Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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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!


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Textile Flash Mob Hits Lewisham Shopping Centre

In the UK, we throw away over a million tonnes of textiles every year. All of it could have been reused or recycled instead of going to waste. Lewisham Council and Goldsmiths University students joined forces to raise awareness of this issue, and as part of the campaign, came up with the crazy idea of performing a flash mob while creating an art instalment at the Lewisham Shopping Centre, which took place on the 14th of March 2015.

The students, coming from a range of backgrounds had no experience in performance or flash mobs but managed to catch the eye of over 200 onlookers and after each performance talked with residents about how they can upcycle, reuse or recycle textiles.

The flab mob start their routine as curious shoppers try to work out what is going on

The flab mob start their routine as curious shoppers try to work out what is going on

Once the flash mob completed their routine, shoppers had the opportunity to find out what was going on and approached the Goldsmith’s students.

We're asking residents to use clothing banks and charity shops to recycle all their textiles instead of their green bins

We’re asking residents to use clothing banks and charity shops to recycle all their textiles instead of their green bins


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Have Yourself a Merry (eco) Christmas

It doesn’t feel like it was 12 months ago that we were putting together our usual list of tips and hints on how to make your Christmas as environmentally friendly as possible.

As with every Christmas, we always notice that there are new things that can be done to reduce waste on all fronts, whether its on present buying, present wrapping or cutting down on the waste associated with food and drink.

The following are the recycling teams guide to all residents to help them enjoy a hopefully white Christmas but also a green one too.

Christmas Trees

This topic alone generates a whole range of responses. Some websites say that if you have an artificial tree, then use that rather than buy a real one. Or maybe buy a second hand artificial tree? Failing that you can rent a Christmas tree and if buying a real tree, ensure its UK grown and from a grower registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree

Why not try something really different this year and go for a cardboard Christmas tree?

And of course if you do go for the real tree option, please remember to recycle your Christmas tree at one of the many sites dotted around the borough. If you do this, then at least your tree will have a second life as mulch on garden beds and paths in the borough’s parks. Locations for recycling trees can be found here: http://goo.gl/RAOqY4

So, now that you’ve sourced your tree from an ethical supplier or dusted down the artificial tree from the loft, you just need to make it look the part in your home without worrying about the damage being done to the environment. The following link has some great ideas on how to make your own Christmas tree decorations from items that you would on any other day, throw in the bin. Making baubles using old CD’s, turning old light bulbs into Christmas penguins, reindeer’s made out of old toilet rolls? This can also be a fun activity to do with children.

From this......

And you could end up going from this……

...to this using old toilet roll tubes

…to this, using old toilet roll tubes

The following link can help you out with the above  as well as many other ideas: http://www.boredpanda.com/diy-christmas-ornaments/

Gifts

With the tree and decorations in place, thoughts now turn to presents. Shopping on the high street or online will be most peoples experiences of Christmas gift buying. But there are other ‘greener’ or arguably more interesting options to consider. For example, you could look at making something yourself? Could you make soap for example? http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/knit-free/how-to-make-soap-soap-recipe-lavender

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

The link above has all the information you need on how to make your own lavender soap

Or make a case for an iPad: http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/pattern-finder/sewing-projects/sewing-for-the-home/make-ipad-case

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

Why not have a go at making a case for an iPad or similar tablet

There are many websites offering ideas on making gifts that have the added advantage of the gifts not coming in any additional packaging and generating more waste.

Presents can also be wrapped in newspaper or in paper from magazines. If some ribbon is used to hold it together, the effect is such that you hardly pay attention to the fact that its not wrapped in proper Christmas wrapping paper. Once the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper can simply then go straight into the recycling bin – which might be the place you want to look to get it from?

Here's some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags - simple.

Here’s some we did earlier in the office. These are wrapped in newspaper with the addition of some ribbon and nice tags – simple.

Food and Drink

There is no doubt that the purchasing of food and drink has its fair share of waste if the right amount of planning isn’t taken into account. A huge resource of ideas, tips, hints and suggestions regarding food including freezing, storage, recipes and the using up of leftovers can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

Sweet and sour potatoes and sprouts from the LFHW website: http://goo.gl/Lf5y62

With regards to drink, then most of this will come in either a plastic bottle, an aluminium can, glass bottle or a tetra pak which fruit juice and now some wines come in. The good news is that you can recycle all of these things in Lewisham. Please make sure that over the Christmas period, you remember to recycle all drinks containers including those jars that once contained those Christmas pickles. All we ask is that everything is clean before it goes into your recycling bin. To find out exactly what goes into your recycling bin, please click on the following link: http://goo.gl/Gt9L9W

The recycling bin can also be used for all cardboard packaging which many gifts will come in. Our crews will endeavour to keep those bins emptied over the Christmas period, but please be aware of the changes to the service due to the holidays. Full details can be found on the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2014/12/01/christmas-and-new-year-refuse-and-recycling-collection-arrangements/

Unwanted Presents

By the afternoon of Christmas Day, presents will have been opened, wrapping paper and packaging will have been recycled and some presents might start to look like it wasn’t quite what you wanted. You might have the option of taking the item back with the receipt which is fine. If not, and the item in question is clothing, think about charity shops or a textile bank to ensure the item gets a second chance and will be worn by somebody who wants it.

