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Find out about using cloth nappies at a Nappy Natters event

28 Feb

Guest blogger: Eve Bell owner of Baba and Boo gets to grips with cloth nappies

Like most parents and carers I only started to think about using cloth nappies when my daughter was born, I was really keen to use cloth nappies for my daughter  but I found them really expensive, which does not make them very attractive to mums when you have a really expensive outlay to begin with.

In my previous life, before I became a full-time mum, I was a buyer which I really loved – so I knew how to source top quality items for a reasonable price, especially reusable nappies. I’m really passionate about our  nappies and ensure they work just as well as other leading brands.

I am now working in partnership with Recycle for Greater Manchester to create some noise around cloth nappies, by running a series of nappy natters events across Greater Manchester. These drop-in sessions are a great opportunity for anyone interested in finding out more about cloth nappies; why they are so good and how to use them. At our Nappy Natters session we will have free samples for you to try on your baby and lots of good advice.

Did you know that in the UK we throw away 8 million disposable nappies every day, each one taking hundreds of years to rot in landfill. We have to ask ourselves why we are doing this when using cloth nappies means we can save up to £550 in nappy costs, look after baby’s botty and do our bit for a more sustainable environment.

Real%20Nappies%20webCloth nappies have in the past had a bad press, but they have come a long way from the scratchy towelling; they are soft, durable and made in a range of fantastic colours and designs to fit all size babies and budgets. They are machine washable, easy to use and fun to wear.

We had the first of our cloth nappy natters session at Chorlton Sure Start Centre in Chorlton Library, Manchester. These are meet and talk sessions for carers and parents who want to find out about  using cloth nappies.   As this was my first session, I did not know what to expect. It was so lovely to see mums interested in learning about the benefits of cloth nappies.  But I don’t think that these events are going to do my broodiness levels any good at all; there were so many gorgeous babies! Their mums were very keen to see how cloth nappies work and were surprised when we showed them how easy they are to use. We explained that cloth nappies fit in with their lifestyle and not the other way round.

Some of the mums were telling us they were not happy filling their bins with disposables, especially knowing now how long it takes for a disposable to decompose. This was one of their main reasons for wanting to use cloth nappies, followed closely by how much better they are for baby.

It was so lovely talking to mums about cloth nappies alongside cooing over their little ones. We are very much going to enjoy this year and already looking forward to our next events  be will be hosting more  nappy natters right across Greater Manchester.

Put these dates in your diary,our next Nappy Natters events will be at:

The Bridge Cafe, Portland Basin Museum, Ashton- Under-Lyne

Date: 21 Mar 2014, Time: 11am-1pm

and then  the following month at,

The Governors House Pub, Cheadle Hulme

Date: 29 Apr 2014, Time: 10am-12pm

If you want to find out more, visit our website Recycle for Greater Manchester events page or email

Baba and Boo are a Salford based award company supplying cloth nappies to parents and carers around the world winning since 2009.

Can’t See the Trees through the Paper

30 Jan

In my previous post, Humbug… you might remember I was far from being in the Christmas spirit; I ended sending out zero Christmas cards and wrapped zero presents… (Scrooge!) This got me wondering how much rubbish I generate post festive season.

So, I have taken ‘thinking outside of the box’ to another level and starting to think about cardboard boxes (among other paper-related items). To which I asked myself:

“How much paper and cardboard do I actually recycle?”

So to answer this question I embarked on a challenge and hoarded all my paper and cardboard for four weeks. If you wondering, it looks a bit like this:

Tina with January's paper and card recycling

Tina goes ‘free range’ for a bid to reduce paper and card…

There was a grand total of 210 items, which included:

  • 36 pieces of junk mail, mostly consisting of takeaway menus
  • 31 food-related packaging, 4 were pizza boxes
  • 38 train/tram tickets
  • 23 envelopes
  • 2 toilet roll tubes
  • 2 cinema tickets
  • 1 light bulb box!

