Archive for the 'recycling' Category

Seeing waste differently – a field trip

Last month we went on a “field trip” to Camden market.

Vegan pumpkin curry

Vegan pumpkin curry in a biodegradable container with a vegware fork

Karen filling water bottle

Refilling a water bottle from a central tap – just needs a label to point people to it

It might seem a little strange to be taking a field trip to somewhere we visit regularly, but then it’s not often you visit Camden market to spot litter bins. This was a fact finding mission to see for ourselves what the market is doing to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle or rot waste.

First some good news. There are recycling bins dotted across the market. Traders have centralised access to a wide range of recycling including glass, food, oil and general recycling. Many of the food stalls use bio-degradable containers.

There is a tap which you can use to refill your water bottle.But there’s so also so much more that could be done.

Here’s some easy options.

Recycling bin hidden in plain sight

Recycling bin hidden in plain sight

Turn the recycling bins around so people can see the recycling signs. Yup, this was one of the most amusing sights and possibly the easiest improvement ever.

Stronger labelling of what can be recycled would be useful too. We saw lots of food waste, food contaminated cardboard and coffee cups in the recycling bins and even some pieces of wood. Equally we saw lots of recyclable items in the general waste including the cardboard and plastic from a tray of cans which must have come from one of the traders’ stalls. With so many tourists in the market we can’t assume people know what to recycle. Simple signs on the top of the bins would help.

I wonder how many coats get thrown away in the market?

I wonder how many coats get thrown away in the market?

Why not have a branded reusable bottle rather than a throwaway one?

Why not have a branded reusable bottle rather than a throwaway one?

Labelling the water tap to let people know they can refill their bottles there would really help. But why not go even further? Instead of throwaway Camden Market branded water why not introduce branded refillable water bottles?


We think visitors would love these as souvenirs.

What we’d really love to see though is somewhere for all the food and compostable containers to go. The wonderful vegan pumpkin curry came in a cardboard container which I ended up taking home to put in my own compost bin. Manageable because I live only a few minutes away on the bike, impossible if you are a visitor. Replacing some of the bins with ones dedicated for food waste and compostables would have many advantages. There would be far less residual waste and recyclable waste would suffer from less contamination. The wonderful food stalls who are already eliminating plastic and foil containers would be better supported and others would be encouraged to make the switch.

All in all, a fabulous field trip. We’ve lots more ideas and lots of thinking which will help inform our work on throwaway takeaway containers and seeing waste differently. Want to know more? Get in touch.

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Fashion & the environment photo competition

**Competition deadline extended until Sunday 16 March 2014**

Our London-wide photo competition on the theme of Fashion & the environment is open to all – interpret as you like! To enter, please send your photos to by midnight on Sunday 16 March 2014.

The shortlisted photographs will be printed and exhibited at the Red Hand Gallery as part of Friends of the Earth’s eco-fashion pop-up event. The winner will be announced on Saturday evening and will receive a prize on the theme of ‘Fashion and the environment’, while all the shortlisted photographers will be welcome to keep their own prints.

Photo competition terms & conditions
* Photos should be high res for printing at A4 size;
* Please include a brief caption or title for your photo, your name and email address;
* Each participant can enter up to 5 photos;
* All participants will be invited to the attend the photo exhibition at the Red Hand Gallery;
* All photos should be your own original work and you will retain copyright;
* By entering in your photos you agree to Camden Friends of the Earth publishing your photo online and in the photo exhibition (with full credit);
* Closing date midnight 16 March 2014.
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The Good Green Look: Pop-up eco friendly fashion event

Camden Friends of the Earth are holding a pop-up eco-friendly fashion event on Saturday 22 March 2014, 11am – 11pm at the Red Hand Gallery in Tufnell Park.

Join us to explore the green possibilities in the exciting world of fashion!

The pop-up will feature a vintage fair with local vintage & ethical fashion traders, clothes swapping, upcycling workshops and a vintage-themed evening event showcasing winners of our Fashion & the environment photo exhibition, delicious afternoon-tea cakes and live music.

