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Recycling rocks at Glastonbury

18 Jul

Denise, one of Recycle for Greater Manchester’s education officers finds out about recycling at one of the UK’s biggest festivals.

Last week I left Greater Manchester for my annual pilgrimage to the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary and Performing Arts to top up my enthusiasm for all things environmental.

When we arrived the sun was shining, the fields were green and the 15,000 bins were empty. An army of painters were tasked to decorate the oil drums used as bins in a variety of styles – anything goes. By Friday morning around 200,000 revellers had filled the fields, campsites and bins to their limits.

Recycling binsThe festival is very proud of its environmental credentials and there are strict rules regarding waste.   All festival goers are asked to put “The right stuff in the right bin”. Well that might be our Recycle for  Greater Manchester message but even at Glastonbury waste is separated. The bins are identified by the lids stating; ‘food, plates and cutlery for compost’, ‘cans and bottles for recycling’ and ‘other waste’.

Even traders have to get on board. All cutlery used by market stalls must be wood, not plastic. All cups and plates must be made from a compostable material. Some traders prefer a reusable solution using porcelain mugs albeit with a £1 deposit. I was happy to discover that all traders have their food waste composted; large skips are placed behind all the market stalls and bins to separate the other recyclable waste.

The contents of all the bins are tipped into collection vehicles and taken to the on- site recycling centre. Here 1,300 recycling volunteers work day and night to sort the waste enabling the festival to recycle half of the waste produced during the festival.

Being a curious bin geek I took a trip up to the recycling centre where I spoke to the centre manager. He explained that there are around 60 people at a time sorting the waste collected from the bins with a further 40 sorting the traders waste to enable the festival to produce high quality recycling and compost.

On the subject of compost I really couldn’t write about Glastonbury without mentioning the new composting toilets. To put it simply, behind the façade ofCompost loos Glastonbury the cubicle is a wheelie bin with straw in the bottom. Outside the loos is a large container of compost, a cupful of this is sprinkled on any solid deposits. The liquids are drained and sent for treatment with the contents of the other toilets, but the solids are composted and used on land.  Oh and they really don’t smell!

But of course the festival is not all about rubbish and toilets, there are many traders selling pre-loved items, mostly clothing but also a huge choice of recycled wares. I particularly like the jewellery made from old cutlery by hairy growler /.  I can’t leave out Junk Manchester  who provide our sewing classes and they had a lovely stall on the way to the Pyramid stage.

Mutoid waste machineAt a festival of performing arts you might expect something more unusual and the Mutoid Waste company certainly provided that with their show “A Kiss on the Apocalypse” starring huge mechanical machines and creatures created entirely from waste materials.  If that’s not enough Arcadia a hugely popular late night area features a mechanical, fire emitting spider/DJ booth entirely fashioned from old military hardware – extreme recycling indeed.

So from the green crafts to pumping house music Glastonbury is an amazing place to see recycling and waste prevention working on a huge scale.

Want to see how we process your waste in Greater Manchester?  Have a look at our R4GM youtube channel for films about how we recycle your waste.


All hands on dock!

14 Jul


See Revive compost in action on Operation Farm’s allotment.

Originally posted on Operation Farm:

20140624_185457_miniOur community learners were hard at work this week keeping the weeds in check at the Operation Farm plot in Hyde Park Allotments.

In our lesson on vegetable plant care, the fourth in a series of community learning sessions for new vegetable gardeners, we looked at weed identification including a weed quiz and then we got to work with some practical weeding, watering and mulching. The sessions aim to provide local people with practical skills and knowledge in vegetable growing, whilst we work together to maintain the community plot.

We’ve been lucky enough to receive a donation of fantastic Revive compost which is recycled from green garden and organic waste collected from households in Greater Manchester by Viridor. This was put to good use on the brassica and bean beds, to help feed plants and keep the moisture in should another spell of fine weather be coming our way  –…

View original 112 more words

Haveley Hey Primary School visits our Energy Recovery Facility

6 Jun

Budding young bloggers at Haveley Hey Primary School, Manchester tell us about their trip to the education centre at Stockport.

On Tuesday 13th May, our class set out on an adventure, getting on the coach, wondering what the day would bring. Our teacher Miss Forrester organised a trip to go to the Mechanical Biological Treatment Plant so we could learn about waste and how to make power from it.

When we arrived, we met Denise who is one of the Education Officers. She taught us about all the different recycling bins and where to put our rubbish; as well as telling “rubbish” jokes.

What is wrong with General Waste? His army is rubbish!!!

