Tag Archives: reduce

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

A Recycled Wedding

3 Aug

Guest blogger: Alfred Chow aka  Maker_of_ Things  shares his and Sue’s inspirational wedding day with us!  From the rings to his wedding suit –  all made with a creative recycled twist!

When Sue and I got married we knew we didn’t want a traditional umpteen-thousand-pound-debt-with-all-the-trimmings wedding.

For a start, our engagement rings were homemade from scrap and off cuts of wood! Sue’s ring was made of Yew with brass screws, from an old fuse box, in place of gems.  Mine was also Yew with a plaited band of old alarm cable and wine bottle wire.

We knew that the rest of the wedding would be as much recycled, re-used and homemade as possible.

We looked at various options for wedding rings, including used aviation hose clips, but in the end we designed and made them too. In my workshop, I turned rings of scrap stainless steel on the lathe.  These were then decorated with brazing brass by my good friend and bicycle frame builder, Dylan Thomas of PIM Cycles in York – a simple design of two bands on my ring and a single one on Sue’s.

We love that our rings are both priceless and worthless at the same time.  Also they are representative of our new life together – if they get lost or broken, we can fix or remake them just as we adapt to whatever life brings us.

My outfit was never going to be the grey morning suit, even from a charity shop.  I decided on a steampunk look and found as much of the outfit and accessories secondhand as I could.

The shirt was from the back of my wardrobe. The waistcoat was from a second hand boutique.  The trousers are old biking leathers.  The boots were theatre props dyed to match. The jacket was found in a bag of rubbish outside a neighbour’s house.

Yes, you read that right.  We were going to put the bag into a bin but as it wasn’t tied up we looked in it and fished out a sodden leather jacket.  Cleaned up, it was the right size and style!

Even the metal framed welding goggles I wore came from the scrap bin at the preservation railway where I volunteered. Only the hat was bought new and the goggles on the hat came from Ebay as an old collectable.

For our three tier wedding cake, comprising cake, cheese, and pork pie, I made a wooden cake stand using offcuts of plywood from my workshop, making the best of the bits I had.  It is all assembled with sliding fit joints and packs flat and will now display the recycled crafts Sue makes.

We had a cake made by a friend, cider we made ourselves, and numerous gifts of services and home cooking for the buffet in lieu of presents.  Even the paper cups we drank from were compostable, courtesy of our local independent coffee stall!

To find out more about Alfred and also Sue’s incredible makes – please follow them on Twitter! @Maker_of_Things and @SueArcher6

Brownies 100th birthday celebration

4 Jul

Recycle for Greater Manchester’s Education Officer, Alison Heaton, went back to her Girlguiding roots to celebrate a very special occasion – The Big Brownie Birthday!

On behalf of Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM), I was invited to join 1000 Brownies and volunteers from the Salford, Trafford and Sale areas for a brilliant birthday bash on 21st June 2014. The Girlguiding Greater Manchester West members had planned a cosmic-themed adventure in MediaCityUK – Star Quest – to celebrate 100 years of the Brownie section.

As a former Queen’s Guide, I jumped at the chance to once again get involved with Girlguiding – which is the leading organisation for girls and young women in the UK.

When I arrived, I found out that the event would see the young Brownies travel through three time zones in the hunt for missing stars – taking part in activities and enjoying new and exciting adventures en route.

The Star Quest story began with a trip to the past to learn more about the 100-year history of the Brownies. Next, the girls moved on to the present, where R4GM ran a specially-tailored recycling themed session for the Brownies.

R4GM sponsored the development of a fun and interactive play about recycling and worked in partnership with Momo Theatre to deliver an educational and entertaining performance that the Brownies would enjoy. On the day, we saw it all come to life and watched as the girls sat in the warm sunshine and laughed out loud at the ‘Ant and Dec’ style antics of recycling ‘expert’ Mr Ellerbeck and his sidekick Mr Holloway.


During the performance, the Brownies were even brave enough to take part in a game show style quiz which saw them making decisions to either reduce, re-use or recycle the different waste items they were shown. It was great to see them participate and I was impressed to see how well they understood their waste and recycling, and what should be done with it.

Next, it was time for the Brownies to journey to the future where they experienced a mad science show and other activities to browni enviro badgeconclude their cosmic adventure. At the end of an action-packed day, it was clear that the Brownies had thoroughly enjoyed their birthday celebrations and had learnt a lot too. I also found out that, as part of the Brownie programme, Brownies have an environment interest badge that they can earn by learning about recycling and doing some environmentally-friendly activities.

Every Brownie was given a leaflet on how to recycle right so here’s hoping that we’ve helped them on their way to earning another new badge!

recycling pizza web large


R4GM have 4 education centres which are available for Greater Manchester  schools and community groups to visit. Why not book a visit?



Top Goals and Great Saves!

20 Jun

The team at R4GM are all a bit gutted by last nights result but there is still a lot of football and even some barbecue weather to enjoy ….

Looks like the weekend will be dry, so if you’re planning a World Cup party or barbecue or even just giving the cooker a rest and ordering in a takeaway to enjoy while you’re watching a game, one thing’s for sure – all these World Cup celebrations will create lots of extra waste, the majority of which can be recycled.

