Tag Archives: community

Sew Inspired!

17 Apr

Greater Manchester is now Greener! Thanks to Recycle for Greater Manchester and the Sew Recycled Project. Junkshop’s Dan Clarke looks back over the last 9 months of free sewing classes.

As the high street became dull, bland and focused on disposable fashion – Junk Shop stepped in with Recycle for Greater Manchester to put creativity and individuality back into fashion. We felt it was time to inspire the people of Greater Manchester to tackle the astonishing amount of textile waste produced (£140 million per year in the UK).

Textile waste in the UK

Showing care and respect for our clothing can make a difference and give people the power to express themselves through sewing and up-cycling  out of style fashion items. No need for big budgets and designer labels; creativity and imagination would lead the way. We wanted our classes to set the trends and not be a slave to fast fashion.

Over the last 9 months we have delivered 31 sewing classes over 9 districts reaching 454 people, injecting creativity and confidence with new ideas for up-cycling into everyday life.

“I am no longer scared of my sewing machine!”

Our step-by-step demonstrations on our Elna Sewing Machines meant that sewing machines collecting dust at home, could now have a new lease of life.

Using scrap textiles for a ‘bow making’ exercise, built confidence on the sewing machine; it was such a pleasure and a great sense of achievement to see residents sewing skills improve in such a short space of time.

The bows can be used to adorn head wear, shoes, bags, cover stains and gifts… the possibilities are endless. We encouraged participants to step away from the high street and take a look around their homes or even local charity shops for unwanted textiles. There is an abundance of fabric available from used curtains to bed sheets, which are easy to sew and will brighten any drab wardrobe.

Deborah Buotty and tailor dummy

“really chuffed with my dress, it would have never seen the light of day”

Everyone loved our simple but effective ideas of up-cycling and reworking their pre loved clothes. The fun has been put back into sewing!  As a result, we found that 76% of those attending classes have been inspired to repair their own clothes. Up-cycling clothing doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated it’s all about having fun. We wanted people to think about textile waste and take action; anyone can organise a clothes-swapping party for friends, family or even at work. Also by taking unwanted textiles to clothing banks or charity shops we are helping to stop them going into landfill.

We took the approach to teaching that was adaptable to individual needs in an exciting and inclusive way. People felt that sewing was no longer a chore and could become an enjoyable hobby. We think that we have given people confidence and life-long skills.

One participant said “I have done several sewing classes in the past but this is by far the most useful, I will be able to use these new skill all the time

By inspiring over 450 residents of Greater Manchester to up-cycle, a new generation of ‘sewing bees’ have been created!

As a result of the classes, people now have the skills to make clothes last longer for all the family. It’s brilliant to see that people will now think about the potential of what is being thrown away. We have loved receiving feedback from participants. We set up a Sew Recycled Facebook page especially, allowing people to leave their comments, share ideas and images of what they made; it has been great!

Here’s just some Facebook feedback:

I would like to thank the girls for the class held in Bolton library last night. It was great fun and learned lots many thanks. Keep up the good work x x”

“Absolutely cracking day at Bury Met with Junk. Made a groovy bow and remodelled a dress! Highly recommended :-) Thank you x”

To mark the end of the free up-cycling classes, we held an open day on 5th April at our Northern Quarter shop where over 70 people came together and took part in a free Easter bag/bonnet making activity.The day ended with a parade that brought everyone together.

Up-cycled Easter Bonnets at Junkshop

All of us at The School of JUNK would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part, your enthusiasm was inspirational!

Keep posting on the Sew Recycled Facebook page. We hope to see you soon…


Residents make an ‘Alleyway Allotment’ with Revive Compost

4 Apr

Sometimes it just takes a few concerned citizens to make a massive change, so when Recycle for Greater Manchester were approached by members of the Avenues and Alleyways Residents Association in Manchester,  for a donation of Revive compost (a new Viridor product), we were happy to support them in changing their alleyways into a place to enjoy and grow food as a community. 

Rosy Wilding tells us about how they have used Revive compost to transform their alleys and avenues and create a place where local people can come together.

