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Recycling planes, trains and automobiles…oh and a boat.

8 Dec

Back in the day, you may have known them to be called rubbish tips or dumps…… Now, we call them Household Waste Recycling Centres, the place where you can take your waste and recycling from home through normal day-to-day household activities and D.I.Y jobs.

Over the past month, we have been photographing some ‘unusual items’ brought to our Recycling Centres.
Amongst all the right recycling, we sometimes discover unusual stuff too…..

Here are our top three:

old-school-worksheetsIn 3rd place …A bygone age

You may remember these basic number cards from school, back when classrooms where full of boxes of worksheets. A retired teacher recycled the paper and boxes at Cemetery Road Recycling Centre.   The paper could come back as a cereal box, a newspaper or even next year’s Christmas cards!

Visit our Where does all your recycling go? page to find out what happens to the rest of your recycling.


model-planeIn 2nd place…

Is a N3419P Model plane, unfortunately one of its wings and tail were damaged so it was unable to fly anymore. A Bury resident threw it away at Cemetery Road Recycling Centre.   It will take it’s final journey  to one of our Energy Recovery Facilities and then transported by train to the Combined Heat and Power station in Runcorn to be made into green energy.



In 1st place…still-on-the-juice-boat

1st place goes to ‘Still on the Juice’. What’s that you ask? It was the most unusual item, a wonderful wooden boat brought to Chichester Street Recycling Centre because it was ‘beyond economical repair’. It was placed into the wood and timber recycling container.
The wood will be recycled, maybe into chipboard…… or used as biomass fuel to create green energy.

Along with all the unusual stuff you can also recycle your automobile waste such as car tyres, engine oil and car batteries!

To find out where your local Recycling Centre is and what else you can recycle visit our website.

To keep up to date with all things recycling -sign up to our quarterly  E-News or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Who knows? Maybe your unusual items will appear in future blogs!


Honey, I recycled the keys

16 Sep

We are coming to the end of the week and Recycle Week but weekends are a busy time for our Recycling Centres.  Around half a million vehicles visited our Recycling Centres in August and September. – that’s a lot of keen recyclers… some a little too keen. Some unexpected items get recycled by accident and like in slow motion, the moment you realise it, it’s too late… Luckily our dedicated staff are always up for the challenge (often optimistically looking for a needle in a haystack) to reunite the item with its owner.

Here are just some of the items that get accidentally recycled:

Mobile Phone

We’ve heard of plenty of excuses to upgrade to a new mobile handset but chucking it into a big skip takes it a bit far. As luck would have it (or not) Peter’s phone was balanced on the ledge of the skip at Boysnope Wharf Recycling Centre which was found by staff undamaged.  It was reunited with Peter when staff had the clever idea to call the last number dialed.



Staff and Emily’s purse


When Emily accidentally recycled her purse along with a bundle of cardboard it was not just the inconvenience of cancelling and replacing all her bank cards, that filled her with dread. She also kept a lock of hair in there from a family member that no amount of money could replace. She turned to Chester Road Recycling Centre staff for help, they painstakingly sorted through a massive pile of cardboard for over an hour in the baking heat to eventually find and return it.

Car Keys

We all know all sorts of metal can be recycled even old car keys but Isobel recycled her keys before their time potentially leaving her and her car stranded at Sandfold Lane Recycling Centre.   As the keys went ‘clunk’ right to the bottom of a full  scrap metal recycling container, hopes of retrieving them fell away, however our heroes of the day swiftly emptied the container and located the keys, reuniting them with a happy Isobel who could (literally) drive away.



Neil and his wedding ring

Wedding Ring

Some things can’t easily be replaced and a wedding ring is one of them.  This ring had extra sentimental value because is was made from his dad’s wedding ring and his mother-in-law’s jewellery both of whom have passed away. Neil realised it had slipped off his finger when recycling some bottles at Longley Lane Recycling Centre – after some rummaging, the ring was saved and it also saved Neil some earache from his wife!


