Lewisham recycling transformed by new deal

New York City: the year 2000. The most wasteful society in the history of the galaxy and it was running out of places to empty its never-ending output of garbage. The landfills were full. New Jersey was full. And so, under cover of darkness, the city put its garbage out to sea on the world's largest barge. The repulsive barge circled the oceans for 50 years but no country would accept it. Not even that really filthy one. You know the one I mean. Finally, in 2052, the city used its mob connections to obtain a rocket and launch the garbage into outer space. Some experts claim the ball might return to Earth someday, but their concerns were dismissed as "depressing".
- Futurama


Lewisham Council has agreed a new recycling contract which will dramatically improve the borough's recycling performance, allowing residents to recycle everything from crisp packets to clothing. Importantly, it can all go in the same bin, which means our pavements won't be cluttered with even more wheelie bins. They say:

From 5 December a new waste contract for Lewisham means residents will be able to recycle more items than ever before.

Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd was picked following a tendering process during the summer. Their bid offered Lewisham Council an opportunity to expand the range of recyclable items collected from the doorstep, making the process a whole lot easier for those who already recycle and for those that don’t, but want to.

The Bywaters processing plant, located in nearby Bow, has sophisticated sorting systems that can deal with items not previously recyclable in Lewisham. For instance, Tetrapak cartons, crisp packets, shredded paper, perfume bottles, plastic food trays and packaging and aerosols can now all be left in residents’ recycling bins.

Even textiles, such as material and old clothes, that are not suitable for charity shops, can now be recycled from the doorstep.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, is delighted about the new recycling contract: “I’m passionate about recycling and I’m incredibly pleased that this new contract means that we will be able to recycle many more materials.

“It makes it so much easier for people to be able to throw all these extra items into the recycling bin, knowing that more and more will go back into the system to be recycled and reused. It’s all good for the environment and great news for pushing up Lewisham’s recycling rates.”

John S. Glover, Bywaters’ Managing Director continues: “It is a pleasure to have delivered a best in class proposal and qualified through a competitive process. Bywaters delivers tailored solutions to London Boroughs and will work in partnership with Lewisham to increase overall recycling rates”.

While Lewisham’s recycling rates have gone up in recent years - the borough currently recycles 18 per cent of its household waste - the new contract means that the borough’s recycling rates should rise during the three year contract. The Council’s target is to recycle and compost 21 per cent of household waste by 2013/14.

Residents who want to start recycling can order a free recycling bin by calling 020 8314 7171.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I would really like to be able to leave out composting materials (kitchen waste basically) for the recycling people. Also garden waste. Any idea whether that is or will be possible?

Also, are there some kind of garden waste bags which we can dispose of cuttings, etc, in? Do we need to buy them and if so, how?

Anonymous said...

Good.

RecycleCat said...

There are green bags for garden waste, last time I got some it was £10 for a roll of 10 bags, from the library. Not sure if volunteer-run libraries still have them now they are not run by the council? I'm sure someone will know...

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Isn't Lewisham currently the worst borough in London for recycling rates? Hopefully, this will help.

D said...

I read this the other day - it's brilliant news. A far cry from the pointless service I used to get in Ealing where they would refuse to take a whole box of recycling away if they saw one 'incorrect' plastic bottle in it.

pip said...

Fantastic!

Brockley Ben said...

That's great news. If we have a recycling bin already do we just carry on using it?

Tamsin said...

It is good, isn't it. David Brinson came to talk to the last Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly about what generally can be done and he certainly seems to have the commitment to drive things forward.

We are also talking about trips to the recycling plant which should be fascinating.

Brockley Nick said...

@BB - that's my understanding yes. The changes come in to effect from today. If it required a new bin, I assume they'd have been rolled out by now and the release makes no mention of that requirement.

Guido Tallman said...

I don't understand how we have had no direct information from the council about this? A huge and welcome breakthrough, and no word from Lewisham?

Weird!

Tamsin said...

You'll probably get a leaflet left with the next collection.

No new bin needed everything can go in the same one.

RecycleCat said...

It was in Lewisham Life last week - can't believe you don't read it cover to cover!