Our streets were a disgusting mess. Over sixty abandoned bins had been strewn over the pavements for years, and fly tipping was the norm with rubbish coming from businesses as far away as Wythenshawe and Urmston. Our 12 alley entrances stank and were full of flies. Two alleys were impassable.

Alleyway before clean up

Rubbish filled alleyway before clean up

So thirty of us in the Haydn & Ruskin Avenue area of Moss Side set to work clearing the mess, finding homes for the bins and making sure everyone had the right bins and knew what to do with them. We wrote a short information sheet for new residents so that they knew what bins they should have. We gave ourselves a name: “Avenues & Alleyways Residents’ Association.”

Alleyway after clear up with new  planters...

Alleyway after clear up with flower tubs…


Once we had cleared all the rubbished and rehomed the bins we then packed out the alleyways with flowers to try and deter the fly tipping and it worked! People would come along with sacks full of rubbish ready to dump it, see the lovely flowers, turn round and go somewhere else, hopefully to find a bin!

We then had the idea of an “allotment in the alley” to bring the community together more and make the most of the wasted (now very clean) space at the back of our houses.

Adactus Housing Association agreed to fund 12 huge planters and Recycle for Greater Manchester kindly donated over a tonne of compost. We approached Recycle for Greater Manchester for compost because we liked the idea of using compost made from our own food and garden waste to grown new flowers and vegetables plants!

Filling allotment planters with Revive compost

Filling allotment planters with Revive compost, reading for planting

Much of our community clean-up had been based around encouraging correct recycling and the neighbours on our streets are now three times more likely now to be using green bins for food waste in comparison to neighbouring ones. It has been fantastic and encouraging to see what becomes of our food waste once we put it into our green bins, this was particularly educational for the many children involved in our project.

We also put up a display in a local adult education centre of a beautiful plant growing in compost next to a photo of rotting food dumped in the alley and ask people what they want to happen to their food waste.

When we opened the Revive compost bag we noticed how odourless and dark it was –all good signs! So far we are growing blackcurrant bushes, raspberries, spinach, herbs, strawberries, peas, carrots, garlic, potatoes, a grape vine and broad beans with more seeds set to go in once the risk of frost has passed. For many neighbours this is the first time they have grown food. There is great anticipation as we wait for the seedlings to poke through. If the enthusiasm spreads, we would like to buy more large containers and increase our allotment.

We have teamed up with a bee conservation charity, Rivers of Flowers and are going to have wild flowers and other bee friendly plants around our alleyway to provide food for the bees in our concrete, urbanised neighbourhood.

We are planning to create a couple of vertical wall herb gardens using pallets we found abandoned nearby. We also offer support and advice to other communities who want to clean and green their environment.  It’s so incredible to see the transformation here. It was so depressing before. Now it is a lovely neighbourhood.

We could not have created our “allotment-in-the-alley” without the incredibly generous gift of all that lovely Revive compost. Thank you Recycle for Greater Manchester!

We will be writing another blog later in the year so you can see how good our alleys and avenues look growing flowers, fruit and vegetables in the summer sunshine!

Spice up your life with a leftover chilli

6 Feb

This weeks blog comes from Cracking Good Food

With the nation tightening its belt, you may not know that we’ve been running free Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) cookery classes in partnership with Recycle for Greater Manchester. Our recent class at Ashton Town Hall was a spicy treat and it was a brilliant opportunity to show everyone just how easy and affordable it is to make tasty veggie chilli.  With the average family wasting £60 a month on food that is not eaten, this session introduced the class to helpful ways to save time and money.

Some participants wanted to peel their veggies but in true LFHW style our cooking guru Maz explained the benefits of keeping the skins on such as extra vitamins. This meant we had very little peelings to be recycled. Even better, one of the attendees, John, asked if he could take them for his wormery! Result! No waste at all!

Veg and bean chilli with rice on a dish We got all the veg chopped and into the pans with the spices and tinned tomatoes. We opened the tins of beans and showed everyone the different types. All were pretty familiar with the kidney beans but most had not had much experience of aduki and pinto beans. Lots of questions were asked as to their taste, price and availability. Some people tried them and some were surprised at their ‘nuttiness’. We also discussed the high protein content and cheap cost and how they could be bought for very little dried, so any excess could be shared with friends and family.