Stuart and Lisa

Christmas Cash

Finally, Lisa thought she was pushing her luck when she hoped to find the £200 of Christmas money she had recycled.  The cash was packed in an envelope that  had been mistaken for waste paper on a New Year clear out. Devastated when she realised her mistake, Lisa rushed to Ash Road Recycling Centre with little hope that it could be found. Without any promises of success, Stuart from the Recycling Centre started a search through a nearly full skip of paper and card. After a meticulous and long search he was delighted he could hand back the cash to Lisa.

A big thank you to the staff and a big thank you to all the residents of Greater Manchester for their recycling efforts!  In August, 82% of waste at Recycling Centres was either recycled, composted or recovered for energy.


Recycling …the weird…the wonderful and ….what’s that?!?

14 Sep

It’s Recycle Week, so we thought we would pay a visit to the Materials Recovery Facility where all the mixed recycling from all the houses in Greater Manchester gets sorted-  however amongst all the right recycling we uncovered wrong (and weird) stuff too…


Around 300,000 tonnes of stuff from your mixed recycling bins is delivered to the MRF every day!

There should only be:

  • Drink and food cans
  • Aerosol cans
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Aluminium foil and food trays


However, there are some over-zealous recyclers or some bin misusers who put the wrong stuff in the wrong bin so not everything that arrives at the MRF can be recycled.

These are just some of the items we picked out today at the MRF’s arrival hall where everything gets tipped out from the collection vehicles.


Electronics of any type, small or large shouldn’t go in your recycling bin,   Take them to your Recycling Centre – or why not try repairing  them? Stitched Up run a monthly repair café





Baby Bath Seat

Yes, they are all plastic, but they shouldn’t go in your recycling bin. We only recycle plastic bottles

If you have any other plastic put them in your general rubbish or waste bin.  Or perhaps that baby bath seat could have gone to a charity shop!


Pooh Bear

These poor toys have seen better days but they shouldn’t have ended up in the recycling bin if they were in good condition they could have been donated or otherwise they should go in your general rubbish bin.





Heres a bag, pillow and a t-shirt-  no textiles should go in any of your bins at home. Clothes and textiles can go to a charity shop or if they are too worn or torn they can go to the Recycling Centre.   Things like pillows and duvets can be donated to Dogs homes.



Sauce Pansimgp1688

Pots and Pans and other kitchenware whether its metal or plastic should not go in your recycling bin – put them in your general rubbish bin. Or take them to the Recycling Centre they can go in with scrap metal.





Unusual items We also found this item… this was a bit of a head-scratcher, we had no idea what it was. After much deliberation we found an opening and inside were the instructions!  Its an ice-cream ball!   (Yes you read it right).





 In all seriousness, contamination is a big issue.  If any of the items above get into the MRF it can cause blockages and even cause damage. It also affects the quality of the recycling that is sent for reprocessing.

So, remember in Greater Manchester, the only recycling you can put in your mixed recycling bin is:

  • Drink and food cans
  • Aerosol cans
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Aluminium foil and food trays

For more information visit,  the Recycle Week page on our website.

Get involved… join us on Facebook and Twitter for a packed week of facts, hint and tips. #RecycleWeek

Top 5 things you thought you can’t recycle but you can!

8 Sep


It’s Recycle Week and this year is all about ‘The Unusual Suspects’. These are items that you might not think you can recycle or might forget about, – how many of The Unusual Suspects are you already recycling?

blue-plate-with-leftover-food-shutterstock1. Food leftoversif you haven’t got a dog that can eat your food leftovers, don’t put your plate scrapings in your general waste bin! Recycle all of your food waste in your kitchen caddy and put it in your food and garden recycling bin. 

Your food and garden waste is turned into Revive Compost 

Top Tip – please don’t use plastic carrier bags in your kitchen caddy, these don’t compost

4844-deodorant2. Aerosols – All types of empty aerosols can be recycled in your mixed recycling bin. So look out for deodorant, shaving foam, air fresheners, fly spray and hair care products. All you have to do is make sure it’s empty, remove the plastic lid, (put this in your general waste bin) and put the aerosol in your mixed recycling bin….easy!