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

Textile banks and charity shops will except good quality clean clothes

A list of the textile banks can be found on the following link: http://goo.gl/G6yFpZ  As well as clothing, there may be other gifts that you have received which a charity shop might accept and sell to people who might want it. You may also be receiving gifts that will render some of the things you already have in your house obsolete. For example, you might get new kitchen appliances which will be seen as an upgrade to what you already have at home. It could be a toaster, kettle or a coffee making machine. It may be a new DVD player, laptop or games console? If residents do have redundant electrical items at home that do not work or are broken, please recycle them using either one of our Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) banks or take the items to our Reuse and Recycle Centre. Details on the locations of the WEEE banks can be found here: http://goo.gl/ciZGzo

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

Small appliance banks can be used for toasters, kettles, hairdryers, hair straightners, irons, laptops and games consoles amongst other things

And finally, please remember to leave your bins at the boundary of your property on the correct collection day if you want them emptied. Once they have been emptied, please bring them back in off the street. Last, but not least, Lewisham’s recycling team would like to wish all residents in the borough and a merry Christmas and a happy new year.


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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: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/textiles

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 http://www.lmb.co.uk/


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Sir Vivor bag textile trial hits parts of the borough with a £100 prize on offer

In a joint partnership project with our textile and recycling contractor, Lewisham Council are trialing the collection of textiles using what is being called the Sir Vivor bag. Unlike other collections that utilise ordinary sacks that are just left on the doorstep for collectors to take, this one tries a whole different way to recover those textiles in the best condition it can.

Fill the Sir Vivor bags with your unwanted textiles and then place the bag/s in your recycling bin.

Fill the Sir Vivor bags with your unwanted textiles and then place the bag/s in your recycling bin.

Residents are probably used to the idea of putting textiles in their recycling bins at the moment and whilst this is an OK method of collection, there are quality issues to think about. We also encourage residents to think about using charity shops and dedicated textile banks first before putting their textiles in the recycling bin loose.

Putting items in loose does leave them vulnerable to damage and being soiled as they enter the compactor and then are tipped at the other end with all the cans, bottles, cardboard, plastic bottles and juice cartons. With this survival bag, the air is compressed out during compaction and the thicker plastic sacks protect the items inside until its tipped and recovered at the materials recovery facility (MRF) in Bow, East London.

The scheme is being trialed in parts of Grove Park, Lower Sydenham, Bellingham, Crofton Park, Forest Hill, Catford South, Hither Green, Brockley, Blackheath and Ladywell. For those properties that fall in the trial zone, you will be receiving a couple of the Sir Vivor bags with a leaflet (see above). This details what can and cannot go into the sacks and there will also be an opportunity for those that submit some feedback to have a chance of winning £100 worth of vouchers.

Full bags should be left in your recycling bin (preferably at the bottom)

Full bags will find their way to LMB Textiles via the Bywaters materials recovery facility.

The full sacks go into your recycling bin (preferably at the bottom where it can’t be seen) and then you use your recycling bin as normal.  After collection, the bags will go to our textile contractor LMB Textiles http://www.lmb.co.uk/ where they will be reused and recycled.


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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 http://www.swishing.com 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: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/other-waste-and-recycling/Pages/Textile-recycling.aspx


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Getting creative with the Peoples Patchwork project!

Late last year, the recycling team were approached by colleagues in the library service who told us about a project they were running and wondered if we could help to source some materials for it.

The project called the ‘Peoples Patchwork’ has the aim of making a large patchwork quilt out of individual patches designed by the people of Lewisham. Each patch should tell a story of the person or group that made it, exploring what Lewisham means to them. When the quilt is complete, it will be exhibited at Peoples Day and later, displayed around the borough.

The contribution made by the environment division at Lewisham Council.

The contribution made by the environment division at Lewisham Council (thanks to Sarah Foraud).

Working with our new textile contractor- LMB, we had just installed new textile banks across the borough and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to not only try and source some fabric squares to donate to the project, but also make one ourselves to be included in the final quilt!

We were given guidance on the size we needed to make the fabric patch so that it could be included- the design being 15cm x 15cm with at least a 1.5cm all the way around (so total size 18cm squared). Any medium can be used for the design on the fabric, including appliqué, embroidery etc but we chose fabric paint and we created a design close to our hearts- clothing/textile re-use. So with instructions in hand, a member of staff took the fabric swatch home and over a rainy weekend at the end of January and produced the patch shown below!

There is still time to take part in the project if you feel like getting creative! The library service are running drop in sessions where you can go along and create your patch, full details here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/whats-on/peoples-day/Pages/Peoples-Patchwork.aspx