Our quiz went down well again and we had some lovely comments about how much fun was had discussing using up the ingredients left in our cupboards and fridges. It was agreed that some great recipes could be put together with leftovers including making a sandwich which is a fantastic way to use up food.

Shopping habits were discussed and questions asked about best places to buy items and how planning and portion control are great ways to limit wastage plus freezing any extra portions.

The chili was ready to serve and the rice had fluffed up a treat. One or two people were cautious about chili heat but Maz explained that you can make this dish as hot or mild as you like. Plus the great thing about this dish is the versatility of the recipe. This one pot wonder can use all sorts of veggies; whatever you’ve got in your fridge and cupboard.

Bean and Veg Chilli Cracking Good Food RecipeWe made two chillies that night and the spicier of the two was the most popular! Lots of chilli fans in this session! Take home containers were filled with the leftovers and true to the session ethos, there was no waste whatsoever!  Storage is so important if you want to keep food fresher for longer!

The class was a great success. We had some really lovely comments from the participants who had learned what they could do with leftovers. We made learning to cook uncomplicated and fun. Result!

You can download the chilli recipe but why not come and join the fun! For more information about future classes visit our website www.recycleforgreatermanchester.com/events

It’s time to move Up and Forward for Volunteer week

3 Jun

banner with tress and sky with the text 'helping to improve Greater Manchester for everyone'Volunteers wanted for The New Up & Forward Project

funded by The European Union under the Life + Program.

It’s Volunteer Week and a  new project has arrived in Greater Manchester. Working with hard to reach communities, the Up and Forward project will work with residents across Greater Manchester to help them waste less & recycle more!

Campaigns willl take place in the heart of the communities and is very much focused on the Community’s needs, opinions, requirements and gives them a voice!

 We are looking for Volunteers to come on board with us as part of this fantastic program over the next 2 years. Are you interested?

This  includes providing you with  training to become your local Community’s Recycling Ambassador & help us at the same time to send & feedback the recycling messages.

With Duties including some local door knocking exercises, asking your neighbours to fill in questionnaires & interactive survey’s leading to attending local focus groups. This is a project that can focus on you and relies on your knowledge and relationship within the community. Finally, you will be one of the voices of Up & Forward  and will be helping your local community to reduce, re-use and recycle.

 This will surely provide you with the chance to make a different & be an inspiration to other’s to recycle more!

 The project covers 4 different themes and 12 campaigns:


Ranging from community rewards campaigns in local schools to local business campaigns aiming for them to be focal points & improve the awareness of recycling messages.

Faith & Culture

Let’s work with your local community and its beliefs to address the problems of recycling and establish the common barriers to recycling & create communications suitable for your community.

Student & Short Lets

Whether its renting in short term accommodation, working with landlords & tenants to improve communication channels or running a Golden bin scheme;  this theme is sure to get all the community involved to have some fun & at the same time learn about recycling in their community


Working with residents to improve recycling in their flats and help them to recycle to together

The projects are spread across 9 Greater Manchester districts including Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside & Trafford.

This will provide a total of 42 different campaigns over the next 2 years into 2015.

To find out more please visit www.recycleforgreatermanchester.com/upandforward

Or contact us via email: upandforward@gmwda.gov.uk

Come and join in the recycling fun!

Community projects receive a New Year boost

9 Jan

Recycle IT van and logoTell everyone all about it; we want some wonderful innovative projects to benefit from our Community Waste Fund. Do   creative and sustainable project?  We would like projects that have captured the imagination of the 3Rs, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle to increase the recycling rate and continue to help with our ambition of zero waste to landfill.

We have supported 22 community waste projects since 2010, from residents groups running swap shop events to Social Housing Landlords working in partnership with Community Furniture projects to provide affordable furniture to people on a low income.

The fund, which is now open until the 15th February 2013 is for community groups, charities and not for profit organisations that have a project which can contribute to helping their community to use waste as a resource.

