such as soil exhaustion and increased water use also have the potential to effect the land.

Leona Garrick of St Winifreds Catholic Infant School with teacher Mrs Abbs and Councillor Susan Wise

Leona Garrick of St Winifreds Catholic Infant School with teacher Mrs Abbs and Councillor Susan Wise

Leona Garrick produced this years winning poster design which will be seen out and about in the borough on one of our recycling vehicles! For more information about Fairtrade, please visit: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/business/Pages/Fairtrade.aspx


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WEEE Week 2013 – Another Successful Year

Monday October 21st saw the start of WEEE Week 2013 and the first school that we visited was Holbeach Primary School in Catford. A typical visit starts with signing in at the school reception, before being shown the hall or gym where the assembly will take place.

Cllr Susan Wise, children from Torridon Junior School (David Eidenas, Charlotte Chambers, Mark Masara & Ayomide Adako) and of course WEEE Man

Cllr Susan Wise, children from Torridon Junior School (David Eidenas, Charlotte Chambers, Mark Masara & Ayomide Adako) and of course WEEE Man

Once the laptop, sound and screen have all been set up and tested, the children start to come in. Once settled, the WEEE presentation begins and there is lots of opportunities for the children to participate by answering questions. Children are told about the recycling of paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and mixed plastics etc before being told about what to do with electronic waste.

They are then shown the short WEEE Man film which they enjoy very much and is the perfect opportunity to build up the tension for the appearance of WEEE Man himself. This takes one of two shouts from the assembled children before WEEE Man emerges from a hidden corner, behind a curtain, a cupboard or side room. With lights on and a menacing brooding walk into the room, WEEE Man can cut a quite scary figure – so much so that younger members of the audience have been known to get a little upset at times.

WEEE Man is a dark silent figure that identifies himself with the likes of The Terminator and serves as a visual reminder for children to bring in redundant electrical items from their homes, i.e. old hairdryers, radios, toasters, heaters, DVD players etc. Children are genuinely fascinated by his appearance and ask lots of questions about him and the recycling of electronic waste in general. Questions like ‘Is he real?’ Answer ‘Yes, of course he is’ and ‘where is he from?’ Answer ‘The future’

WEEE Man watches over as the children drop their unwanted electrical items in the WEEE bin.

WEEE Man watches over as the children drop their unwanted electrical items in the WEEE bin.

We tell the children that he is only able to stay for a short time and after a few minutes he disappears behind the door or curtain where he made his entrance to the cries of ‘bye WEEE Man’ from all the assembled children.

All the children in the school are then given a flyer which they take home to their parents to see if they have any redundant electrical items at home which they can bring along and deposit in the WEEE bins which we had delivered to all the schools before WEEE Week started.

After visiting Holbeach School on Monday morning, we then visited Torridon School on Tuesday where again the children gave WEEE Man a very warm reception (pictured above). Wednesday saw WEEE Man at Athelney Primary School before going to Horniman Primary School where it took several shouts from the children before WEEE Man appeared which added extra tension to the event. Our final school was the Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School where WEEE Man surprised the assembly by coming out of a room at the back of the hall and catching all the children off guard.

We are hoping that all the bins will collect a healthy amount of electronic waste which is a valuable resource. These items shouldn’t be put into the recycling bin as this will be classed as contamination, nor should they go into the refuse bin, as this will be incinerated and the resources lost.

For those people that want to recycle their old electronic items, we have WEEE banks in the borough, please see the following link:  https://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/02/11/small-appliance-banks/ or you can use our Reuse and Recycle Centre: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/landmann-way.aspx


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A bit of London Fashion Week comes to Lewisham

Once the media have finished clambering for stories associated with London Fashion week, they’ll turning their attention to the next big event in the fashion calendar. That will be the Big Swish Event that will be taking place in Lewisham Shopping Centre a week later.

Already the event is generating a great deal of interest and momentum with lots of people contacting the recycling team to ask about when it all starts and what kind of clothes to bring along to swish with. Several bags of quality clothing have already been collected and this week, so Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services came to our offices to give us a hand in sorting some of them out.

Councillor Susan Wise helps with sorting clothes for the swishing event.

Councillor Susan Wise helps with sorting clothes for the swishing event.

On the day of the event, we are planning on having a selection of children’s, men’s and women’s clothing to swish with. Anybody can take part in the event, you simply need to turn up with an item of clothing that you no longer want or need or that’s been sitting in the wardrobe for some time. Just bring this along and then simply choose another item as a replacement – and voilà! you have swished. Couldn’t be easier

The event is being staged to raise the profile of textile recycling, and whilst we collect textiles in the recycling bins, we would prefer residents to use our textile banks where there would a better chance of keeping the quality of the item intact. Residents can also choose to take textiles to charity shops if they wish.

The event will be taking place at the site of the old Ponti’s restaurant in the shopping centre between 10am and 4pm on the 27th September. 10 other local authorities have also been invited as they were part of the huge tendering exercise that Lewisham Council led on that saw all the authorities getting a much better price for all the textiles collected. Heidi Alexander MP will also be lending her support to the event and will be popping in around 12.30pm. Details of where all our banks are located can be found below.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Find a bank near you and drop off your textiles.

Please come along with clothes that you would like to swish with and enjoy the fun day out.


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Lewisham school’s environmental efforts celebrated at Clean Green awards 2013

Schools from across the borough gathered at the Civic Suite, Catford this week to mark the end of the 12th annual Clean & Green schools programme.  Thirty Lewisham schools took part in the year long programme whose aim is to support and encourage teachers and children to explore topics which impact the environment for example, transport, bio-diversity, waste and recycling.

In previous years, Clean & Green schools have set up initiatives which have been sustained in subsequent school years. Previous winners have set up food growing areas, worked with local businesses to collect and recycle tin cans and started a walking bus for children to get to school.

This years ceremony was a fun event, starting with lunch and then award  presentions by Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services.  Entertainment for the afternoon was provided by Ade from Bigfoot Arts (pictured below) who did a one man show about the effects of global warming. Extra help was provided by children in the audience and included Luna (also below) from St Savious RC Primary School who rose to the challenge for some impromptu acting, making it an extra special performance.

Luna from St Saviours RC Primary School rose to the challenge to act up with Ade from Bigfoot Arts theatre company

Luna from St Saviours RC Primary School rose to the challenge to act up with Ade from Bigfoot Arts theatre company

This year has seen more great work from the schools who participated.  Some of the achievements highlighted at the award ceremony included Haseltine School whose children, inspired by a trip to Brogdale Orchard in Kent, set about creating their own orchard using the fruit to make jams for their school breakfast club.  Another school- Horniman Primary grew vegetables in their growing area and made up veg boxes to sell to the wider community.  Both of these schools won gold awards for their effort.

Cllr Wise, who has shown continued support for the programme and judged many of this years entries, commented on the high standard of entries submitted again this year.  Holbeach School received the runners up award with judges congratulating the amount of work they did to encourage recycling in the whole school.

Maisee, William and Kennedy from this years winning school, Coopers Lane pictured with Cllr Susan Wise.

Maisee, William and Kennedy from this years winning school, Coopers Lane pictured with Cllr Susan Wise.

The winners were Coopers Lane School (pictured above) whose work throughout the year culminated in an environmental open evening attended by the school and local community. They displayed the work they had done over the Clean & Green year. The judges were very impressed with the amount of effort made by the whole school and the degree to which the wider  community were involved.

If you are a teacher of parent at a Lewisham school and would like more information on taking part in next years programme, please email Kate.parkinson@lewisham.gov.uk http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/getinvolved/environment/Pages/Clean-and-Green-Schools.aspx