It looks dramatic – smoke billowing out of the Boots shopfront on Wanstead High Street, while people huddle on the pavement not knowing what to do.

But it’s not quite what it seems. For the second time in two months, a security system which pumps dry ice into the shop to befuddle intruders has gone off, making passers-by think something disastrous is going on. But all’s well – the ‘smoke’ cleared and the shop opened as usual.

Cambridge Park Methodist Church, which started life in Wanstead in 1875, held its last service on Sunday. The roof had been crumbling, and was too costly for the congregation to replace. They will from next week be joining with the Hermon Hill Methodist Church, which may be renamed Wanstead Methodist Church. Here, though, is a glimpse inside. The future for the building is uncertain; it will in due course be put up for sale, and though not listed, may well live on as a place of worship – other churches are believed to have expressed interest in the building.

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Wanstead blue recycling box
The new blue newspaper recycling boxes distributed to Wanstead houses are part of a trial to see if they increase recycling rates. Wanstead is the only part of Redbridge taking part in this trial, but the council’s intention is that if successful it will be extended borough-wide.

As the table below shows, Redbridge is mid-ranking among London boroughs in its recycling rate. The increase in recycling, from pretty much nothing in 1998, is in its way remarkable. But with London boroughs being given targets of 50% by 2020 and 60% by 2031 by the Mayor of London, Redbridge and others have their work cut out.

So why can Wanstead residents still not put cardboard with their kerbside recyclables, especially when they can take it to recycling centres?

An answer comes from the Redbridge website:

Cardboard
We do not accept cardboard in your recycling box and this includes thin card such as cereal boxes and small food packaging.  The reason why we don’t accept these is because your recycling box is taken to a facility that cannot recycle cardboard therefore we encourage you to take this to a cardboard recycling bank or if you can’t then put it in the rubbish.

With many councils offering cardboard collections, and even moving into the realm of food waste collections, this is evidently an area for future activity.

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Amused to see leyton & wanstead labour campaign hq painted blue…less than a minute ago via Twitterrific

Who the fcuk owns a cockerel in wanstead??? Grrrless than a minute ago via Twitterrific