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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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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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’.


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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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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.


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Recycle Week 2013 – Re-imagining ladies tights

As well as going out to speak to residents about about recycling and composting during National Recycle Week 2013, Lewisham Council also worked in conjunction with an arts organisation called Platform 7 who came to Catford and had some interesting methods of catching the attention of those in the area.

Recycle week 2013 tights.jpg

With additional support from Arts Council England, ‘Re-imagining Ladies Tights’ raised awareness of textile recycling by exploring the politics of tights and stockings.  This opportunity allows Akleriah, with support from Platform-7, to explore the image, gender politics, social and material value of women’s tights.

Full details on all the activities from the week long event can be found on the following link http://re-imaginingtights.tumblr.com/