A Merry Christmas from Lambeth Environment!

December 19, 2014

This will be our last post for 2014, so there’s just time to say a big thank you for reading, we hope you’ve enjoyed our posts and we hope you’ll stay with us for 2015!

Recycling and waste at Christmas

Our collection days are changing slightly over the festive period, so make sure you don’t miss yours. Also find out where you can recycle your Christmas tree.

Even with the very best intentions most of us create extra waste over Christmas, so here are some tips to help reduce the amount you throw away.


Judging how much food to buy, especially if you are catering for more than usual, can be difficult. The Love Food Hate Waste Portion Planner will help you to buy and cook the right amount – preventing waste and saving you money. They also have some great recipes for using up leftovers from Christmas dinner.

For any food that can’t be eaten e.g. bones, remember to use the food waste collection service!

Wrapping paper

As a nation, we use tonnes of it every year and most of it goes straight into the recycling bin.

Instead of using wrapping paper, you could also wrap gifts in newspaper. With a bit of creativity, they can look really lovely!


You can also wrap your presents in fabric. The technique which originated in Japan, is called Furushiki. Large square scarfs are perfect and can then be worn by the recipient.

Get crafty

Just search recycled Christmas decorations online and you’ll find hundreds of really great ideas!

Here are a couple of my favourites!

cork tree

Cork Christmas Tree











Wreath made from recycled Christmas cards


















There’s no limit to the amount you can put out for collection in your clear sack or shared recycling bin. So remember to recycle everything you can!

Sign up to receive our weekly Green Community Champion e-newsletter

November 21, 2014

GreenField_jpgWould you like to receive a weekly update of all that’s green in Lambeth? We’ve put together a weekly e-newsletter which is a round up of local events, projects, vacancies, meetings, courses and good news stories.

We are also really happy to receive submissions for the newsletter, so if you are looking for volunteers for your project, would like to advertise your local group or tell us about something you’re working on to make your neighbourhood greener, then please drop us a line at greenchampion@lambeth.gov.uk.

Surprising recycling – some of the more unusual items we’ve found!

October 31, 2014
Recycling bin full of bread!

Recycling bin full of bread!

Every day we collect tonnes of good quality recycling from households in Lambeth. Most of it is sent straight to our recycling facility in Wandsworth where it is sorted and sent on for recycling.

Unfortunately, sometimes we find clear sacks and estate recycling bins that contain items they shouldn’t. If we’re lucky, we notice this before it is emptied into the collection vehicle. Depending on how bad the contamination is, we can then ask the rubbish crews to collect it or in the case of clear sacks, we can leave a sticker which asks the householder to remove the unwanted items.

Sometimes, the contamination finds its way to our Recycling Facility which causes real problems. Contamination that is removed from recycling has to be disposed of as rubbish, meaning that we pay for disposal twice. Contamination such as food waste affects the quality of other materials, particularly paper. Shredded paper and small bottle tops also cause problems for the sorting machinery.

The most common non-recyclable items we find are food waste and polysterene; however over the years the following have also turned up at our Recycling Facility:

  • a dead squid
  • car jack
  • a whole pig’s leg complete with trotter
  • a safe
  • a large suitcase
  • a whole chicken
  • a gas meter

Spare a thought for the men and women who work at the start of the process to remove non-recyclable items by hand!

We are currently working to lock some of our estate bins to prevent large non-recyclable items from being placed inside and regularly send out communications to remind people what is and isn’t recyclable.

Here’s a full list of items that can be recycled in your clear sack or estate recycling bin and our A-Z should help you with some of the more unusaul items.

We’ve more garden tools to give away!

September 16, 2014

Once again, our partners at Tools Shed have kindly donated sets of refurbished garden tools for Lambeth schools and community groups.

Refurbished tools ready for redistribution.

Refurbished tools ready for redistribution.

The tools, which were donated at Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre by residents, have been refurbished at HMP Wandsworth. The scheme gives unwanted garden tools a new lease of life and enables prisoners to learn new skills.