We played some games to help us understand where the rubbish goes.  When it was time to go out on the site tour, we split into 2 groups, one group stayed inside to watch a short film (see clip from film) whilst we went out. We dressed in safety equipment including a hard hat, a high visibility jacket, gloves and safety glasses. We also took walkie talkies so that we could hear Denise clearly as she explained to us what we saw and what was happening to the waste.

First of all, we went and had a look inside the tipping hall, the big roller door moved up and we got a big whiff of smell from the rubbish inside. After a while we got used to the smell. One of our favourite parts was watching the giant claw moving the piles of rubbish. We could feel the warm air coming from all the rubbish. There was rubbish in that big pile, some of which could have been recycled.  Someone had put it in the wrong bin!

After that, we walked past the digestion tanks where the rubbish is made into ‘soup ‘ and bacteria digest it to make gas in the giant bubble which is used to create energy. We thought this was amazing! We also saw the train tracks out the back where the train carries away some of the rubbish (to be used to create energy at another site).

After lunch we had to put our rubbish into the right bins (one for paper and card, one for mixed recycling, one for food Gift bagswaste and one for general waste) and we got most of it right! We then made some amazing gift bags using wall paper (that can’t be recycled) and decorated them so we could give them away as presents.

At the end of the day before leaving, Denise gave us some magnets to stick on the wall to show how much we learnt and how much we enjoyed the day.

We learnt lots on the trip; we saw lots of amazing things. Our favourite bits were the giant claw, the gas bubble and wearing all the safety clothes.


Haveley hey resultsWhen we came back to school we told all our friends about what we did and how to recycle. We also went home and talked to our families about recycling. We think recycling is fun but it is also really important for our environment.

Even our teacher thought it was good…


“A super variety of activities the children especially loved the site tour. I genuinely believe they have learnt a great deal about recycling and waste” Class teacher Miss Forester

Thanks to all the children at Haveley Hey that contributed to the great blog!

If you think your school might enjoy a trip to one of our facilities book a visit to one of our education centres and see your waste in action!

Primary School makes winning recycling radio commercial

23 May

Last year Recycle for Greater Manchester and U Create launched an exciting media competition to get young people talking about recycling. Primary, secondary, special schools and colleges across the region were all invited to take up the challenge of producing Recycle for Greater Manchester’s next radio commercial!


U Create is a community partnership that is a branch of the UTV Media (GB) group, providing real world media opportunities for schools and colleges, bridging the gap between education and the business world.

Schools within the Greater Manchester region were contacted and invited to register after watching the online video brief set by the Recycle for Greater Manchester team.

“We’d like you to create a radio commercial that encourages people to recycle more and recycle right at home by changing the actions that they take. Your commercial should sound enthusiastic, full of personality and be informative but you’ve only got 60 seconds to get the message across”. – R4GM radio commercial brief.

Our online platform supplied supporting downloadable information for pupils and students to fact find and look further into the topic of recycling. Finally, the platform housed a media library with sound effects to incorporate into the commercials as well.  After registering to the project and armed with a creative toolkit, pupils embarked on a mission to research, write and record their own 60 second radio commercial informing listeners about the ways in which everyone can help to cut down waste, by recycling more and recycling right.

Over the process of 7 months, teachers encouraged their students to find out as much as they could on the topic, and help them to discover creative ways to get these important messages of recycling across to the younger generation and wider public.

The teacher of one school entry stated..

“I am proud of them (and myself for using an I-pod to record it!) they did a great job and we all had a lot of fun whilst learning about recycling so thank you.”

In total, 70 commercials were sent to us and the quality of work produced was outstanding! Students effectively delivered a variety of inspirational and interesting ways to encourage listeners to recycle more at home. The beauty of a project like this is that by listening to ideas from a young person’s perspective, it can produce gems that are so refreshing that not even a team of professionals could have thought up, making opportunities like this such a joy to work on.

At the end of March a panel of judges from the Recycle for Greater Manchester team listened to a shortlist of the commercials and after some deliberation a winner was chosen. All Saints Catholic Primary School , Trafford were crowned the winners of the project and Bury Grammar School for Boys were runners up.

In May, the students from the winning school were invited to come to one of UTV Media’s (GB) local radio stations for a VIP tour and professionally record their commercial, to then be produced ready to broadcast live on Tower FM.

All saints winners in studio

Winning students, Nicholas, Joe, Hannah and Xiaoran with U Create producer David Rothwell.


