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Why not use up your leftovers on Pancake Day?

17 Feb

Traditionally pancakes were made to use up perishables such as butter, milk and eggs the day before Lent begins Making pancakes is  also a good opportunity to use up any leftovers of items from your fridge and kitchen cupboards before they are out of date. In the UK, we still waste around £60 worth of food per month by throwing away food that could have been eaten. A fifth of the food we buy ends up as waste, and about 60% of that could still have been eaten.

Research has shown that milk is one of the three top items being thrown away unused in British homes along with bread and potatoes. There is an incredible 5.9milliion glasses of milk wasted on a daily basis in the UK. The main reasons for the waste is the fact that we sometimes  buy more than we need and we are unsure about how to store food to keep it fresh. Quite often, we are unsure about  food date labelling and over-estimate portions. So instead of throwing away leftovers or overripe fruit today, use them up by creating a tasty pancake filling.

pancakesPancake batter is simple to make and there are loads of pancake recipes to be found online. To create the basic pancake you will need is a few ingredients; flour, milk, and eggs. Just about anything you put in a pancake will taste great, you can even add fruit, nuts, berries or even chocolate to your batter. If you need to shop for your pancake day treat remember to take a shopping list and only buy what you need to create the prefect waste-free meal.

Pancakes are popular around the world; why not try a different type of pancake today? There is the American buttermilk pancake, or Russian pancakes called blinis, which are made from buckwheat flour, try them served with smoked salmon, sour cream or crème fraiche. If you fancy something savory try an Indian Gujarati pancake with spicy potatoes and yoghurt. Or for a delicious  dessert you can make quick and easy sweet fillings using overripe fruit chopped and stirred through yoghurt or cream.

Enjoy your pancake day, if you do have leftover batter keep it fresher for longer- pour it into an clean plastic milk bottle and it will stay fresh in your fridge for a few days’, it will separate so just give it a quick shake before you use it.

Got a favourite pancake recipes, filling or handy tips? Share it with us via Twitter @recyle4gm or our Facebook page!

Get creative and save money this Christmas

19 Dec

With just a week to go until Christmas… if you have not already, it’s time to get all those decorations up and get all the presents wrapped.

Tina, our ‘crafty’  communications team  member shares some creative ways on making your very own decorations and present wrapping ideas using items lying around the house and last years’ Christmas cards!  

I have a tendency to collect odd bits of paper and random bits and bobs  in hope that one day they will come in useful. That day has come, all the hoarding was for this one day – Christmas Day!

Instead of buying wrapping paper and decorations, why not have a go at making your own or use things around your  home?

Here are some ideas…

  • Reuse boxes and gift bags

Whenever I get a present in a gift bag, I always keep them so I can use again.  I also kept some fancy shoe boxes which I use for storage.  Boxes can also be used  to put awkward shaped presents in –also  it makes it harder for the person to guess what the present is!

  • Reuse old Christmas cards to make gift boxes

Here is a quick and easy way of making gift boxes. If you saved your Christmas cards from last year you can turn them into boxes, which can be used for small gifts such as sweets and chocolate.  I also like using these boxes to keep bits and bobs in like buttons and paperclips.

Here is the quick guide from Crafty Pod

  • Make hanging decorations from old leaflets or paper

I have been addicted to making these paper decorations- they are quite easy to make.  Mine are made out of old leaflets, a calendar and some red envelopes I saved from Chinese New Year.  They look great hanging in my front room, or you can make mini ones for the Christmas tree!

Watch this ‘how to’ video.


  • Reuse packaging 

    Things to reuse

    Things to reuse

You be surprised how much stuff round your house you can use to put your presents in.   I ordered some clothes that came in a box shaped like pizza box once! You can use things like plastic cartons you get supermarket vegetables in, jam jars, takeaway containers…the list is endless!

Do you have any Christmas craft ideas to share with us? Send us a message!

Baby on a budget – part one

17 Dec

Tina, our office Mum-To-Be has been in nesting mode- even in the office… here she shares her preparation  for the new arrival.

At 30 weeks pregnant, I am now in true nesting mode-  even the freezer has  been cleaned out – don’t worry  I’m not planning to put the baby in there…

After reading an article (New mums spending £1,000-plus on ‘baby essentials’… or costly gimmicks?)  I got a bit panicked.  Being a first-time Mum – I had no idea what a baby really needed, the cost of baby stuff and how to cope with a reduced household income whilst on maternity leave .  So I decided to ask the experts – MUMs!

I am very lucky to be surrounded by Mums at work – even though they have shared some horror stories,  they all have given me invaluable advice and unanimously agree the sleepless nights are worth it!

I have also been inundated with very kind offers from friends and family who have given me a lot of their little one’s toys, pram, cot, car seat, Moses basket, blankets and a mountain of clothes!

As well as the generosity of others, I am also saving money by:

  • Using cloth nappies

    Cloth nappies! - my favourite is the yellow one with clouds!

    Cloth nappies! – my favourite is the yellow one with clouds!

I have recently purchased a cloth nappy kit from Baba and Boo, which includes 20 washable cloth nappies and all the essentials.  By using these I am hoping to save up to £1000 and even more if I decide to have baby number two.   By not using disposable nappies, this will also reduce the amount of rubbish in my general bin.  I can’t wait to start using them – just look how cute they are!

  • Using rechargeable batteries

Some of the toys I have been given need batteries  (usually the noisy ones) so I will buy a range of rechargeable batteries and a charger – again this will save money in the long term and also I don’t have to worry about dead batteries.  If you use disposable batteries, you can take them to your local supermarket for recycling – they should have a battery box  located near the tills.

  • Repurposing

    Laundry basket used for toy storage

    Laundry basket used for toy storage

If you don’t have anything lying around the house you can repurpose, check out your local furniture reuse organisation who have a great selection of quality second hand furniture.  Alternatively, check out NCT’s nearly New Sales and car boot sales.

To keep on top of your expenses, check out The Money Advice Service baby costs calculator to estimate costs.

So I just got 10 weeks to go now…there is still a lot of cleaning to do.

Wish me luck!

ReThink Fashion Show 2014

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Last week we hosted our ReThink Fashion show in Manchester, a fantastic night or creativity and innovative design from designers and stylist across Greater Manchester. The media interest in our 4th fashion show has been unprecedented. Have a look at this great blog by fashion stylist Evie at wearevierose.

Originally posted on wearevierose | style blog:

Last week I attended the ReThink Fashion Show held at the Museum of Science and Industry. The event was set up by Recycle for Greater Manchester and was the fourth year they had hosted the show. The concept behind the event was to create awareness about what you can create using recycled materials. The show was truly inspiring.

The evening began with a mooch around a few of Manchester’s unique upcycled and vintage accessories, fashions and homeware stalls. Amongst them were the likes of Emmaus and Junk Shop. There were also exhibits from Manchester Metropolitan- again all related to recycling materials.

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On to the highlight of the night- the fashion show. Showcasing collections from local vintage stores, and couture designer, Adnan Bayyat, the fashion show was incredible. Adnan Bayyat was the one who stood out to me; every garment from the collection was uniquely impressive. You would not believe from looking at these…

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Top upcycling tips from our #ReThink Fashion experts

21 Nov

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

Re-Think Fashion Events banner

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A : Debi Harcourt Whiting - Dye them?

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

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

#ReThinkFashion Twitter hour

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

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

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

A rubbish day out …..

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A big apple issue

16 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

Donna's apple pie

Donna’s mum’s apple pie

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

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

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

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

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

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


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