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to hear of the new recycling service that I called Lewisham council today. We are to use our existing green bins/boxes and can start chucking all the new items in for this week's collection. Wohoo!! Now if only I can get the other residents in my building to recycle something...

Delighted of Tressillian Road

Rubbish Idea said...

Rubbish...

...can now be recycled.

Excellent.

fatster said...

Sounds wicked, love recycling and want to do more, especially plastics.

DJ said...

Great stuff. Is there a list somewhere of what they now accept? Or is it pretty much anything except food, garden and human waste?!

Anonymous said...

Can you get the garden waste bags from anywhere other than the library? And can you get them from all libaries, or only the central one? And do you just leave the garden waste out on the normal recycling day, or is there a separate collection on another day?

Wake up said...

More greenwash tripe.

No mention of the fact that most stuff to be recycled is sent to China to be processed where the factories there poison untold square miles of people and land. Or of the fact that the compacted plastic and paper bales which it is transported in are usually so contaminated with other goods that they are burnt or buried anyway.

But then the concept of the recycling is perfect for most people- minimum effort, maximum smug feeling of saving the world, even though it is at best negligible and at worst actively damaging. Well done.

Recycling no thanks.

Anonymous said...

As usual the reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. Still alot of hate on the comments pages...

garden waster said...

re. the green bags, you can also order and pay for them over the phone (020 8314 7171 - number buried in the lewisham gov website) and they drop them round for free on the next trip. It's a really good service if you're not close to a garden waste place, don't have a big compost bin, or don't want to get your car boot filled with mud.

Anonymous said...

All the information about what you can recycle and how is on the waste & recycling teams blog. It also gives advise on how to donate items to be reused etc. There is info about garden watse on there as well - most (if not all) of your questions will be found there

http://recycleforlewisham.com/

Anonymous said...

@wake up

I think you need to 'wake up' and get your facts straight before posting on here.

It is people like you and people with your views that make recycling rates low.

Lou Baker said...

It's good news .... But.

There are three aspects to recycling and we have to get them all right.

1. The council has to recycle most things. Good news this is now happening.
2. We need less packaging. Central govt has been woeful in this.
3. As individuals we need to be more responsible.

My black bin is never full. If they emptied it once every 6 months it would be more than enough. My household produces zero food waste. We make sure products are used before going out of date, we compost what we can and feed any meat leftovers to the cat - on the extremely rare occasions when there are leftovers.

The household two doors down has an overflowing black bin every week. The same number of people live there but they produce huge amounts of waste. They - and others like them - need to be charged for their gross irresponsibility. The only difference between the households is that we're conscientious and they're chavs. Tackle the chavs to tackle the waste.

Anonymous said...

There I was assuming this qualifies as a troll-free topic...

Anonymous said...

LOVE that futurama episode :)
This is good news, although the person who left the 'chavs' comment actually makes me want to go the other way and stop re-cycling .

Anonymous said...

bet the cat shits in your slippers.

Anonymous said...

@Lou Baker - can I just mention... nappies?? Or perhaps you are happy to scrub and wash dozens of nappies daily?

Great news about recycling - but yes please to food recycling for residents who don't have access to compost bins

Aricana said...

This is great news.

I agree though that less food packaging is a must. I try to avoid anything that comes in packing and still my recycling bin is nearly full most weeks.

re garden waste - the council service is really efficient. I usually buy a roll of green bags for £10 from Crofton Park Library and you just call on the number on the bag to arrange a collection.

Miss L said...

I asked Lewisham council on Twitter why they hadn't sent more information out about this (other than the article in Lewisham Life, which I argued not everyone reads) and the answer was that not everyone reads information flyers through the door either... but that they are planning an information flyer soon anyway.

It does seem odd that it hasn't been advertised more! It says on their blog that Lewisham will earn income from recycled waste - so the more people recycle, the more money they will get. It would make sense for them to invest a bit on an information campaign about these changes first to get people to recycle more!

Anonymous said...

Anon - We use washable nappies and they are ace. If you have a washing machine there is no scrubbing involved ... We of course use disposables sometimes but really notice the difference in the amount we put in the bin when we do. Every nappy helps!