This left me quite shocked about the quantity of paper waste I generated, especially by the amount of egg boxes! 8 in total meaning I’ve eaten 48 eggs in January…surely not!

After recovering from the thought of over egg consumption and paper cuts, I realised there was a lot more stuff that is made of paper than I thought.  This might sound ridiculous but its only when you have a  rummage in the recycling that you really start appreciating trees!

Doing some research, I discovered that on average 6 trees worth of paper is used every year per household in Greater Manchester that equates to 6 million trees!

To put this into context, over 100,000 copies of the Metro newspaper is printed every day which weighs approximately 16.5 tonnes which means a saving of 396 trees!

(Calculations are based on average weight of newspaper 165g and 24 trees per tonne of newspaper).

The good news is, (pardon the pun) all of the newsprint manufactured here in the UK is now made from 100% recycled paper.

So do trees a favour and recycle your paper.  My mission now is to see if I can reduce the number of egg boxes… might be worth investing in a hen! #Simpleas

How to save money and get your life in shape this January – have a scrunch!

23 Jan

This week’s blog is courtesy of Emma Marsh  from Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) who is the Community Partnership Manager for Love Food Hate Waste.

apple, carrots, yoghurt, sandwich in a lunch box

What a scrunching good lunch

Happy ‘scrunching’ in January and February 2014!

What’s scrunching you ask? Well, its the same as free lunching or otherwise known as simply using the food you already have to make a free and tasty lunch – whether for work, for school, for college or just at home.   Why?

• It saves you money (money you don’t spend on lunch can go straight to paying off the credit card, paying the electricity bill bills, saving for a summer holiday…)

• It saves you time (eat when you want, and you don’t have to brave the elements going to the cash point, shop, etc)

• You have exactly, and only, what you want (you don’t have to pick out all the tomato that you don’t like and you won’t end up eating more than you intend to)

• You know exactly what is in your food (better for your health), and you reduce waste (by using up food you might otherwise throw away, and taking your own re-useable packaging such as tupperware, thermos or a sandwich bag)  We spend over £6.5 billion on buying lunch each year and at the same time we’re wasting over £6bn worth of food we could have used to make our own!

Can you believe we waste the equivalent of 24 million slices of bread a day? 24m slices of bread would stretch up and down Snowdon 110 times! Use sliced bread straight from the freezer in the morning to make your sarnie and it will be cool and defrosted by lunchtime. The 1.5m homemade meals wasted every day in the UK is equivalent to the amount required to give the British Armed Forces an evening meal each for a week!

Either store your leftovers in the fridge overnight and use for lunch the next day (store in the fridge at work and re-heat in the microwave if you have access). Alternatively store in a thermos to keep it warm.

tomatoes and sausages in tin foil

We waste the equivalent of 1.5 million tomatoes a day -

We waste the equivalent of 1.5 million tomatoes a day – use in pasta salads (not forgetting cooked pasta can be frozen and then defrosted in a tupperware pot while at work), soups, etc. Did you know that tomatoes give off a natural gas that causes cucumbers to go off quicker?  To make both last longer, keep your cucumber in the fridge draw and your tomatoes on a higher shelf but both in their original packs or in a lightly tied bag.

Jacket Potato and plate

Nearly 6 million potatoes are wasted daily

Nearly 6 million potatoes are wasted daily – more than enough for the perfect jacket spud – I bake mine the night before (if the oven is on or microwave if not), top with cheese and beans and then reheat at work.

Not to mention the nearly 2 million slices of ham sitting in our bins rather than making it into a tasty cheese and ham toastie????????  So, even if your New Year resolutions are already broken and you’re fed up with the weather, try scrunching this week and turn it into one of the best habits you’ve ever had!

Nappy Natters are getting louder…..

15 Jan
Picture of man and woman from Baba and Boo and Theo Paphitis

Baba + Boo meet Theo Paphitis

Eve from the cloth Nappy company Baba and Boo natters about the new nappy natter events in 2014….

We are thrilled to be working with Recycle for Greater Manchester throughout this year, promoting the benefits of cloth nappies to parents in Greater Manchester. We’ve been busy researching great venues to hold events and working on our promotional activity, it’s been all go at Baba+Boo HQ.

Baba+Boo have been selling cloth nappies since 2009 and our nappies are popular all over the world. Our award-winning nappies have been recognised by industry champions such as Prima Baby magazine, Mother & Baby magazine.

Cloth nappies are becoming more and more popular, mums are telling their friends about the benefits of them and we are seeing a lot more bums in re-usable nappies. Only recently, we met former Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis, who recognised Baba+Boo as a company to watch and we won one of his Small Business Sunday awards.

Nothing excites us more than getting more Greater Manchester bums into cloth nappies though. Throughout 2014, we will hosting Nappy Natters across Greater Manchester. At our events, we will demonstrating how simple cloth nappies are to use and how easily they will fit into parents lives. We will debunk the myths that they are hard to use and don’t fit into modern life. A washing machine that resides with a baby is never off, so an extra couple of washes makes no difference.

One of the major benefits is reflected in parents’ pockets. In today’s economic climate, disposable income is being stretched to everyone’s limits, never mind throwing a baby into the mix. Using cloth nappies can save parents £1000 over the lifetime of their baby being in nappies. Wouldn’t you rather spend £1000 on a family holiday?

8 million disposable nappies are thrown away every day in the UK.  Each nappy takes 500 years to decompose. Not good reading! We are on a mission to reduce the amount of disposable nappies being thrown away! By using cloth nappies, you are not only caring for your baby’s bum but you are caring about their future too.

We’ll be listing details of where will be visiting on our tour of Greater Manchester on our website as well as on the Recycle for Greater Manchester events page.  Do pop along if you can, we’ll have free samples for those interested to try them and where possible, cake. Cake is very important.

The first two Nappy Natter events will be in Manchester and Trafford in February. please email for more details.

We have the solutions to your New Year’s Resolutions!

10 Jan

3735 Resolution MPU v2 Sewing OptOK, your resolution may or may not be to waste less food, or buy less clothing, but it might be to stop wasting money. Sound familiar?

Well, we have the perfect solution to help you do just that.

Our FREE Love Food Hate Waste cookery classes are starting again this month, where participants can learn all about perfect portions, savvy storage and hints and tips can actually help to save residents up to £60 a month!

Along with this, a tasty recipe will be rustled up with store cupboard essentials and popular leftover food. We have partnered with Cracking Good Food, a Manchester based organisation to deliver the classes until March 2014.

Shopping in the sales? Ever thought of revamping your wardrobe instead, by upcycling the clothing you already have? Fancy changing a garment from 2013 into something new for 2014? Then why not attend one of our FREE sewing classes? We have partnered with Junk Shop, a Manchester based clothing company who specialise in sustainable creative fashion, to deliver classes on basic sewing techniques to make your clothes last longer and how to add a touch of flare to your existing garments!

For all those parents who would like to save money, then why not try out cloth nappies on your baby. Curious to see how they have changed and would like to find out the benefits of using them, including the cost savings, then join in with a Nappy Natters event in 2014.  Dates will be coming very soon…

Looking to learn a new skill, save money, or just fancy trying out something new, then visit our events page to see what’s going on.

2013 was a busy year for Recycle for Greater Manchester and we have reflected on our many recycling and waste achievements. Have a look at our latest recycling feature in the Manchester Evening News, which was published on the 9th January to find out more….

We look forward to reducing waste and recycling more in 2014 and hope you will all join us.

The Brinnington Furniture Stop 2013 Reflection…

3 Jan

Furniture re-use event Chris McDermott, the Customer Services Manager at Stockport Homes writes about the exciting and busy time in the development of the Brinnington Furniture Stop project in 2013.

After establishing the project we’ve now undertaken an assessment to review the impact of the project in supporting customers with little or no furniture and preventing furniture being sent to landfill.

Good news on both fronts: at the time of writing we’ve managed to re-use over 70 items or approximately 2 tonnes of furniture. We’ve coupled this with supporting 40 customers to help swap furniture and made 155 referrals to our partners at the Furniture Station.

Promoting the recycling and re-use message to our customers and partners has been vital to the project’s success. Recently, we’ve held a number of publicity events with customers, including regular joint housing surgeries with the Furniture Station.

We’ve entered into a programme of training exercises with the Stockport Homes Caretaking Service to improve their buy-in to the project.

Most ambitiously, we’ll be aiming to use the findings of the first-stage of the project to shape how Stockport Homes manages its void clearances process in the future. This will hopefully see a major reduction in the amount of materials put into landfill, while providing our most in-need customers with the opportunity to access affordable furniture.

Special mention at this stage goes to Martin from Brinnington who successfully completed a volunteering programme with our partners at the Furniture Station. Martin learned manual handling skills, basic information on identifying fire safe furniture and how the charity operates.

In 2014 we’ll be seeking to develop the role of our customer volunteers further with a view to them taking on a greater role in the management of Furniture Stop, including the management of our swap notice boards.

Following the success of the first phase of the project in Brinnington, we’ll also be looking to establish additional storage facilities to widen the scope and reach of the project.

Also in 2014, Stockport Homes will replicate the Furniture Stop model on the Mottram Street estate in central Stockport. We’re working at the moment to identify suitable storage facilities on the estate, so watch this space….

I look forward providing an additional update on our progress in the New Year.


Pimp up your tyres with a touch of upcycled inspiration….

11 Dec

This blog was provided by  Sarah Gordon from * Show Plates Direct  who has collaborated with Lynn Haughton who started The Upcycle Movement.

What is Upcycling?

If you’ve not heard about it already, ‘Upcycling’ has taken the craft and DIY world by storm. We’ve been speaking to Lynn Haughton, who started The Upcycle Movement, a website she created to inspire and share ideas.

Lynn says, “Globally, we are beginning to realise the negative effects we have caused. In recent years the term ‘upcycling’ has been given to items that are rescued and re-purposed to prevent them from becoming waste – while upping their value. The term may be new but it is not a new concept; there has been resurgence in upcycling and a global movement has begun. We are now starting to look at our waste in a different way. We are looking at it as a valuable resource.”

Upcycle, recycle or bin it?

“It can be the easier and quicker option to just buy something new but the satisfaction of upcycling something and giving it a new purpose can be priceless!” Lynn adds.

Upcycling Car Tyres

According to the Environment Agency, the UK produces around 55 million waste tyres per year. If they aren’t re-used, recycled or disposed of, waste tyres can have a damaging impact on the environment. The most harmful impact of illegal tyre fly-tipping sites is the noxious smoke from burning tyres which can impact the environment and the community.

Since 2006, it’s been illegal to send waste tyres to landfill to avoid mountains of waste tyres. However, they can be recycled and re-used. Old tyres can be used in several ways; they can provide fuel for cement kilns or be repurposed into products such as flooring, road surfaces, furniture and shoes.

While Lynn was travelling in Peru, she discovered locals making their shoes from old tyres. She said, “These last years and years – it is incredible. The porters we had on the Inca Trail wore them and they would walk the Inca Trail every week in the same tyre shoes!”

If you’re not in need of new shoes, we have discovered some fantastic projects to help you re-use your old tyres, which you can give a go at home.

Tyre Planters

Old car tyres can make an interesting feature in the garden. Plus, there’s a variety of ways you can go about this.

Karen Manasco of Wuv’n Acres Gardens has a fantastic tutorial which explains how to make your own tyre planters. As you can see, the tyres can be painted and decorated however you like to match your garden. Visit Maises Daises for some decorated tyre planter inspiration.

Tyres made into planters

Stack tyres, or attach them to outdoor walls as hanging baskets. The above photos shows a colourful display created by Phyllis.

stacked tyre planters

Tyre Tables

You’ve got the DIY bug, this is an amazing way to make your own table. Sarah from While They Snooze has put together a detailed tutorial showing you exactly how to give a tyre a new life as an end table.

Alternatively, view Shazni’s great tutorial showing you how to do a similar project – with extra storage inside.

Tyres used as storage

Tyre Rocker/Seesaw

If you have young children, this is a great way to make something new for them to play with. This tutorial from Barefoot in Paradise comes in two parts and teaches you how to make the base and then how to add a comfy seat.

Tyre Rocker/Seesaw

Tyre Swing

Here’s something else for the kids. Crafting a Green World have compiled a fantastic resource where you can learn how to make a tyre swing for your garden. It includes safety advice and a variety of ways to make a strong, secure swing. If you’ve got a tree in your garden, give this a go.

Red tyre swing

Hub Cap Flowers

You don’t have to limit yourself to just tyres. Hub caps fall off and are often just left lying around, so why not use them?

A flower made from used hub caps

Mike over at the Recreate Design Company has used hub caps to make colourful floral wall displays which make an interesting feature

Looking for More?

There are many more possibilities – it’s just a matter of getting stuck in and making something new. Lynn says, “I find ideas everywhere I look. I think once you open your mind to it, it’s almost hard to turn it off!” Not only will you be helping the environment but, in the process, you’ll have unique new home and garden features.

“Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your imagination run wild! If you have ideas, go for it. If you are struggling to re-imagine an unwanted item, forget about its original function and look at it from another perspective – turn it upside down, inside out and put it on its side!”

Lynn also suggested searching online for ideas or submitting your ideas and thoughts to The Upcycle Movement to get more ideas and advice from other budding upcyclers. “Absolutely everything has the potential and the possibility to be something else – have fun with it!”

* Not a R4GM recommendation

#FashionorRubbish? That is the question….

5 Dec

Recycle for Greater Manchester hosted their upcycled fashion show at MOSI on Wednesday 20th November. The stage, lighting, props and music made upcycling burst into life to inspire over 200 people!

The shows contributors showed the world (well, Greater Manchester) that upcycling can be fun, inspiring, save money and best of all cut the amount of textiles that are needlessly thrown away. An astonishing 90,000 tonnes of new clothes each year and Greater Manchester throws away 59,000 tonnes to make room for these new purchases, most of which could be used again.

We all could think about the purchases we make and definitely think about with what we are about to throw away. It’s easy to think, out with the old and in with the new, but the old can be made new, whether that is fixing a garment, or upcycling it! You don’t have to be Dior to redesign that top, skirt or shirt, you just need a dash of creativity and a little bit of patience to revamp your wardrobe and create that individual style!

The event had a real buzz about it and attendees had the chance to browse the stalls that were full of upcycled and recycled gems, from Rubbish Revamped to an exhibition from Tameside College.

We hope everyone enjoyed the evening and left with inspiration  for their wardrobe!

Have a look at other blogs on the fashion show.



Manchester Fashion Magazine 

The Wardrobe Angel 

Blonde Happiness 

Dress for Success Manchester 

Cracking Good Food shows you how to cut down on food waste over Christmas…

25 Nov

Cracking good food logo- pumpkin and speech bubble

Chorlton-based Cracking Good Food is proud to promote the “Love Food, Hate Waste” message via its ongoing community programme and Number One in Visit Manchester’s Top Five: Five Great Cookery Courses.

Cracking Good Food is a not-for-profit organisation that encourages home cooking through hands-on cookery workshops led by experts in the field.  The team has worked with a number of sustainable organisations, such as The Biospheric Project during Manchester International Festival over the summer and Recycle For Greater Manchester, with whom they are partnering to promote the Love Food Hate Waste campaign by running free cookery sessions in Greater Manchester through to March 2014.

Chef Maz stirring food in pans

Cracking Good Food chef, Maz makes a tasty tagine at the Love Food Hate Waste cookery class

And with the festive season fast approaching, Cracking Good Food have put together twelve top tips for having a food waste-free Christmas…

  • On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me – let’s boil that turkey carcass for a rich home made stock and freeze some of the leftover veggies.
  • On the second day of Christmas, my true love said to me – if you throw in those clean veg peelings, it’ll be even tastier.
  • On the third day of Christmas, my true love said to me – shall I turn that other leftover veg from the roast dinner into tasty bubble n squeak? We can have it with leftover roast ham.
  • On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – I’m thinking of making a bread and butter pudding from this stale bread and freezing the rest for breadcrumbs. Oh look, we’ve got half a carton of cream in the fridge, and a bag of raisins!
  • On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – this ham really needs using up now, I’ve got some dried split peas in a jar somewhere, let’s make pea & ham soup!
  • On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – I’m so glad you froze some of that roast turkey, I really fancy a homemade curry tonight.
  • On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love said to me – oooh, those homemade edible tree decorations are delicious, I’m surprised we’ve got any left. Quick finish them off then we can recycle the tree.
  • On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – brrr, it’s chilly today, I’ll get the stock and veggies out of the freezer and make a healthy soup.
  • On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – turkey Kiev, anyone? I knew those breadcrumbs would come in handy…
  • On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – let’s finish off that pea and ham soup, I froze half of it. I’ll bake some fresh rolls to go with it. Mmm, what an aroma and they only cost pennies to make.
  • On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love said to me – I’m glad we’ve finished all that turkey now, I’m ready for a change.
  • On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love said to me – OK, we’re down to bread and homemade jam (from those windfall damsons in the autumn) – I think it’s time to go to the shops!

The team at Cracking Good Food wishes everyone a healthy and happy festive break!

Meet Zolibeau – upcycled fashion just got even more on trend….

19 Nov

This week we asked the designer Zolibeau   what upcycled fashion means to them. They have a fab upcycled collection ‘Vibrant City’ @ our fashion show on the 20th November at MOSI in Manchester, #FashionorRubbish.  

Model wearing an upcycled jacket

From the ‘Vibrant City’ collection

First things first, who are you and what do you do?

Zolibeau is a designer label based in Wales creating unique garments from reclaimed end of line fabrics.

Its founders are sisters Sarah Valentin and Julia Harris. They believe that clothes should be treasured, cared for and form an integral part of your wardrobe, not thrown away after a few weeks.

What type of clothing/materials do you up-cycle?

We create our own patterns and design one-off garments using fabrics destined for landfill.

What’s the wackiest thing you have made?

A dress made totally from Masking tape! Wow, this we must see!

What type of organisations do you work with?

Local councils, Welsh national assembly, Princes trust, Colleges & Universities, Barnados running workshops on upcycling and teaching people the skills to repair their clothing.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The landscape around us, other creative and likeminded people

Model wearing upcycled clothing

Zolibeau’s upcycled collection ‘Vibrant City’

Our collection ‘Vibrant City‘ is inspired by Cardiff, from its heritage through to it’s thriving colourful future. It mixes hand painted ethical jersey with reclaimed Italian fabrics.

What are you most looking forward to at the fashion show?

Meeting other designers like Goodone and From Somewhere who have inspired us from day one. We’re also looking forward to seeing what Manchester students have created and hope we can all somehow inspire the next generation of shoppers.

Where do you source your materials from?

The fabrics we use in our collections are sometimes donated by charities we have worked with or members of the public. We would love to source from factories eventually, as at the moment we can only create small volumes of our clothing.

What’s your top 3 must haves this season?

Herringbone treggings, a smart T to liven up your jeans, a statement stretch dress, We now know what we would like for Christmas 

Please complete the sentence…..

Upcycling is fantastic because there is nothing quite like the buzz you get from creating something from scraps that is unique to you.

 Thanks for answering our questions, Zolibeau will be showcasing their fantastic collection ‘Vibrant City’ at Recycle for Greater Manchester’s upcycled fashion show on the 20th November 2013 at MOSI in Manchester.


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