Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


Leave a comment

Swishers descend on Goldsmiths University for some clothes swapping

Friday the 13th might sound like a risky kind of day to hold an event. But despite being thrown a few unlucky curve balls at the last minute, we pulled through with flying colours, holding a really successful Swishing Event! In case you’re not sure what the swish is all about, it’s a fun social event where you bring your pre-loved clothes to swap them for someone else’s… for free!

All quite before the swishers move in

All quiet before the swishers move in

Lewisham Council, in its endeavour to raise awareness about the huge problem of textile waste, joined forces with Goldsmiths University students who brought a fantastic amount of energy into this campaign.

So, what is the problem?

In the UK, consumers throw away over a million tonnes of textiles every year. All of it could have been reused or recycled instead of going to waste. It’s the equivalent of throwing away £238 million every year. Crazy!  It’s just as crazy to learn that to manufacture one pair of jeans and a t-shirt takes about 20,000 litres of water.

Both students of Goldsmiths University and Lewisham residents came to swap their clothes. At times the change room had a queue as there was a frenzy of trying things on!

Both students of Goldsmiths University and Lewisham residents came to swap their clothes. At times the change room had a queue as there was a frenzy of trying things on!

Yet, there’s also thousands of ways to upcycle textiles, reuse them, swap them, or simply recycle them by putting them in a textile bank, click here for textile bank locations: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/textile-recycling/Pages/Textile-recycling-banks.aspx

This happy swisher had her eye on this shawl since the promotional events earlier in the week and was thrilled to be it's new owner at Friday's event. She was so happy, she came back later in the day for a second swish!

This happy swisher had her eye on this shawl since the promotional events earlier in the week and was thrilled to be it’s new owner at Friday’s event. She was so happy, she came back later in the day for a second swish!

Our swishing event, promoted through posters, information stalls and through social media was held in the Stretch Bar of Goldsmiths University. To the sound of groovy beats and strobe lighting, we had over 50 people come to the swishing event, or see what it was all about.

We took every opportunity to talk about what the event was all about and received great feedback about the concept and event, with 'When's the next one?' being the most asked question!

We took every opportunity to talk about what the event was all about and received great feedback about the concept and event, with ‘When’s the next one?’ being the most asked question!

A great time was had by all and many of the swishers walked away with armfuls of new-to-them clothes and big smiles!


Leave a comment

Forget Turtle Doves and Leaping Lords – here’s our 12 tips of Christmas……

After three, 1, 2, 3

On the first day of Christmas my true love……..

OK, there’s no need to break into song, but as an alternative to this festive ditty, the Recycle for Lewisham team have done away with swimming swans and piping pipers and are offering our very own 12 tips of Christmas.  These are just a few things that you as a Lewisham resident can do to make your yuletide that bit greener and better for the environment.  So let’s get started…

1. Make sure you have access to a recycling bin over Christmas so that you’re able to recycle all your cans, paper, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed plastics and beverage cartons. You can order a new recycling bin by clicking on the following link: http://goo.gl/UFGktq

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

Please make good use of your recycling bins during the Christmas period.

2. Transform your Christmas leftovers with these inventive roast turkey sandwich ideas.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Loving food and hating waste. Make good use of that turkey.

Turkey, Cream Cheese and Bacon Sandwich – Smoky bacon and chive cream cheese make this a perfect Boxing Day breakfast or if you are feeling a little healthier, how about making a Turkey, Watercress and Apple Sandwich – Thinly sliced apples lend a crisp sweetness to this tasty treat.

3. Once the presents have been opened, turkey eaten and the Christmas tree is looking a bit bare, remember it can have a new lease of life by taking it to one of 12 Christmas tree drop off points at local parks around the borough where it will be turned into mulch: http://goo.gl/wFk3LE

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

Please make use of the collection points to recycle your Christmas tree.

4. Why buy all that expensive wrapping paper when newspaper and magazines will do just the same? Why not add some string and ribbons and a home-made tag as well and be more creative this Christmas.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

5. Has someone just given you a beautifully wrapped present, with lovely paper and ribbons? Unwrap it carefully and save the paper and decorations to use later!