Anonymous said...

Just put garden waste in black bags, the bin men will take it.

Lou Baker said...

@anon 21.26

My kids are out of nappies. When they were in
nappies I used reusables. Not exactly environmentally friendly but better - and ultimately much cheaper - than disposables.

So there is no excuse for waste there either. Next ...

Anonymous said...

mmm, couldrons of bubbling poo!

Any sort of resusable nappy is the hallmark of the true mung beaner.

Anonymous said...

@Wake Up
What happens to Lewisham's reyclate is far from ideal, but it's not quite as bad as you make out. The plastics have for a few years now years been sent to the Closed Loop recycling plant at Dagenham Dock , rather than China and are made into food packaging then reused by major retailers. The tin cans are sold within the UK. The glass is crushed and used for road aggregate (when it's co-mingled and the colours are mixed it's not much good for recycling into glass). The main thing that often is sent abroad as I understand it, is the paper and cardboard, because British paper mills can afford to be fussy and don't like taking paper that has been co-mingled with glass and may have bits of glass stuck in it. That's something that needs to be improved on, but there's always going to be a trade-off between the convenience of having one green bin (and what can be done with the contents) and having lots of bins, but also more trucks on the road collecting them.

Where I would agree with you is that far too many people think if they recycle it's job done, climate change solved (tick box) etc. That's no reason not to recycle, but the emphasis has to be on reducing the waste and reusing what you can first, of course. That's one of the reasons Lewisham has previously given for putting more emphasis on waste reudction and home composting rather than green waste collection etc, though I think cost has been the far bigger factor. And it's a bit misleading to compare recycling rates in relatively leafy Bromley with Lewisham - it's notoriously tougher to get high recycling rates in areas with tower blocks - you have to be v committed to lug your recycling down to the communal recycling bins if you live there.

Anyway, looking forward to doing my best to starve SELCHP going forward ;)

Tamsin said...

Reuse rather than recycle - so support your local milkman and give him back the bottles.

And don't go for packaged foods if you can avoid it - support your local markets.

And even though you can now put textiles in the recycling if its resuable the large textile collecting points are better.

Vance said...

Go Tamsin, and repair rather than replace. Fight built-in obsolescence.

Tamsin said...

But golly it's difficult. A tale of a fridge-freezer, and a motor, and an infuriating call centre. Newish fridge, not cooling, lights on - but nobody in where it matters. Usual repair chap comes out - motor gone, he hasn't got the relevant EU certificate to replace it and re-pump up the fridge with the nasty coolant gas, term R600 mentioned. Phone bigger repair people, sorry, luv, not worth doing. You want cheap and cheerful anyway, what are the dimensions? We can sell you one. Phone another repair centre, slightly more helpful. They can't do it but give me a number for the manufacturers. Phone this number, warned that calls will cost 10 a minute. Useful warning as the time creeps up (I must check out the next phone bill that comes in for my employers and see how much I owe them), usual press option 1, option 4, down the snake and back to option minus 2. Get through to some really helpful people in their repairs department, girl who knows what she's talking about, yes we can change the motor, yes, our engineers have the EU certificate, yes we can pump it up again, although sorry it won't be until next week now - fairly new, sounds like R600, get this retrospective warranty (!!!) set up and go ahead. Get the warranty set up (on a different number) get given a reference number, phone the repair people on the semi-direct line (cuts out about two of the option pressing levels), no trace of warranty on system, is that the number? there should be two leters in it. A phone call or two to get the warranty sorted out. Back to the repair people. A less helpful gentleman - deeply shocked, by the sound of it, that I hadn't immediately gone to them and already knew what was wrong with it - What do you mean, you've had someone come to look at it? - and had to be forced into making a note that the motor had gone, and it was this particular make. Well I'm not an engineer, I've got this "diagonstic checklist" written by our engineers, Is it working? Repeated automatic texts on my phone during the week I'm waiting (earlier time windows they could offer were too wide or did not overlap with what was convenient) from the company saying they have not forgotten my appointment (obviously intended to make sure that I don't forget it - so why not say so...). Engineer turns up. You need a new motor, luv. It'll take ten days to get one.
Why I'm glad the weather has turned colder.