Top tip – Think about having a separate recycling bin in the bathroom to make collecting your recycling easier.

Your aerosol cans with the rest of your mixed recycling is sorted at a Materials Recovery Facility




3. Cardboard cartons – such as juice, milk, soup or tomato cartons, also known as Tetra Paks – all of these can be recycled with your paper and cardboard. Just give them a rinse take off the plastic lid (put this in your general waste bin) and recycle them with your other paper and cardboard.




4844-foil-and-foil-trays4. Foil and foil trays – like kitchen foil and take-away foil trays. Once you’ve eaten your take-away, (and put any leftover food waste in your kitchen caddy), give the trays a quick rinse and put them in your mixed recycling bin along with other aluminium cans and tins.


Top Tip – Not sure if you can recycle some types of foil items? Do the scrunch test…if you can scrunch up the foil and it stays scrunched up, then you can recycle it. Try it with a crisp packet. Although these look like they have foil in them, we can’t recycle it because it’s mainly made of metallised plastic film not foil, so when you scrunch it, it will spring open.

4844-bonesBones – meat bones like chicken, fish, pork or beef etc…Although you might think that you can’t recycle them, as they wouldn’t compost in a garden compost bin, they can be recycled with all of your food and garden waste. 




Top Tip – Keep your kitchen caddy somewhere handy so you can collect all your left over food waste, raw and cooked food and anything that’s gone a bit mouldy.  Most people keep it under the sink or on the worktop.

So how many Unusual Suspects do you already recycle?

One?  Hopefully the guide has helped you to identify some of the Unusual Suspects around your home and will help you to recycle more.

More than 3? You’re well on the way to being a Top Class recycler!

All of them? Well done, you’re an expert recycler….share this blog to encourage people to recycle more of The Unusual Suspects.

Look out for our next blog all about the weird…the wonderful and mysterious items that people put into their recycling bins….

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to find out more about #RecycleWeek and the #TheUnusualSuspects

Ho! Ho! Homemade Christmas

2 Dec

So it’s that time of year again; the clocks have gone back and the dark evenings are here. This means only one thing to me…. No, not X-factor and Strictly! But yes, those dreaded three words: “Christmas is coming” Oh no, not the most wonderful time of the year! Yes maybe to those who are organised and start shopping in July but to me it’s just stressful shopping and excess expense. As a family a few years ago, because our ever expanding tree grew and grew we decided to only gift each other with small token gestures. This year I am going to try a different route! Homemade presents. Yes family, you heard me right, ‘Homemade!!’

So, I start looking around the house for things that I could reuse as this is supposed to be saving me money. Right, left over jars what could I do with them? (apart from recycling them in my mixed recycling bin). Got it, cookies in a jar! These are brilliant and can be made to contain various delightful treats; I decided on oat, raisin and chocolate cookies and chocolate chip brownies, they will do nicely for my nieces. All I need now are the ingredients, some leftover ribbon or material and labels.


Chocolate brownies in a jar

Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients to put inside the jar

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 95g plain flour
  • 35g cocoa
  • 75g plain flour
  • 135g brown sugar
  • 150g sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 100g white chocolate chips


Start by thoroughly cleaning the jars, old bolognese sauce and a chocolate brownie is not the best combo! I also sterilise the jars, just heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and place the jars on a baking sheet in the oven to dry completely and let cool.

Layer the dry ingredients in the jar (you may need to adjust the quantities to fit your jar) following the order above, from top, starting with the salt, baking powder and flour. Press each layer down before adding the next. The amounts given should exactly fill a one litre jar.

jar 3 edit

Oat, raisin and chocolate cookies

Write instructions as follows on a tag or maybe reuse an old Christmas card and attached to the jar: Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs. Mix well, and pour into a lined 9 x 9 inch tin. Bake at gas 4 / 180 C (160 fan) / 350 F for 25-35 minutes.