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

Wrapping paper and ribbon can be used again.

6. Do you need to make space for all of the new DVDs, CDs and books that you will be receiving this Christmas? Why not donate your old ones to your local charity shop, or if they are a classic titles you can make a bit of cash by selling them at car boot sales or online using sites such as Amazon and Play.com

Sell or giveaway old books and CD's that you no longer want.

Sell or giveaway old books and CD’s that you no longer want.

7. Did you get a Christmas jumper or item of clothing that you can’t see yourself wearing? Not to worry, these can be reused through a charity shop or deposited at one of the many textile banks across the borough:  See locations here:  http://goo.gl/i38qmY

Our textiles banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

Our textile banks will take all manner of clean clothes.

8. Tired of trying to eat up all those left over roasted vegetables after Christmas? Turn it into a delicious soup and freeze it for later – see the link below but remember, you can use all sorts of roasted veg for this! http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes/roasted-sweet-potato-soup-paprika

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

Use up all those vegetables by making some lovely soup.

9. Plan on having cheese platters out at your Christmas parties? Always place out less than what you think is needed and keep the rest in the fridge – you can always top up the plate if needed later. If you’ve got too much left over, you can even freeze cheese either as a whole block or grated… it’s up to you!

Don't eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

Don’t eat all your cheese in one go. Store it and use it later.

10. Christmas is the perfect time for getting that compost bin. With all the food preparation that will happening, you’ll need somewhere to deposit all those peelings from the fruit and vegetables.  It could be the start of your New Years resolution to start being greener. The compost bins are free as well: http://goo.gl/ub4Wc6

Mr Compost says 'Come along and learn how to make some good quality compost for your garden.'

Mr Compost says ‘Why not get a compost bin this Christmas and new year and start composting.’

11. Some Christmas cards are too nice to throw away, so why don’t you turn them into gift tags to use the following Christmas. It takes just minutes to do, and with a bit of care they can come out looking every bit as nice as ones you can buy in the shops.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards - in the New Year of course.

Get those scissors out and start chopping up those cards – in the New Year of course.

12. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run. Broken small appliances can be taken to one of our WEEE banks  http://goo.gl/73tm3k  or our Reuse and Recycling Centre:  http://goo.gl/n6NbrO

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.

Batteries can be recycled in libraries and supermarkets across the borough.


5 Comments

The Waste Hierachy

You could be forgiven for thinking that Recycling is the most important aspect of waste management. Lot’s of people do. But in actual fact it isn’t.

Like the rest of Europe we use the Waste Hierarchy in order to prioritise and manage our waste (picture below). It is a classification of waste management options in order of their environmental impact and its aim is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste from them.

Waste-hierarchyAs you can see Recycling is only at Number 4 on the list, which means that there are 3 other options that we should try and do before we even get there.

At the top of the pyramid we have Prevention and that is because the best thing that we can do is to try and prevent waste from occurring in the first place. As individuals we can do this by trying to shop sensibly and think about those supermarket purchases. We must ask ourselves “Is that Buy One Get One Half Price offer really too good to turn down?” or “Will I actually get round to eating that item before it expires?”, just by thinking a little bit more about what we purchase will mean that we not only save money, but we also will be producing less waste.

Next up we have Minimisation, which is often better known as ‘Reduce‘, and it really is that simple. It is just about trying to use less things and if we use less of something we will waste less of it. A great example of this is to start composting food scraps, like vegetable peelings, egg shells and tea bags. Portion control is also key we often cook too much food and end up throwing it away. You could even put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your letterbox to stop those pesky take away menus. How many pizza menus does one house really need?

At Number 3 we have Reuse and this is key to the whole process as this is where we can all have a really big impact on our own waste. It is far better to continue using something that has already been manufactured for a purpose then it is to get something new. A fantastic example of this is reusing super market carrier bags, they are designed to only have one use, but the more we get out of them the better. The next step on from this would be either getting a plastic ‘bag for life’ or by using a cotton shopping bag. Cotton bags are fantastic as they can be used for an indefinite amount of times whereby a ‘bag for life’ may get damaged after 20-30 uses.

