A Brixton Remakery

Strewn with rubbish and blackened by fires, the space where the Brixton Remakery now stands was, two years ago, a derelict block of garages set to be blocked off by the local council. It was a grimy tomb for dead foxes and a place to dump burnt-out cars and beer cans.

Today it is a bright, busy series of workshops, where unwanted planks of wood are being turned into striking table-tops and everything from scaffolding poles to pianos are treated to a new lease of life. The Brixton Remakery is a pioneering re-use and refurbishment hub that stops valuable resources being sent to landfill and instead uses them for the benefit of local people and businesses. Based in one of south London’s most deprived boroughs, it’s almost entirely run by volunteers

Read more at: New Internationalist

A Not So Rubbish Trip

Illustration from Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851).

London dustman. Illustration from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1851)


When Rosie Oliver says she’s going to take you on a rubbish trip, she means it literally. Rosie, a lawyer, lecturer and presenter specializing in environmental law and policy, created and leads a two-hour walk from Mudchute on the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich on the theme of rubbish and how it has influenced the landscape. Woven into her commentary are stories about the people who collected the rubbish and how the rubbish has been treated and transformed over the centuries.

One example is Mudchute Park, the site of the former mud chute that spurted silt dredged from Millwall Docks into “settling ponds”, a type of landfill for waste mud. Also, the Victorian homes we passed and structures like the railway viaduct were likely built using materials that included rubbish: the dust and ash from people’s fireplaces from burning coal and domestic rubbish, which was collected by dustmen and taken to brick factories in Kent where it was mixed with clay, fired and brought back to London to be used for building.

In the 21st century, the need to reuse, recycle and reduce the rubbish we generate is greater than ever, Rosie says.

The walk includes a visit to the Mudchute city farm, where we saw one of nature’s recyclers in action – a magnificent pig – and we finished on the banks of the Thames at Greenwich, a veritable treasure trove of historical rubbish.

Rosie’s company is called Dotmaker Tours, and she offers the rubbish walk to the public once a month, and at other times to private groups: http://dotmakertours.co.uk/page10.htm.

Minutes, March 2014

Brentford Recycling Action Group
Minutes of Meeting held in the Directors’ Meeting Room,
Brentford Dock
on Tuesday 4 March 2014

Attending: Patti Horsnell, Hugh Picton, Rukmini West, Virginia Fassnidge, Douglas Benford, Catharine Browne, Wendy Mackenzie, Thomas Burgess and Louisa Perkins, LBH Continue reading

Air Quality Survey from TfL

In recent years, a number of studies have established the link between poor air quality and health in urban areas. Road, air and rail transport, shipping, domestic, commercial heating, industry and power generation all generate polluting emissions; while natural sources including wind-blown sea salt, sand or soil also contribute to air pollution levels. Continue reading

Film Showing: Gasland 2 on 16th March

Ealing Transition

Sunday 16th March, 7.30pm. Film Showing: Gasland 2 hosted by Ealing Transition

In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar-nominated film GASLAND, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humour to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now being carried out in 32 countries worldwide including the UK.

GASLAND 2 shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing the planet. The film argues that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families, and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In addition the film looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are, in his words, “contaminating our democracy”.

With the UK government solidly behind the development of the fossil fuel shale gas industry, there has never been a more urgent need to make the case for clean, green energy.

Do join us for this important film, which has only just gone on general release in the UK. You can watch the trailer at http://www.gaslandthemovie.com

There will be the usual hot drinks, cakes and discussion afterwards, and an opportunity to talk about the various initiatives we have running including changing your electricity supplier, and energy efficiency measures from DIY secondary glazing to ‘passive house’ retrofit.

As ever the event takes place at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Road Ealing W5 5RH. Entry is free but we will ask for donations to help us cover the cost of staging the event.

Food Recycling for Flats

Up to 3,500 residents living in flats will be able to recycle food waste for the first time this spring.

The new service from Hounslow Council – funded with more than £133,000 from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) – will provide ‘caddies’ to enable residents to recycle food.

Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader of the Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “These new caddies will enable people living in flats to recycle food and be on a par with other residents.

“It also helps push Hounslow’s recycling rate up which is good news for the environment and council tax payers as less money is spent on land fill tax.”

The new service is scheduled to start after April. Officers from the Council’s waste and recycling team will be in contact with managing agents and residents’ associations to provide further information.

New bins a wheelie big success

Wheelie bins have proved hugely popular according to new figures released by Hounslow Council today and have also led to an increase in the recycling rate and less litter on streets.

A survey in the wheeled bin pilot area – which covers 7,300 households in Hounslow West, Heston West, Feltham West, Syon and Chiswick Riverside – saw an increase in the recycling rate from 37 per cent to 41 per cent. Continue reading