WASTE NOT WANT NOT was one of the catch-phrases that kept us going through the War years when food and clothing were in short supply and we had to do without things which we had come to think of as necessities. My childhood recollection is that it was not so bad. School food was never that great anyway and when sweets were rationed we developed a taste for cough lozenges, melloids, megazzones and zubes; and we were all in the same boat, except those swanky Americans with their much coveted chewing gum. It wasn’t the end of the world. But now, nearly 70 years later, it looks as though it may be; so let’s take it seriously. For a start, Put out that light!

Recycle unwanted articles which others might need

Some things we grow out of (like children’s bicycles) and see the sense in selling them on. But there are other things which we need to get rid of, like furniture, fittings, computers, carpets and white goods, which may not be in very good condition and hardly justify a front garden sale or putting on Ebay. Yet someone somewhere might be looking for that very thing. The answer is to go to one of the many Freecycle websites. There is, for example a local Haringey-wide free-cycling group you can join at groups.yahoo.com/group/Haringey-freecycle; or you can go to one with a bigger catchment area like www.freecycleuk.co.uk or start one for Muswell Hill and these parts by tapping into groups.yahoo.com/group/FreecycleLondon.


Do take a shopping bag or two with you when you go round the stores; and buy products which are loose rather than packaged whenever you can. Otherwise you are simply adding to the pile of domestic rubbish to dispose of.


There are still a few skilled craftsmen about who know how to do repairs. Sometimes it can be a false economy, but not always. Better than throwing away and buying another one. Jeremy Green is compiling a list of repairers who may be able to put things to rights for you: jeremymaddoggreen@yahoo.com

Refuse collection

Double compartment recycling truck

separate compartments in a recycling truck

Hornsey Recycling Centre

Hornsey Recycling Centre

We now have all these green bins and boxes and bags for garden waste, so let’s use them. The recycling of garden waste and kitchen left-overs in Haringey involves turning it into compost which goes back into our parks and borders, which is good. The compostable material is collected in a separate part of the vehicle from the rest. Paper can be recycled (but remember to shred anything with credit card details etc on) and so can some plastics, metals and glass. But collecting them all together (“commingling”) for separation at the site in Kent is probably not very efficient. If you can, it is better to take them to bottle banks, paper banks etc or to a Recycling Centre like the one in Hornsey.


If you can do your own composting then so much the better. You can obtain suitable bins and info by following the Haringey trail: start at www.haringey.gov.uk and follow the links through environment, refuse/recycling and then on to recycling the garden.

Recycling waste

Finally there is the lovely Recycling (Amenity) Site off Hornsey High Street where you can get rid of all sorts of stuff which won’t go into the green bins eg clothes, shoes, Christmas trees and tetrapaks (those waxy cartons for fruit juices).

Keep Working on that Wasteline!

Peter Thompson , 9 Hillfield Park ,   N10 3QT