Reuse doesn’t just have an impact on our own lives. Textile reuse has a truly global impact. In the first instance we would always say try and give your unwanted clothes to friends or family and it is often the case that hand-me-downs are used by multiple siblings, which is fantastic. But if you don’t have anybody to give that old jumper to or that pair of jeans that no longer fits you, then please give it to a charity shop or put it into a Textile Collection Banks. Unwanted clothes are hugely important and get assessed to find their most suitable destination points.

Textile bank - Sydenham

The best clothes are usually passed on to vintage or retro clothes shops. Even high street fashion takes these items and turns them into their own vintage range. The next grade of clothing generally goes on to be sold in charity shops, these are usually good quality items that do not have that vintage flavor. After that we have good items that may no longer be perfect or in saleable condition and this is where something special happens. It is these items that are often sent to disaster zones, places where peoples homes and possessions may have been destroyed and personally I can’t think of a better destination for them.

It is only after items can no longer be worn that they will be taken away and recycled into something else. Generally old, damaged items are used to make insulation for homes and cars.

So only after we have reduced and reused all of our waste do we finally get to Recycling. The most basic definition of recycling is when you take an old item that no longer has any functional purpose or use and you turn it into something new and useful. And as wonderful as that it, it is still not better than reuse, because with reuse no energy or resources are needed to change the physical properties of the material. In Lewisham we are quite lucky as we are able to recycle a multitude of items in our household recycling bin. These items include paper & cardboard, glass bottles & jars, metal cans & foil, household plastic package, beverage cartons (tetrapaks) and textiles.

By taking all of those items out of our refuse bin we end up sending far less waste away for disposal which in Lewisham’s case is for the 5th stage of the waste hierarchy, energy from waste (incineration). Both energy from waste and the 6th stage disposal (landfill) are the end of the line for an item. Once it has been burnt or put back into the ground there is no way back for it and that resource is essentially lost forever.

So when you think of your consumption try and remember the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

gogreen3Rsgraphic


Leave a comment

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:  https://recycleforlewisham.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/swishing-event-invite2.jpg


Leave a comment

Vintage reuse garments prove a hit at ‘Fashion Late’

The KFC Red dress was exhibited on the Lewisham stand. Made to raise awareness of litter, Lesoco students used old kfc packaging to create this one off.

The KFC Red dress was exhibited on the Lewisham stand. Made to raise awareness of litter, Lesoco students used old kfc packaging to create this one off.

If you ever thought that the world of textile recycle and reuse is unglamorous- its time to think again. Last Friday, the recycling team showcased a selection of vintage garments which had all been salvaged from textile bins sited across the borough at the ‘Fashion Late’ event in the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill SE23. The event, at the start of Forest Hill Fashion week, featured catwalk shows, talks, makeovers and a fashion market where the Lewisham stall displayed its reused vintage chic!

Lewisham does fashion- the stand exhibiting clothes sent for reuse.

Lewisham does fashion- the stand exhibiting clothes sent for reuse.

Fashionista’s from across the borough saw up close the type of garments which people send for reuse. Items of clothing placed into the textile bins are sorted by the new contractor- LMB at their East London warehouse where they are distributed across the UK and beyond for Reuse. Details of where Lewisham textile bins are located can be found here:  https://recycleforlewisham.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/swishing-event-invite2.jpg

Fashion Late was a well attended event.

Fashion Late was a well attended event.

The reception for the stand was very positive but unfortunately despite a high number of requests, no one was able to buy on the day. The items are being saved for our ‘Big Swish’ event being held this Friday 27th September in Lewisham Shopping Centre. If you want to take part and have an item of clothing that is in good condition, please bring along, washed and ironed, between 10am and 4pm and you can get an item of clothing that is ‘new to you’.


Leave a comment

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.


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.