Dale Carnegie said...

Nice to see some good news and for once a thread with almost all positive comments.

@wake up: regardless of the veracity (or otherwise) of your facts, the aggressive, unpleasant tone of your post makes me automatically discount its contents. Go read my book!

Miss L said...

Sue - how is it harder to take your recycling to a recycling bin rather than the normal black bin if you live in a big block? You have to carry it down either way. And if it is more difficult (e.g. green bins are further away than black bins) then maybe the council should do something to make it easier rather than just accept it?

Sam said...

Thank you all for your positive comments and for those of you that have filled in the gaps with regards to some of the queries. To confirm, all of your dry recycling can be put into your existing recycling bin and they will all be taken to Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd, who were awarded the contract, which began on 5th December. A full list of recyclables can be found here http://recycleforlewisham.com/

In terms of publicity, my team have been out and about in Lewisham at various events and ward assemblies informing people of the new service. Further, an article went out in the December edition of Lewisham Life, information has been updated on the Council’s website and there have been numerous tweets, information to over 500 community groups, information being sent to online blogs and our own blog article. In the new year we will be getting more information out to people, but we didn’t want this to be lost in the run up to Christmas and so decided on a phased approach to publicity and information. We are looking at doing posters for the JC Decaux sites, leaflets, including information in the Council Tax booklet and potentially new stickers for the recycling bins. If anyone has any other ideas for getting the word out there then please let us know.

When we were producing the tender documents, it was important to us to get a contractor that, where possible, would ensure that UK markets were considered as a priority, therefore applying the ‘Proximity Principle’, then the EU, then world markets. At the time of the tender document being submitted, 54% of material was reprocessed in the UK and only 3% of material was sent to Asia. This will be unavoidable as materials are traded globally on a commodities market, and until more re-processors are UK based offering a good income then shipping some materials abroad will continue. Each month the Council will get information as to where the material collected from residents ends up and it is hoped that in the Spring of next year that information relating to recycling will be available for all to see through an online portal.

Bywaters are also keen that residents see the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in operation, and in the new year we will be arranging visits. We will tweet and blog about this, as well as putting information out on the Council’s website.

I think most people have responded regarding the garden waste: we do offer a range of services, some charged for some free, and this information can be found on the web: www.lewisham.gov.uk/recycling

As Sue has mentioned, it is harder for inner London authorities to achieve high recycling rates due to a number of elements, including housing stock and lack of gardens to collect the green waste. Lewisham also incinerates food waste, and many other authorities have introduced food waste collections as legislation states that only a certain amount of biodegradable (e.g. food waste) can be sent to landfill. Coupled with landfill tax, this makes it economically viable to introduce food waste collections for those authorities. Whilst Lewisham has investigated food waste collections, at this time it is not economically viable to do so.

Lewisham has however, got one of the lowest landfill rates in the country and does a lot to promote waste prevention and reduction campaigns. Further, Lewisham has started to tackle those materials with a high carbon content to try and address carbon emissions e.g. textiles, plastics, which can now be recycling in your recycling bin. We would however say please consider taking textiles to charity shops in the first instance or textile banks before putting them in your recycling bin.

I hope this answers all the queries raised and thank you for your support in what we should see as an increase in Lewisham’s recycling rates.

Sam Kirk
Strategic Waste & Environment Manager

Visit our blog http://recycleforlewisham.com
Follow us on twitter @ http://twitter.com/EnviroLewisham
To report environmental issues visit http://www.lovecleanstreets.org

Vance said...

And go read my book...

Vance said...

Admittedly pumping-up a fridge is a bit beyond most small repairers, but changing a motor isn't. I use an excellent website: espares. Trouble is as anyway small DIY shop owner will tell you, people of a younger disposition don't do diy anymore. Thats why Homebase is in trouble and B&Q I believe. They'd rather spend their money on a video game.

Anonymous said...

Can we have more than one green box? Quite often one is not enough

Lou Baker said...

It is unquestionably not more difficult to recycle if you live in a tower block than if you live in a house.

I live in a house. I used to live in a tower block.

No, the difference - I hate to say it - is the people.