Join us for a day of celebration of fashion statements from long-gone eras, and an exploration of the eco-friendly beauty of chic vintage and upcycled clothing.

Address: Red Hand Gallery, Upstairs at the Tufnell Park Tavern, 162 Tufnell Park Road, London N7 0EE

View/Download the flyer by clicking on the image below.

Camden Friends of the Earth Eco Fashion pop-up Saturday 22 March 2014

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North London’s waste

Following on from our recent waste & recycling campaigning – asking David Cameron to talk half as much rubbish – Camden Friends of the Earth responded to the consultation on the North London Waste Plan.

The North London Waste Plan sets out a plan to manage the waste of seven north London boroughs; Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

Read our response to the consultation.

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Recycling in a shared house

Live in a shared house? Daniel from our group (who lives over the border in Haringey) shows that it’s possible to recycle lots with minimal effort – their household of 5 people recycles 66% of their rubbish, compared to the borough’s average recycling rate of 25%! –

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Talking rubbish

We’re “talking rubbish” in this week’s Camden New Journal (19/5/2011):

New, costly, waste incinerators are not the answer to the waste that blight’s Camden’s streets (Why waste incinerators are a real disaster, 12 May).

The ‘Carrots and Sticks’ report released by the London Assembly this week says that in London we have the lowest recycling rate in the country, with a only third of waste being recycled. In Camden we recycle less than 30% of our waste – and we have a huge opportunity to cut down on the rubbish that litters our streets.

Camden Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for more support for local authorities to recycle and re-use more of our household waste, and for more products to be designed to be easy to re-use and recycle. We recently set up a stall at Camden Lock market asking David Cameron to talk “half as much rubbish” – asking the government for a nationwide goal to halve black bag waste by 2020.
Readers can support this aim at

Many people across Camden want to see a cleaner, greener London. The answer is for all of us to get the support and services we need to reuse, recycle and compost more, and for companies to cut down on packaging. New waste incinerators are not the solution!

This follows up Barnet & Enfield FoE’s letter on the North London Waste Authority (NWLA)’s proposal to build what would be one of the largest waste processing sites in northern Europe, in north London (read here).

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Asking David Cameron to talk half as much rubbish

'David Cameron' talking rubbish at Camden Lock Market

Update: Please see our photos from the day of action on the Friends of the Earth Flickr group!

Please join us for a photo opportunity, to ask David Cameron to talk half as much rubbish!

Where: Camden Lock
When: 3pm, Saturday 19 March

Camden Friends of the Earth is urging Prime Minister David Cameron to cut rubbish, boost reuse and recycling, and help Camden cut black bag waste in half by 2020. The Government’s review of English waste policy is drawing to a close with ministers planning to publish goals for the 2014-2020 period in May. Friends of the Earth’s “Talking half as much rubbish” campaign is calling for a nationwide goal halving rubbish and boosting recycling and re-use.

We’re holding a Day of Action on Waste & Recycling on Saturday 19 March with a photo opportunity to underline the campaign asking for more action on recycling, reuse and waste prevention. It will feature a larger than life David Cameron sawing in half a dustbin bearing the slogan “It’s time Mr Cameron talked half as much rubbish.”

Less than 30% of Camden’s rubbish is re-used, recycled or composted. Camden has some great facilities to help us cut down on waste such as the new food waste collection – but it’s crazy that in other parts of London this isn’t the case.

We think David Cameron should do his bit by halving the rubbish we have to throw away. We’re therefore calling for more support for local authorities to recycle and re-use more of our household waste, and for more products to be designed to be easy to re-use and recycle, to reduce Camden’s rubbish mountain and cut down on waste that blights our streets.

Please contact us if you’d like to join us on Saturday!

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Carton Recycling in Camden

Camden Council has recently introduced recycling of beverage cartons for residents. Seven collection points have already been set up around the borough where residents can bring their clean, flattened cartons. Camden Friends of the Earth would like to thank the Council for setting up the scheme. Further information, including the location of collection points, can be found on the Camden Council site