There’s a lot of items you can recycle quick and easily, including drink cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, foil trays, cardboard boxes and foil takeaway cartons. All you have to do is make sure they are clean and then put the right stuff in the right bin.

RSRB generic

(Click image to view)

It will take seconds to do but will save a lot more than you think!

Metal cans are 100% recyclable; they can be recycled again and again and can be back on the shelf within 60 days! One metal drinks can, over the cycle of a year, can be recycled eight times. This saves enough energy to make another 160 cans.


It takes a quarter of the energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic as it does from new materials making it worthwhile recycling those extra bottles.

You might be surprised at what recyclable items can be turned into:

• Glass bottles can be turned back into more bottles and jars again and again
• 25 plastic drinks bottles can become a fleece jacket
• Plastic bottles can be turned into new park benches

Remember it’s not just your tins and cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles can also be recycled. If you’re buying a brand new team football shirt this World Cup, it might be greener than you think. Did you know that the England’s World Cup kit has been made from recycled plastic bottles? So your recycling efforts can be seen both at home and away in Brazil.

England plastic bottlesOld football kits
And it doesn’t have to end there – there are lots of textile banks where you can take your old, unwanted football shirts. Find your nearest recycling bank at www.recyclenow.com. If you don’t have a textile bank near you, there are plenty of other options. Make the most the charity collection bags that come through your door – or take them directly to your local charity shop or recycling centre.

You could even donate your old and unwanted strip to Football 4 Africa (www.football4africa.org) or Kits 4 Causes (www.kits4causes.org) who will pass on your unwanted strip to those in need. For details on how to donate, visit their websites.

How about your TV? Did you buy a new one to watch all the action on, why not make it your goal to recycle your old model?

Why not check to see if one of your friends may want it; ask around members of your family, too. Or ask your local charity shop if they accept TVs, if they do, they will happily find a new home for it. You could also try passing it on using websites such as Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) and Freegle (www.ilovefreegle.org).

There’s no reason why you can’t try and make a bit of money by selling your TV if it’s still in good working order. Try your local paper or shop notice board, or online sites such as eBay (www.ebay.co.uk ), Preloved (www.preloved.co.uk) and Gumtree (www.gumtree.com).

And if it’s no longer working, take it to your local recycling centre. Find your nearest recycling centre on our website.

Many electrical shops will now take your old item off you when you buy a new one. Check with the store to see if they offer this service.

So this for the rest of the World Cup, remember to support the environment as well as your team by recycling all that you can.

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!

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:  http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf)

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: www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf) . 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.

Free LFHW cooking classes come to an end…..

11 Apr

Cracking Good Food blogger CORIN BELL updates us on the last Recycle for Greater Manchester free cooking class and looks back over the last  12 months.

I can’t believe it was the grand finale of our Love Food Hate Waste sessions – what an adventure it’s been! We spent the afternoon with some lovely folk in St Herbert’s Parish Centre in Chadderton showing them how to make Mexican quesadillas with refried beans and spicy salsa… yum! Cracking Good Food sessions are never a spectator sport, so after a quick intro from our cooking leader Maz, the group was straight in to learning safe chopping skills. Rule number 1: If you want to keep all your fingers, chop awkward shaped veg in half and lay them on their flat surface – that way they don’t roll around and you don’t slip with the knife – thanks Maz!

While Maz cooked up the beans and salsa, our participants helped by chopping and preparing other ingredients and took part in our favourite food waste ‘fix-it’ game. This involved sharing ideas about foods that tend to go to waste in fridges/cupboards; getting tips on how to use them up rather than let them go off. We were all surprised when someone asked what they should do with leftover wine… this resulted in a few raised eyebrows and a very obvious answer!

We had loads of good tips from the group, my favourite one of the day was about using up those “super grains” which we buy for one particular recipe and then leave in the back of the cupboard. One of our lovely Chadderton locals had discovered that you can make porridge out of quinoa, millet, wheat flakes, and all sorts! Some just need a little more sweetness, which means you can also use up honey, golden syrup or even jam.

After 12 months of cutting, chopping, cooking and talking, I think that the LFHW message is becoming much more popular. People are smarter with their leftover food and we found that they are eager to pass on their handy tips; like grating hard cheese before it goes mouldy, making breadcrumbs from stale bread; both can go in the freezer.

Now we have finished all our cooking sessions for Recycle for Greater Manchester we have taken some time to reflect on how good we have been at spreading the messages of reducing  food waste by keeping food fresher for longer, making meals from leftovers, shopping smarter and using more of what you find in your cupboards.

We’ve cooked with over 300 residents at 24 different community and social centres across Greater Manchester. The feedback shows we have inspired around 80% of participants to use their leftovers to create cheap and tasty meals. One resident said “I will be more creative with the bits of food left over in my fridge..”. Others have decided that they would plan meals and write a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases and those very tempting BOGOF offers.

Cracking Good Food

Cracking Good Food


It is sad to see these sessions come to an end, so here’s hoping we’re back soon with lots more free classes and tips! In the meantime you can be inspired by the fantastic leftover recipes on the Recycle for Greater Manchester website.


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