“The R4GM U Create recycling commercial project was really well timed, as it linked well with our work as part of a European schools project called Comenius which focused on recycling and the environment. We are now working towards our eco school Green Flag Award and will be using our winning commercial as evidence.” Catherine Finan- All Saints Head teacher

All Saints School pupils and Head - u create winners

All Saints students with Head Teacher Catherine Finan.

The project has been a wonderful experience allowing young people to have a voice and share it with the public. Thanks to all those who participated in the competition and congratulations to All Saints Catholic Primary for their achievements. The winning commercial will be broadcast in June on Tower FM so listen out for their commercial and remember to Recycle, simple as!

Creating a community orchard with Revive compost

16 May

Our campaign officer Phillippa, is a dedicated ‘allotmenteer ‘ and has been using Revive compost on a community orchard and fruit garden at Albemarle allotments.

allot path

Albemarle Allotments

I have had allotments in various cities for many years and for the last 8 years, a plot at Albemarle allotments in south Manchester.  Albemarle is a hidden gem, squeezed between the new metro line and the Old Moat estate, where there are approximately 100 plots and over 100 members.

Composting on site

A fundamental part of having an allotment is composting! You just have to do it, if only to keep your weeds in check.  All plot holders are encouraged to compost on their plot and we even have a communal composting bay that provides free compost for all to use. If you decide to use the communal compost, there tends to be a lot of perennial weed seeds and roots so ideally it needs to be sieved before use. The communal compost was used on the raised beds and now on our community orchard.

Creating our community orchard and fruit garden

Last year one of the plot holders changed plots because she found that her low growing crops were getting too little light, due to being near the wooded metro siding. As a result, the Committee decided to donate this plot to develop a community orchard and fruit garden to be enjoyed by members and the public, even if it only to pick and eat the fruit.

I love the idea of getting more non-gardeners involved on our allotments, as sometimes allotment holders can get a bit precious about their boundaries! I volunteered to get the project moving, my philosophy being ‘ how hard can it be?’ A kind fellow plot holder offered to pick up some apple trees while she was at the Marple potato seed day in February and I also bought four pear trees (at a discount bargain shop for £5 each).

Allot stage 1 a web size

Starting to plant fruit trees in the community orchard

It took longer than expected to clear the land, but we managed to start preparing the soil for planting in early March. As the plot had been full of weeds for more than half the year, we knew that we would have to add fertiliser to  the soil to ensure that the trees took. It was a perfect opportunity to try out Revive compost as a soil conditioner.

As well as digging it in over the entire orchard area (200 square yards or 167 metres squared), we put a few spadesfuls of Revive into each hole before we planted the trees, with the hope that this would give them a good start.

JJB and revive

Using a spadesful of Revive for each tree

I must admit, the Revive compost looked good – dark, crumbly and rich. I was impressed by the fact that it did not smell like my garden and food bin at home (after all this is what Revive compost started out as!) I noticed that there were bigger pieces of organic material in the Revive compost compared to our homemade compost (but then again, my compost has taken over 12 months to develop) whereas Revive is made in an In-Vessel Composting facility in Greater Manchester in just 6 weeks!

Whilst at the allotment yesterday evening I noticed that the orchard is now in blossom. For the first year or so, we won’t allow any fruit to grow because we want the trees’ energy to go into roots, not fruit development.

apple blossom web size

Apple blossom in the orchard


There has been growing interest and enthusiasm from other plot holders who want to get involved. They have donated redcurrant, raspberry and blackcurrant plants and even a small hazel sapling! All have now been planted using a mixture of  compost from our communal compost bins and Revive.




With a bit luck and good weather we will have a small, but welcomed soft fruit harvest this summer. Ideally the orchard and fruit garden will become a focal point for the allotment community; a place to come together and a feature at future open days.

Planting the soft fruit bed

Planting the soft fruit bed


Recycling across the Pacific – Hong Kong

9 May

Tina our Media Officer has just returned from her 2 week holiday in Hong Kong!  As well as taking the usual holiday snaps, she has also captured some very interesting photos to share with us  (recycling related of course)!


Over 80% of Hong Kong residents have access to recycling facilities close to where they live. (source:

Yellow, Blue and Orange

Yellow, Blue and Orange

Similar to Greater Manchester, Hong Kong has 3 bins for recycling – the colours are: blue for paper, orange for plastics and yellow for metals. The bin colours are the same across the councils- Greater Manchester alone has 7 different combinations of bin colours over the 9 councils!

As well as metal food and drink cans, households can recycle their metal pots and pans in the yellow bin and a variety of plastics including plastic bags, containers, CDs, DVDS and even toys can be recycled in the orange bin.