Homeowners think more about their environment, are more likely to be go getters, are more socially responsible than those who live off the state.

That is why Bromley has better recycling rates than Lewisham. It is why areas with lots of council tower blocks are usually grim. It's all about the people.

Of course it's politically incorrect to say so - so I expect the usual bile in response. But it is palpably true .

Brockley Nick said...

@Vance - I'm pretty sure the main problem for DIY stores is that the housing market has frozen up, not cos young people are into pwning each other on teh internetz

Clarkson Alarm said...

*paaaarrrrppp*

Danja said...

But it is palpably true

Out of interest, in which bit of yourself do you get those feelings?

Danja said...

and are you sure it isn't just that you are palpating yourself?

Vance said...

Must just be the people I've met then who're completely clueless about something as easy as changing a ball valve. Not only cluelss but disinterested in finding out how to do it. Yes the housing market slowing down has something to do with it, but equally the DIY chains are blaming that rather than admitting the unthinkable, people prefer to spend their time doing something else other than DIY.

Sam said...

@anonymous 12.27, you can have a rceycling bin if you like to fit in all your recyclables. Feel free to order additional recycling facilities by calling 020 8314 7171. Any other questions can be sent to recycle@lewisham.gov.uk
Sam @ Lewisham

Anonymous said...

@Miss L I probably didn't make my point very clearly. Lots of blocks have rubbish chutes. If you have the choice between lugging your rubbish down the stairs/in the lift or just sending it down the chute, it is much easier to do the latter. Recycling has to be the easy option to get high take-up rates.

Pepys Community Forum ran an excellent scheme on Pepys estate a few years back, where they gave everyone a caddy for food waste and offered to collect that, along with recycling, from outside flat doors. The recycling rates on the estate shot up. The food waste was composted nearby, local jobs were created, but it was far more expensive per household than just having bins outside, the funding ran out and the scheme closed.

@Lou Baker I'm delighted for you that everything is so black and white in your world - in mine there are lots of grey areas!

Anonymous said...

Sophisticated sorting system is a load of geezers standing in line as a conveyor belt goes by.

Tamsin said...

Jars - reusing rather than recycling...
There's a lady living on the westside who makes jam for charity and needs jars (plus lids if poss.). Swhe says that even in bulk by the 1000 they cost 25p each (which rather begs the question about supermarket cheap jam that costs 26p...).

If people living on Telegraph Hill want to drop (gently) spare jars in at the Telegraph Hill Centre I will get them over to her. And maybe Erin could be asked if the Broca foodmarket would take them in on behalf of Brockley-ites - she could collect them from there.

The basic premise is that re-using is better than recycling, so although more hassle this is greener than just putting them in the recycle bin.

NAT said...

Bless Tamsin. Jars always seem too 'good' to recycle. Another room freed up in castle Gormenghast.

Anonymous said...

Mervyn Peake went to school in Mottingham.

Tamsin said...

Not so much Gormenghast, presumably, but more Mentmore (?) - that place where they had so many attics they simply filled one up and moved on. Everything sold sometime in the 1980s.

Jane at the Telegraph Hill Centre agreeable to take in jars (I offered first and then asked her later!). Can anyone contact Erin about the Broca Food Market being a drop off point as well?

Barquentine said...

Meanwhile a favourite jam jar reference from Gormenghast {Dr. Prunesquallor}

'He is anxious for me to make use of his brain! ha ha!- not as you might suppose as a floating specimen in one of my jam jars ha, ha, ha! But in its functional capacity as a vortex of dazzling thought.'

Tamsin said...

Never got on with Gormenghast - except for the wonder of the castle itself - none of the characters were such to engage any sympathy.

But we digress...

Tamsin said...

The Telegraph Hill Centre might not be open to take in jars over the Christmas and New Year, but, if the outer door is locked and so you can leave them by the office inside, do leave them in a carrier bag behind the blue bin (with if possible a label saying "to be collected don't put in bin") and post here that you've done so and I will hope to rescue them in time.

You could also leave those mercury laden low energy light bulbs as I've arranged for a recycling point at work - and we'll be getting one in the Centre too.

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