If you think this fund is something for you and your group or organisation, then waste no time and apply.

Community waste fund is open for applicants

26 Apr

Let the summer of swapping, swishing, sewing and saving commence.

Up-cycled clothes worn on models at a fashion showOur Community Waste Fund opened to applicants today and we are   looking to fund projects that value the pre-loved.

From sewing classes  to swap shops, we can all reduce the waste we produce and gain value along the way.

This is this fourth round of funding and we would like inspirational ideas from community groups who can encourage their neighbourhood to get thrifty. Up-cycling is the new pastime for people wanting to save money and be distinctive.

It might be swapping that funky skirt for a retro style T-shirt, learning new and useful skills at make do and mend classes or refurbishing furniture, revamping clothes or swapping garments at a swishing party. It will help people’s money to go further and possessions last longer, and at the same, benefit the environment.   

We want to encourage people to sew, knit, craft, and with a little thought and creative flair you can make something really unique. Turn your old jumpers into cushions, buttons into broaches; even create shelves out of an old door! Community groups can apply by visiting our funding page 

Look out for out for the up-cycling web of fame, which will capture what Greater Manchester is doing to make and mend. We are looking forward to seeing the creations.


Recycling gets another boost

28 Mar

Funding being awarded for community recycling projectsFor the second time this year we have awarded local community groups funding for waste and recycling projects. Six organisations have secured £50,000 of funding  between them to help us all waste as an important resource.

Three of the projects have an emphasis on re-using and recycling Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), so it doesn’t end up in landfill. The project aims to make people think about what happens to all of our unwanted electrical goods.

The other three projects include exciting stuff such as a partnership with the People’s History Museum in Manchester to raise awareness of how and what to recycle, a furniture re-use project with Trafford Housing Trust and a scheme to increase recycling in flats, to help residents recycle more. These community projects all combine to make reducing, reusing and recycling second nature here in Greater Manchester, and we love giving the money to  great initiatives.

 All of these projects are happening in an area near you so why not get involved see if you can help make a difference to your community, details below.

The fantastic projects:

Wesley – WEEE workshop

The Wesley project has received funding to establish a Designated Collection Facility (DCF) and employ a technician to test and refurbish small and large (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment WEEE for resale)

The creation of a new WEEE refurbishment workshop will increase waste electrical re-use tonnage and increase electrical sales and stock turnover by 200%. The project will build a skill base of volunteers able to undertake electrical refurbishment. This will create volunteering opportunities and develop an opportunity to share best practice.

Trafford Housing Trust – Rainbow project

This project aims to collect furniture, donated by tenants, or collected from void properties. The items collected will be refurbished and sold at an affordable price to tenants. The project will create jobs and volunteering opportunities for local people, as well as reduce waste arising through embedding up-cycling skills and encourage people to view their unwanted furniture waste as a resource.

The People’s History Museum in Manchester – Community waste and recycling education

This project will provide recycling facilities and information about recycling for visitors. It will help to reduce waste produced by the museum and visitors, and help to increase recycling and composting. The project will work with children and adults to encourage recycling behaviour in and outside of the home.

Mustard Tree- Free WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) PCs

This project will build upon the success of Mustard Tree’s pilot project that collected and refurbished PC equipment. The funding will help to extend the service to cover a wider range of small and large WEEE. The project will increase awareness of re-use and divert at least 1000 tonnes of WEEE from landfill. It will also facilitate training for volunteers from a local IT company, including IT and 4 PAT testing certification to further volunteers’ access to employment.

Manchester Environmental Resource Centre Initiative (MERCI) – Up to Your Waste- Promoting recycling and re-use in flats

The aim of the project is to increase residents’ involvement in re-use and recycling, through delivering recycling and up-cycling workshops.

Residents living in flats will be supported to recycle right through the recruitment of 14 local recycling champions for each tower block. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and battery collection points will be set up to help re-use and recycle more WEEE. The project will make residents more aware of waste as an important resource.

RE>BUILDSmall Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) collection and the refurbishment and up-cycling of furniture.