I have tied a little wooden spoon that I had to the jar just for effect (you can find more recipes at the end of this blog).


Now for the boys. So all the men in my family are football fanatics. One thing I find very frustrating is that each year their idolised team releases a new kit for the season. It is often a minute change but they always insist on buying a new shirt, donning it in honour of their hero’s. This inevitably leaves last year’s shirt at the back of the wardrobe never to see the light again until that fateful day it goes to the charity shop.  Well you know what I am going to say this year? ‘Stuff it’! Yes literary stuff it.

I dig out one of my son’s old shirts, turning it inside out I start by sewing the sleeves opening together, I need to stitch them securely so when stuffed the filling does not come out. I do the same on the neck, trying to retain the shape of the shirt. I then turn it back to right way and start to stuff. For this I use fiber stuffing and some cut up old clothes that are not good enough to donate to a charity shop.

shirt image

Football shirt cushion

You can stuff these cushions with almost any material or even beans from an old bean bag; you just need to make sure it’s nice and full. When stuffed stitch across the bottom and ‘hey presto!’ I have a football cushion for my nephew, ideal for the computer chair, hours of comfort whilst he wins virtual football championships.

Still on the football theme I have a quick and easy idea for the grown up men of the family, reindeer beer to enjoy whilst watching the Boxing Day match. I have bought a selection of tradition bottled ales and utilise a cardboard bottle carrier I saved. As art is not my strongest point I print off some sleigh images  and stick them along with a bit of festive tinsel to the bottle carrier. To transform the bottles into reindeer I simply use pipe cleaners as antlers, sticky googley eyes and a little red pompom for the nose. Really you can reuse anything that you have around the house; buttons, cardboard or paper are all useful materials. These reindeer are also great for Christmas parties and can be done on any size bottle.

beer 1

Reindeer Bottles

Just remember, once the contents of the bottle have been enjoyed, remove the antlers, eyes and nose before you put it in the correct recycling bin.

So now I have got just my sisters left. I had already started their presents about 2 months ago, my homemade plum and rum jam.  I used the recipe from our September  jamming blog and ploughman’s style chutney already to go I just need something to put them in.

As part of our free Recycle for Greater Manchester education experience, the creative education officers make gift bags out of old wall paper with the school classes. I have asked them to make a video of just how to do this.



So that’s me all set for the festive season (well almost).

The great thing is that all these presents are made out of things that are in and around our homes and can still be recycled when finished with. Right it must now be time for a mince pie and a mug of mulled wine.

Merry Christmas everyone!


More cookies in a jar recipes

Oat and chocolate chip cookies in a jar (1 litre jar)

  • 110g porridge oats
  • 110g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60g chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 170g plain chocolate chips
  • 165g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions for tag: Preheat oven to 180 C / gas 4. Grease baking tray, In a medium bowl, mix together 110g melted butter or margarine, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in the entire contents of the jar. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing. Shape into walnut sized balls. Place 5cm apart on prepared trays. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Transfer cookies from trays to cool on wire racks.

Chocolate and fudge brownie mix in a jar (1 litre jar)

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 95g plain flour
  • 35g cocoa
  • 75g plain flour
  • 135g brown sugar
  • 150g sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 10g white chocolate chips
  • 50g fudge (optional)

Instructions for the tag: Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs. Mix well, and pour into a lined 9 x 9 inch tin. Bake in a preheated oven at gas 4 / 180 C (160 fan) / 350 F for 25-35 minutes.

Chocolate cookies with Smarties recipe (500 g Jar)

  • 180g plain flour, sifted
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½tsp salt
  • 100g Smarties
  • 45g light soft brown sugar
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Instructions for the tag: Combine the contents of the jar with 80g so butter and 1 beaten egg. Take large tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Line and grease two baking trays and arrange the balls of dough, spaced well apart. Flatten each ball a little and bake for 10-12 minutes.



