Jean Hughes: Recycling and Waste Minimisation Officer

Estimated reading time:6 minutes, 31 seconds

Everyone has a story. What do you do with your used batteries, dead light bulbs, broken hairdryers, jumping CD players/ipod docks or the old TV? Throwing them in the bin isn’t a good plan, so here are some tips on how to recycle electrical waste in Islington provided by Archway-based Jean Hughes, 54, who works at the Household Recycling Centre as Recycling and Waste Minimisation Officer. Q&A with Nicola Baird.

Jean Hughes, recycling officer at Islington's Household Waste & Recycling Centre. (c) Jean Hughes on Islington Faces.

Jean Hughes, recycling officer at Islington’s Household Waste & Recycling Centre. (c) Jean Hughes on Islington Faces.


Avoid the glitter if you're trying to reduce your waste this Christmas. (c) islington faces

Avoid the glitter if you’re trying to reduce your waste this Christmas. (c) islington faces

Q: What do I need to know to keep my Christmas waste down? 

For its Christmas campaign, Recycle for London is calling on Islington residents to avoid buying glittery or metallic wrapping paper and cards over the festive period ‚Äď which cannot be recycled ‚Äď and to instead bring sparkle to their festive holidays and to those around them by reaching out to friends and family, donating to charity or volunteering to bring some festive cheer to the local community. Glittery cards and wrapping paper are a popular choice at this time of year but cannot be recycled, meaning thousands of tonnes end up just being thrown away; London consumes enough card and paper packaging over Christmas to cover Big Ben more than 34,000 times, much of which contains glitter.

Ali Moore, Campaign Manager at Recycle for London, says: ‚ÄúWe’re encouraging Islington residents to bring that special sparkle to the festive period through their actions rather than by buying glittery paper or card that can‚Äôt be recycled.‚ÄĚ

Recycle for London is encouraging Islington residents who are keen to find out more about volunteering and social action in their area are encouraged to visit, the UK’s national volunteering database which has a dedicated page to show opportunities for volunteering over Christmas in each London borough:

Jamie Ward-Smith, CEO of, said: ‚ÄúThere are lots of opportunities for volunteering over the festive period in Islington. Volunteering is a great way to build stronger links between communities, and it brings people of different ages and backgrounds together. With so many opportunities to get involved, there really is something for everyone this Christmas.‚ÄĚ



Q: Why is recycling electrical waste important?

Bright Sparks

Bright Sparks is an  Islington gem. It sells repaired electrical items and good quality pre-loved furniture. (c) Islington Faces

“We are using more and more electrical items in our everyday lives which results in a lot of waste. You are not permitted to place waste electrical items in refuse bins or bags.”

“Some items can be easily repaired and any household electrical items with a plug can be collected free of charge from inside your property by contacting 123 recycle for free on 020 7993 6554. That way Islington can recover the valuable materials from those items. Bright Sparks will accept working unwanted electrical items for re-use, then check them for safety and sell them in the Bright Sparks store at 176 Seven Sisters Road,¬†(call 0207 272 9156 for opening times).”

Drop off points for electricals for Bright Sparks include:

There are also a number of small electrical recycling banks located around the borough at:

  • Sunnyside Road (outside Sunnyside Gardens)
  • Pemberton Gardens junction with¬†St John’s Grove
  • Hornsey Road (outside Sobell Centre)
  • Cottage Road (outside Council Depot)
  • Highbury Place (outside Highbury Pool)
  • Newington Green (east side)
  • Caledonian Road junction with¬†Wynford Road
  • Opposite Finsbury Library (corner of St John Street/Wyclif Street).

As Islington is a long, thin borough you may find your nearest small electrical recycling bank is in a neighbouring borough, for instance there is a bin at the Endymion Road, N4 entrance of Finsbury Park (in Haringey). See this website for London-wide info about where to find recycling and electrical waste drop off points.

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“Some stores (eg, bigger supermarkets) and some offices have battery recycling collection points”.
Ask stores, schools or your office if they can provide this. You can also ask your local councillor to improve the amount of recycling points in your ward.

“With Recycle for London and Restart, Islington¬†held an electrical repair party at Finsbury Library, 245 St John Street, EC1 in October where residents assisted volunteers in repairing their broken electricals. It was very popular and I would recommend that residents log on to the Restart site to find out when and where they are going run other events around London or maybe even become a volunteer.”¬†¬†The next few November repair parties in London will be at:

Electrical repair party (c) Havering Council

Electrical repair party run by Restart (c) Havering Council

Q: What are the 3 things most households ought to know how to better reuse?
1 TAKE A BAG¬†“Since the introduction of the 5p pastic bag tax a lot of people now reuse their shopping bags.”

2 “FURNITURE¬†can be re-used rather than thrown out. The council does collect furniture, electricals and bric-a-brac at a reduced fee (the items are taken to Bright Sparks for minor repair and re-sale).”

3 REUSABLE NAPPIES¬†“There is also a subsidy for real cloth nappies of ¬£54.15 which residents who are expecting babies or have one less than 18 months old can apply for via Clothes can be re-used via charity shops or clothes swaps For tips on how to make your clothes last longer, repairs etc log on to¬†.”

Good luck with your recycling and reuse. Let Islington Faces know if this interview¬†has been helpful – or what items¬†you are still struggling to recycle & we’ll pass the info on to Jean at the Household Waste & Recycling Centre.

Freightliners Farm cafe (c) islington faces

Freightliners Farm cafe is a lovely place to go. (c) islington faces

Places Jean Hughes likes in Islington

  • I like to walk along the new river walk through its section within Islington and Regents Canal‚Ķ it is a little hidden oasis.
  • Union Chapel daylight concerts on a various Saturdays, they are free but most people pay a contribution of ¬£3. You can sit there with a cup of tea and a lovely quiche listening to the music and reading the paper.
  • Freightliners Farm has a lovely little caf√© and plenty of fun for the children (open Tuesday – Sunday).
  • Spark London story telling events, real stories by real people is held from time to time in Exmouth Market Theatre.
  • Park Theatre, Almeida Theatre and Sadler’s Wells all have great productions.
  • The Spoke in Archway, 710 Holloway Road, is a funky little coffee / burger/ cycling joint.

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via at Thank you.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola