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Top upcycling tips from our #ReThink Fashion experts

21 Nov

It is all hands on deck for the Recycle for Greater Manchester’s Communications team as we count down to our sell out Re -Think fashion show at the MOSI on 27th November.

Re-Think Fashion Events banner

We have asked the fashion show designers and our upcycling experts to give us a few of their upcycling tips. Manchester based Stakkabridge an independent, vegan clothing company and Debi Harcourt-Whiting who creates unique, bespoke, steel boned corsets for bridal and special occasions,  have come up with some simple and sensible suggestions.


Q: What can I make from an old t-shirt that requires very little actual sewing?

A : Debi Harcourt-Whiting – A vest or tank top.

A : @stakkabridge – Maybe cut off the sleeves or cap them and potentially the neck line too. I drew a character using a permanent marker which has survived many washes now :).

A : Debi Harcourt-Whiting  – T shirts if in good repair could have lace, sequins, ribbon, appliqué, crystals, beading etc. applied to them.

Q: What are the essentials I should have in my make do and mend sewing kit?

A : @stakkabridge – Sharp scissors make altering a lot easier. Chalk for marking, needles and thread!

A : Debi Harcourt Whiting – Bondaweb to make any quick fix repairs and can be used for quick stitch free hemming, a sharp pair of scissors, dye, embellishments.

Q: If I need to shorten a skirt how do I ensure that the hem is straight?

A : @stakkabridgeMeasure it from the bottom eg.10cm upwards all the way around and draw a line with chalk to follow when you sew.

A : Debi Harcourt Whiting – Remember to measure up from the hem and pin to mark before cutting.

Q: What can I do with the growing number of odd socks that I have?

A : Debi Harcourt Whiting - Dye them?

Q: Party /Friday night emergency, any suggestions for a quick ways to deal with a loose hem, broken zip or a hole?

A : Debi Harcourt Whiting – A loose hem can have a quick few stitches to hold it in place or use bondaweb for a more permanent fix. A hole may be fixed using bondaweb also, or use a brooch or an appliqué. Broken zips could perhaps be held together with a pin or 2 if not visible.

#ReThinkFashion Twitter hour

We’ve  got some great tweets from our #ReThinkFashion twitter hour…..

For a sneak preview of what to expect on the catwalk and at the upcycled marketplace have a look at some of our twitter hour tweets!

If you are coming along to the ReThinkFashion show remember to join the conversation and tell us what you think @recycle4gm using #ReThinkFashion

A rubbish day out …..

26 Sep

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Recycle for Greater Manchester Education Team.  For the third year running we have participated in the Heritage Open Days. These are a once-a-year chance to explore the world on your doorstep, unlocked and completely free of charge!

This year almost all of the eight sessions held across our four education centres were fully booked. This was a tremendous response from residents wanting to find out more about what happens to the things they put in their bins.

Our education centres are based at some of our major facilities and each one showcases a different technology.  Our centre at Longley Lane in Manchester focuses on our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where your cans, foil, glass bottles, jars and plastic bottles are sorted and separated ready to be transformed into something new. At the Bolton centre we take a look at our Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) where non-recyclable waste is burned and the heat used to generate electricity. At Bredbury we discover how non-recyclable waste undergoes treatment at our Mechanical Biological Treatment Facility (MBT) where it is mechanically separated, biologically digested and used to generate green electricity.   Pilsworth in Bury is where our landfill site and gas plant are situated. Here you can see how a modern landfill site is run and how we protect the environment by collecting the gas using it to generate electricity.

Each session included a presentation on the technologies, why we have four bins and what should go in them. This was followed by interactive activities to explain just what happens at the site, a site tour and how to get the right stuff in the right bin.  It also gives you the chance to ask those nagging questions like “why can I only put plastic bottles in my recycling bin”? You can find the answer in the recycling A-Z , or come along to the next open day and test our knowledge.

We had some wonderful feedback from the visitors, lots of people felt they now understood what they should be recycling and why.  A Bolton resident went so far as to say “everyone should see this” and an Oldham resident commented “the presentation and tour was excellent and the staff running it were wonderful – excellent exposé of the system”.

Further open days are being held at each of the sites throughout the year. Check out the events section of our website to see when they are or tell us that you want to join our mailing list and we will tell you the dates for future open days.

Our education centres and facility tours are very popular with schools and community groups simply book a visit to any of our education centres and see your waste in action!

A big apple issue

16 Sep

Phillippa, one of Recycle for Greater Manchester’s campaign officers has been concerned about the amount of fruit from her allotment that has is rotting on the ground and has been looking at options for reducing her wasted windfall….

Being an allotmenteer I know that this is the time of year when those of us with fruit and veg gardens are in the throes of picking, storing, freezing, pickling, preserving and consuming everything that we cannot give away. So if like me you are struggling to eat all that you are producing I may have a few options for diverting your excess produce.

Right now I am toying with the idea of how to use up all my Bramley apples. I have a massive tree, which this year is very productive. There is no way I can collect the apples at the top of the tree even with an extendable apple picker.

So right now I am only collecting the windfall fruit and still have more than we can manage.

bramley apple treeI  have encouraged fellow plot-holders to help themselves but still there is more than me, my family and even my neighbours can consume. I even brought some apples into the office for colleagues last week,  they were used to make a super apple pie.

Donna's apple pie

Donna’s mum’s apple pie

I know that there are literally thousands of apple recipes online that use this humble fruit in some very interesting combinations, such as macaroni cheese with apples! So I am not lost for new fruity recipes to try out thanks to motherhood on the rocks ‘Beyond the pie’ article which offers 30 interesting apple themed recipes to try, if I have the time!

However if you are feeling overawed by your produce there maybe help at hand. I decided to find out if I could, in fact, give my fruit away and I found out that I can. I have come across a project called Abundance (working mainly around south Manchester) who will pick my excess fruit and veg and give it away to local people and projects that can use it, what a fantastic idea!

Or, if you wanted to get a return on your excess fruit the Moss Cider project is still accepting donations of apples and pears. They are a community project and will give you a percentage of your fruit donation in either cider or juice. If you live in or around Tameside Operation Farm may be able to help you as they are running a series of information and juicing days.

I have been thinking that there must be other projects across Greater Manchester that offer similar services. If you know of any community groups that collect, pick and distribute donated fruit from gardens, parks, open spaces and hedgerows please tell us about them via email, twitter @recycle4gm or Facebook so we can spread the word.

Don’t forget if your fruit and vegetables are just too far gone for eating put it in your food and garden recycling bin, along with all your garden waste, cooked and raw food waste and it will be made into Revive® Multi-Purpose Compost which is available for sale at our larger sites.

If you are interested to see how we turn your food waste into Revive® Multi-Purpose Compost watch our YouTube video

Zero Waste Week Day 3

5 Sep


Recycle for Greater Manchester are enjoying Make Do and Mend’s 3rd day Zero Waste Week challenge blog which has a loads of fantastic textile upcycling ideas and links.

We are inspired, especially as we are once again working with the staff at Junk Shop, Manchester to provide free textile upcycling classes in Greater Manchester. We can’t wait to get snipping and sewing!

Originally posted on My Make Do and Mend Year:

Today’s Rubbish adventures have been thankfully very few. I am sure you are all almost as grateful as I am as it means not having to look at lots of pictures of my rubbish…

We had our Riverford delivery today, which is thankfully very low on packaging. Most things are unpackaged, or in cardboard punnets. Except the raspberries…
ZWW-day 31Whenever I forget to place my order in time, and have to do my fruit and veg shopping at the supermarket, I Am always reminded just how much rubbish is generated by the simple act of food shopping. And it depressed me.

I thought we might almost make it through the day without any landfill waste, but I was scuppered again.
I needed to alter something on the blackboard in the playground at school, so went in to ask for something to rub out the chalk pen with and was handed a…

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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  –…

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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!


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