We’re Jammin’

29 Sep

By Amy Chilver

When I got asked to write a blog about preserving, the first thing that popped into my head was the WI and Jerusalem. However, jam isn’t all about village fetes.

At home we have a little veg plot and orchard where my Dad grows all manner of fruit and veg, most of it quite odd-looking and half eaten by the local wildlife. However, it’s free and tastes pretty good. One tree which keeps giving us an abundance of fruit each year is our plum tree.

When we first start to pick the plums we’ll have them in our lunch boxes and stew them for pudding after tea, however after a week the sight of another bowl of freshly picked plums would fill me and my sister with dread. We were then given a recipe by our neighbour (who also has a plum tree and the same problem as us). The recipe plum and rum jam. This jam is rather special and one that my Dad waxes lyrical over. When the mornings are cold and crisp and winter has finally settled in, our weekend breakfasts usually start with a big bowl of porridge and a huge dollop of plum and rum jam. It certainly warms the heart and sets us on our way for the day.

The recipe isn’t long or complex and is often rustled up on an evening by my Dad, who by day is a logistics manager so you really don’t need any culinary pizzaz whatsoever. So here’s how to make plum and rum jam…..


1 kg (2 1/4 lb) plums washed, halved and stoned

1 kg (2 1/4 lb) granulated sugar

3 tbsp dark rum

Step 1.

Place the plums in a preserving pan or a large heavy-based saucepan with 250ml (9 fl oz) of water and bring to the boil.

Step 1 fruit in pan

Step 2.

Simmer for 30 minutes until the plums have softened then add the sugar and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2 bringing the fruit to the boil

Step 3.

Bring to the boil. When the jam reaches a rolling boil cook for 5-10 minutes or until the setting point is reached. You can either use a thermometer, cook at around 105 degrees Celsius, that’s the temperature at which sugar forms a gel and can bond with the pectin, naturally occurring in the fruit. Monitoring the temperature can give you confirmation that you’re on the right track or use a cold saucer placing a small amount of jam on it pushing the jam along to saucer until it wrinkles.

Step 3 getting your jam to set

Step 4.

Add the rum and mix well, then ladle it into sterilised jars, seal and label. Store in a cool, dark place and refrigerate after opening.

Step 4 bottling your jam ready to eat

We reuse some of our glass jars to put our preserves in. We simply wash and remove the label, pop them into the oven on a very low heat for 15-20 mins to sterilise the jars, but don’t leave the jars in the oven with it turned on too high!

Preserving fruit and veg is nothing new but there are some top tips and exciting recipes that can make your pickings really stand out. They also make a great Christmas present, especially if you get that unexpected relative pop round…reach in the cupboard and voilà a little present ready to go.

Hopefully this has provided a little bit of inspiration for your fruit trees at home and to quote Bob I hope you like jammin’ too.

Serious about Summer Salads

21 Aug

It has never been easy to get my family to eat salad; picky kids put the smallest amount on their plates and eat even less. However, I enjoy salad and eat a lot of it, initially it was for health reasons (getting in my five-a-day) but now, more I eat the more I want. I can eat it all day. Last week I got stuck in traffic on the M60 after work for over an hour I munched through a bag of rocket and a bag of mixed leaves!

Having so many new salad options to choose from and with some supermarkets selling bagged salads for just £1 per bag, I have to admit to being duped in to buying too much just because it is so cheap but once opened, bagged salad does seem to go limp and mushy pretty quickly in the bottom of our fridge.

But it is not just me, I found out recently that salads, fresh fruit and veg are some of our most wasted foods, with an eye watering 1.2 million tonnes worth being thrown away, costing us in the UK a shocking £2.6 billion each year[1]. It gets worse, when you realise almost half of the 1 million tonnes of food and drink waste that is thrown away whole or unopened is fresh veg and salads[2].

So even though I think my contribution is just a £1 bag of rocket, there are literally millions of us throwing it away just 1 bag.