Clothes Bank

Clothes and Textiles

Some block of flats/housing estates have dedicated clothes banks- I think this is great idea as charity shops in Hong Kong are very limited. (There’s only one Oxfam shop!)


I would say my favourite thing I’m going to miss about Hong Kong (HK) is the food! My favourite moments are going to the local market with my Mum.  Among the hustle bustle there is an array of fresh, quality fruit and vegetables – and the best thing  of all – no packaging! I even had time to catch up with a couple of my friends with a refreshing coconut water straight from the coconut!

About 3,600 tonnes of food waste is disposed of in HK every day, in a  year this equates to the same weight as 100,000 double-decker buses!  (source: . On visiting a bakery I noticed bags full of bread crusts outside.  HK are putting efforts in getting business on board to reducing food waste… with a gentle reminder like this one I spotted in a restaurant.

Recycling for cash

Cardboard recycling

Cardboard recycling

Ladies in construction

In awe of these ladies









On the streets, outside shops, I see the elderly pushing trolley and collecting cardboard boxes, they then get it weighed in exchange for cash.

I have the utmost respect for these ladies, especially these ladies who are working in construction, who are way into their 70s – I like how they have customised their safety helmet as a sun hat too!

Have you been on holiday recently?  Please share any recycling snaps with us via facebook or twitter @recycle4gm.

My top 10 ever favourite foods and money saving tips

25 Apr

Emma Marsh from Love Food Hate Waste  shares her handy money saving tips.

So one weekend I was out in the sun digging the brussel sprout patch ready for sweetcorn this year and my mind started to wander. What were my favourite tips for not wasting food? What actually made a difference to me personally?

So I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Lettuce – even if I pick it from the allotment it will still wilt on me at home. So keeping it in a tupperware pot or loosely tied bag with a piece of kitchen roll works for me. The pot works best as it means the rest of the veg doesn’t squash it to a slimy mess!

LFHW blog  Lettuce image2. Apples and oranges in fridge – what a revelation. It used to be that all fruit went in the fruit bowl but then I saw the research so thought I’d have a go. They always went wrinkly or mouldy – I always thought it was because there just wasn’t enough life in them when I bought the fruit rather than it being something I did. But it really was me. Now I keep them in the fridge they last weeks!

3. Making a list and forcing myself to stick to it. I got round the fact that I was rubbish at making lists by asking my husband to do it. That worked. But then I didn’t stick to it. So now I force myself to. No gimmicks, no tricks, just sheer willpower. And it’s not that hard…

4. Not shopping when hungry. I always shopped after work which meant I was so hungry and so bought, what felt like, everything in the shop, and usually everything unhealthy in the shop! Not shopping when I’m hungry means I actually stick to the list!

5. Shopping online. So this year we’re trying it out and it’s working better than I hoped. I’ve stuck an on-going list in the kitchen so that I’m not tempted to just order the same thing each week and it’s really stopped my impulse buying. I also have more time to think about planning my meals whilst I’m sat at the computer rather than sitting in traffic. Unless anything changes this will be the way I shop from now on.

LFHW blog storage

6. Buying good tupperware. I used to use leftover washed out cream and marg pots and then got deflated when the lids popped off in the freezer and frosted my meals so they tasted a bit icky! So for Christmas I actually asked for a good set of plastic freezer pots in a range of sizes. Not the most exciting gift to open on the day I grant you but now…well no frosted meals and loads of perfect homemade ready meals when I want them.

7. Using leftover and forgotten foods recipes from LFHW App and website - there really are some fab meals on here and on the App. Whenever I’m lacking inspiration I get out my phone and get some ideas.

8. Bag clips. How good are they? In desperate times I use washing pegs but bag clips are great. No more spilt pasta at the back of the cupboard, big bags of crisps that stay crunchy, bags of peas that don’t spill out on the floor….

9. Organising my fridge. I’ve adopted a “first in first out” system in the fridge and cupboards. Older foods go in front so I use them more quickly, and store newer, fresher ones in back.

LFHW blog food image 10. and finally I label everything! I use big labels specially made for freezers for get rid of the problem of mystery leftovers and unidentified frozen objects. I also add an ‘opened on’ date to juice and milk so that others in the house don’t assume it’s been open for weeks and throw it. If there’s a display-until date I scrub it out as it’s of no value to me and often will for best before. I just leave the use-by as that’s the one that frankly I don’t want to mess with.
So that’s it. Hope it is helpful.



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