The money will fund a pilot to assess the viability of small WEEE drop off points and promote the sale of refurbished WEEE, to help increase the amount of small electrical items that are re-used and recycled. Up-Cycling furniture refurbishment workshops will be also be available to the general public.

Helping communities to waste not, want not!

14 Oct

This week we demonstrated our commitment to the community by giving a helping hand to seven community organisations/charities in Greater Manchester.  The seven groups all received a share of £55,000, to deliver waste reduction and recycling projects, meaning great news for them and us! 

We, at Recycle for Greater Manchester, see waste as an important resource and what better way to spread this message, then through community organisations themselves. The projects will have a positive impact on the environment, but will also benefit local communities.

The projects all start before Spring 2012 and they range from furniture re-use, community recycling, IT re-use, community up-cycling, tenant led youth environmental champions to community waste art projects. All the schemes demonstrate a more sustainable use of waste as a valuable resource, and the possibilities of what you can use waste for, are endless.   

 The organisations that received funding include:

Some of the organisations got together on Friday the 7th October for a photograph, and this also gave them the chance to meet and discuss their projects. It was great to hear about the interesting, but varied initiatives. They were all over the moon about the funding and couldn’t wait to get started.

Think that the community waste fund is right up your street? Then keep your eye on the website and look out for the next round of funding in December 2011.

Neston Grove Challenge winners!

15 Jul

Congratulations to our very first Street Recycling Challenge winners Neston Grove. They took on neighbouring street Rostherene Rd and pipped them to the post, to claim the title of Street Recycling champions.

It was a close run race with only 2 wheelies bins in it! The biggest success was the overall increase in recycling in both streets, the bin put out rate before the challenge was 32% and after the Challenge this had risen to 50%!

Residents had to fill their blue, brown and green bins with the correct recyclable items and put them out for collection by 7.00am on 30th June. The bins were checked on collection day to see how full they were with Neston Grove residents being judged the winners having recycled over 24 full wheelie bins to Rostherne Roads 22.

When we presented Rachel Barnes a resident of Neston Grove with her prize we got to see first hand how the neighbourhood had embraced the challenge with people asking us which street had won and Rachel’s children showing us what goes in what bin and telling us tales of how they had helped Mum to sort the recycling for the Challenge.

Hopefully this Challenge will inspire many more people in Stockport and other areas of Greater Manchester to take advantage of the new and improved recycling services provided at the kerbside and at Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Do you live in Greater Manchester and think your streets up for the challenge? Then get in touch. Either leave a comment or email communications@recycleforegreatermanchester.com

Neighbours go head to head in the Stockport Street Challenge

29 Jun

For Recycle Week, Recycle for Greater Manchester and Stockport MBC decided to put residents to the challenge – a Street Recycling Challenge.

In Stockport since we gave almost all households a set of wheelie bins everybody has been recycling more, but there are still recyclables sneaking into refuse bins. Sometimes people aren’t sure which bin it can go in so it ends up in the refuse bin.

It’s also a case of changing long formed habits such as scraping the leftovers off dinner plates into the food caddy which will then be recycled instead of into the refuse bin.

What better way to encourage behaviour change and recycling than a bit of friendly rivalry. Plus an added incentive of a £20 shopping voucher for each winning household, all the residents I spoke to thought it was definitely worth a go!

40 houses on Neston Grove and Rostherne Road are currently going head to head to recycle as much as they can, using their blue, brown and green wheelie bins by the 30th June. Believe me every bit of recycling really does count.

Did you know that aluminium foil can be recycled with your cans and tins? And Tetrapaks, that’s juice or beverage cartons to you and I, can be recycled with your paper and cardboard? 

Early indications showed Neston Grove to be just in the lead by 3 wheelie bins. That’s about two mown lawns, 100 2 pint plastic milk bottles (washed and squashed!), and 2 full sacks of mail.

Each street is keen to win, and residents are searching the cupboards under the sink for empty cleaning bottles, and clearing out bathroom cabinets of used aerosols. I’ve got a collection of empty shoe boxes if anyone is interested…….

I’ll be sitting in  my office waiting for the rush! Keep checking back for the final results…..

Written by Eleri Jones – Community Recycling Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council


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