Tag Archives: reduce

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.

ReStyled Waste for Climate Week

7 Mar

As Climate Week draws to a close we are reminded of the amount of waste we all contribute to both globally and nationally. Here in England we actually generate about 177 million tonnes of waste every year. It is shocking. So when we heard about the enterprising recycling ideas coming from a group of young women at Altrincham Grammar School we invited them to tell us about it. ReStyled, are an inspiration and the authors of this week’s blog.


We are a group of students at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and our company was set up through the National Young Enterprise Programme. Our company, ReStyled has been driven by the shared opinion that reusing and recycling as a necessity to a stable environment. We feel it is important to view our waste in a new way to encourage a healthy attitude towards reducing waste for a greener, less cluttered environment. We hope to inspire other innovative ideas to come together for the cause of a more sustainable future.

Many people drink Capri Suns, which makes them a readily available resource for collection. Capri Sun packets are not currently recycled in Greater Manchester but are an excellent material and we believe it shouldn’t be wasted. We think they are a fun and colourful packaging, which is perfect for making a variety of products such as purses, bags and pencil cases. It is durable, waterproof and easy to clean, which is perfect for the majority market of school students.

restyled bags2

Over the last year we have also been selling our product at a number of events, such as Manchester Christmas markets as well as online.

We are always looking for new ideas and sourcing new waste items that we can recycle; we will be expanding our product using different materials that cannot normally be recycled. Our latest product that we are beginning to focus on is recycling old tape cassettes to make attractive stationary pen/pencil holders. Audio cassette tapes are now mostly obsolete but there are still loads of them around so we are able to source these from several places such as freecycle.org website, which shares our interest in the importance of recycling.


To keep up with what we are doing follow us on twitter , FB and look at what we are making on instagram .


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

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

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.


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