If you would like a set of tools, please email pryczan@lambeth.gov.uk with a brief description of your organisation or project.

We look forward to getting these tools working back in the community they came from!

If you have tools rusting away in your garage or shed, please bring them along to Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre.

Don’t waste your waste – Get Composting this Autumn

September 9, 2014

HandsSoilSaplingWith autumn here, the time has come to prune, trim and prepare the garden for next year.  But what should you do with all the debris? Instead of seeing it as waste, think of it as the magic ingredient that with very little work, can be recycled to give you a free supply of top quality compost.

If you start composting now, by spring next year you’ll have a nutritious soil conditioner to help your flowers, fruit and vegetables to flourish!

Fallen leaves, prunings and dead plants and flowers are ideal for composting. You can also add waste from your kitchen, such as fruit and vegetable peelings and tea bags. For a full list of what you can compost and advice on getting the balance right, visit the Recycle Now website .

We have teamed up with Getcomposting.com to offer a selection of home compost bins and wormeries at subsidised prices, starting at just £14.98 (RRP £39). There is also a Buy One Get One Half Price Offer, adding extra value to those who team up with a friend or neighbour to buy a bin.

Getcomposting also have some very special offers on a range of other green goodies including water butts. Water butts are a great way to keep your garden blooming while keeping your water usage and bills down. Winter is a great time to start collecting water ready for spring planting. To see what’s available visit getcomposting.com or call 0844 571 4444.

If you live on an estate and would like to start composting, our Compost Doctor can help you to set up a community composting scheme to compost your garden and kitchen waste. He is also always on hand to offer general composting advice. You can contact him on compostdoctor@lambeth.gov.uk.

Free trips to the recycling centre for Lambeth school children

September 5, 2014
Recycling being sorted by machine

Recycling being sorted by machine

A trip to our transfer station and recycling facility is great way to help children learn about looking after their environment. Your pupils (and staff) can see what happens to what they throw away, and learn why it is so important to reduce, reuse and recycle their own waste.
Children can see and feel recycled materials, get ideas for their own recycling crafts, and have a go at sorting rubbish themselves. They can then watch recycling being sorted by machine into different materials.
Outside they can view our cranes loading 12 tonne containers of black bag rubbish onto barges on the Thames, ready to be transported for burning to generate electricity. They can also meet our composting worms.

New for 2014/15 – you can extend your visit with a hands on recycling session, each child can make their own piece of recycled paper to take home!

Previous visitors have really enjoyed the sessions!

“the children said it was the smelliest trip but the best – high praise indeed”

“the children (and adults) had a fantastic time and came back to school full of new information and lots of ideas on how we can promote the 3 Rs.”

Visits are FREE but must be booked in advance. Please email education@wrwa.gov.uk or call on 020 88758885/9 to make a booking.
For more information visit the WRWA website.

Upcycle at the Africa Calling exhibition!

August 29, 2014
Light made by Heath Nash from plastic yoghurt bottles.

Light made by Heath Nash from plastic yoghurt bottles.

The Africa Calling exhibition which forms part of the Africa Utopia Festival at the Royal Festival Hall (12-14 September), will showcase contemporary African design including upcycled furniture by Yinka Ilori and recycled plastic lights by Heath Nash.

Heath, a pioneer in working with everyday plastic objects to create stunning lights and installations, will be running a series of drop in workshops for the general public. He has 10 years of experience of running workshops for all ages and abilities and has a really innovative approach to promoting the idea of recycling.

Here at Lambeth, we’re very happy to be able to support the event by collecting plastic bottles for use in the workshops at our Reuse and Recycling Centre. So, if you would like to see your used milk or bleach bottles transformed into something beautiful, please drop them down to the collection point on site!

The free event is running from 10am on 12 September to 11.30pm on 14 September, at Level 2, The Foyer, Royal Festival Hall.

We’d love to see pictures of your creations if you attend! Tweet them to @Envirolambeth