Me I throw it away because:

  • I forget it is there.
  • it gets squashed in the bottom of the salad crisper!
  • I make a salad for the family and it is not all eaten.

Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) have found out that other reasons for this waste is that we buy too much or we get bored with salad after running out of inspiration. So in Manchester they have sponsored a Salad Days event.

Salad Days image

Free Salad days event in Manchester

I definitely need inspiration if I am going to get my family enjoying rather than enduring my salads. For inspiration there are lots of good ideas on the internet and on the LFHW website in particular.

Handily, for me this weekend there is a Free Salad Days event in St Ann’s Square Manchester  Centre, on Sunday 22nd August from 11- 4pm. The event is  organised by Love Food Hate Waste in partnership with Marks and Spencer’s and Hubbub. There will be free taster salads and summer puddings to sample and they will also be offering advice on keeping your salads fresh and will offer  ‘simple solutions to get the most from what you buy’ it so you can turn those salad staples into salad sensations!

So, if you are free come along- they even have an area to keep the kids amused!

Expanding my salad repertoire

I asked my colleagues to provide me with a few new salad recipes to try out and to pass on their ideas for making interesting salads stay fresher for longer.

The first thing I noticed was that my colleague’s salads were much more interesting than mine. So I have included my two favourite recipes from our team:

butternut and blue cheese

Butternut and blue cheese salad

Alison’s Warm Blue Cheese and Butternut Squash Salad (serves 2 as a main meal)

You will need:

  • Small butternut squash
  • 4oz Blue cheese such as stilton
  • Handful of walnut halves
  • Runny honey
  • Usual salad ingredients (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar


  1. Put the oven on to 200C
  2. Peel a small butternut Squash and cut into cubes (approx. 2cm)
  3. Brush and coat with oil and roast in a warm oven until just about cooked/soft.
  4. Throw in the walnut halves and mix in with the squash, drizzle with a little runny honey and continue bake whilst you prepare the salad.
  5. Prepare a salad of lettuce, leaves, cucumber, tomatoes etc. and toss in a little balsamic and olive oil dressing
  6. Add the warm squash mixture and crumble or cube as much blue cheese as you prefer over the whole salad mix.
chicory, fennel and strawberry salad

Chicory, fennel and strawberry salad

Lisa’s Tangy Chicory, Fennel and Strawberry salad

You will need:

  • 1 White or red chicory head per person
  • Handful of strawberries
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • fresh mint leaves
  • olive oil, cider vinegar and salt


  1. Break (don’t chop) the chicory leaves. Wash as dry them and place on serving dish
  2. Chop fennel in thin slices and sprinkle over chicory leaves
  3. Cut strawberries into quarters place on the fennel and chicory salad bed
  4. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the tops and a sprig of mint and then drizzle everything with olive oil and cider vinegar over the top with a pinch of salt.

 Keeping my salad fresher for longer

There is a wealth of info and advice out there on the interweb, here are a few that I think are useful:

  • Don’t put your salad at the bottom of your shopping basket/trolley (rookie mistake!).
  • Keep washed and dry lettuce/spinach/leaves in an airtight tub or wrap washed and dried salad leaves in a tea towel of place kitchen towel in your crisper as it will absorb moisture and keep the salad crisp.
  • Do not wash cucumber until just before you use it.
  • Salad leaves can be refreshed by popping them into iced water for 30 minutes before you need them.
  • Revive your celery, carrots and cucumber put in a glass of cold water in the fridge overnight.
Creamy limp lettuce soup

Creamy limp lettuce soup

For more tips for keeping salads in top condition have a look at the LFHW website. I even found a recipe for limp lettuce and leaves creamy limp lettuce soup -not tried this myself!

All things considered I just need not get duped into buying more than the family can eat, plan better and prepare my salad leaves before I put it in the fridge, can’t be that hard, can it?

Phillippa is a campaign officer with the communications team and mum to a couple of lovely but fussy teens!

[1] Based on WRAP’s Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012

[2] Based on WRAP’s Household Food and Drink Waste: A product Focus 2014