Tag Archives: community

International Compost Awareness Week 2015

7 May

I wonder how many people are aware of International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW), which is celebrated annually in the first week of May – this year’s theme ‘be loyal to your soil’.

The compost industry showcase products, featuring everything from composting in the back yard to large-scale commercial composting facilities and businesses serving entire communities.

What does ‘be loyal to your soil’ mean to you?

When you start to think about it, compost is really at the heart and soul of any garden, using it is the best and easiest way to produce bountiful arrays of flowers or vegetables for all the family to enjoy.  Even if you don’t have a big area outside your home, there may be room for some pots to brighten up your space with flowers; a welcoming area for visitors whether it’s people or wildlife.

Are you a novice to using compost; are you interested in making your own at home? If so, it’s a cheap, easy and natural process of recycling.  Before you begin, there will be questions that need considering, such as:-

You don’t need to have a garden in order to compost and friends and family will appreciate the donation once it has matured to help plants/flowers flourish in their own garden.

Did you know?

  • Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces in a year; or your washing machine produces in three months.

In Greater Manchester, there is a recorded 1522 active compost bins in use.

If the idea of making your own compost at home doesn’t appeal to you, there is the option of buying the product from outlets that stock it.  There is a selection to choose from, and which one, is a matter for you.

Blog - revive compost

Here in Greater Manchester, Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) is proud to promote ‘Revive’ which is multi-purpose peat free compost.  Residents living in Greater Manchester help in the production of the compost, by putting their garden and food waste into the garden and food recycling bin at home.  It is processed in 5 simple steps and turned into a high quality compost perfect for your garden and potted plants.

‘Revive’ compost can be bought at 10 of the main facilities in Greater Manchester and is competitively priced to other brands on the market.

It is also available as a soil conditioner and loose in bulk.  For more information, please email Cliff Norton cnorton@viridor.co.uk

Here is a photo of tulips flourishing in ‘Revive’ compost which were planted in early January as bulbs.  They survived the unpredictable weather and all rose to look splendid.  I am about to buy more ‘Revive’ to continue the great look and feel of the garden for neighbours and passers-by to appreciate just as much as I do.  So, lets be ‘loyal to our soil’ – use compost.Tulips

‘Great Expectations’ Event – an amazing success

8 Apr

Emmaus Mossley which is a second hand superstore opened its doors to its first ever evening event. The theme of the evening was based on the Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘Great Expectations’; a great collection of items on sale included vintage fashion and furniture. An auction also took place to raise money for charity. Emmaus Mossley is one of 24 Emmaus communities in the UKEmmaus Invite

The charity based in Queen Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne supports people who have experienced homelessness by providing them with a home and meaningful work in a community setting. Each Emmaus community has at least one shop or social enterprise, with many running successful cafés, shops, gardening projects and removal companies.

Staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare for the event to create unique displays of second-hand clothes, designer furniture, antiques and other unusual goods that were donated.

Emmaus Mossley furniture05sThe event was well attended and Hazel Hodkinson, (shop manager) at Emmaus Mossley, said: “The event was a great success and it was nice seeing so many new faces visiting us. We wanted to host an evening event for some time so I was delighted with the effort the team put into making it happen. We’ll definitely look to do another one in the future.”

GreatExp3 (2) main areaEmmaus Mossley also works in partnership with Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) as one of eleven Furniture Re-use organisations. Tameside residents when visiting the recycling centre at Bayley Street, Tameside have the opportunity to donate their unwanted furniture (which is still in good condition). Since December 2011, Tameside has donated an impressive 1,764 items of furniture (26,799kg) back into the local community via this scheme.

To support Emmaus or to donate an item, please feel free to visit us at our shop or for more information see our web site.

Let’s have a ‘Cracking, Egg-citing’ Easter

26 Mar

Easter will soon be here, are you looking forward to a long weekend?  It’s a time to get together with friends and family to celebrate…….enjoy the sunshine.

The majority of people may have bought their Easter eggs already, as they were on display in shops and supermarkets just after Christmas.  How many people have resisted the temptation of eating them?  It may be a safer option to wait until a few days before Easter to buy them and who knows, you may even bag a bargain.

When choosing which Easter egg to buy, do you consider the cost (expensive must taste good) or are you lured by the big fancy packaging; it must taste nice and the person receiving it will be impressed?  Why not ditch the egg-stras, go for less packaging, save some money and hopefully the chocolate will still be of good quality and up to the taste-good standard.

Manufacturers are decreasing the amount of packaging used for Easter eggs, maybe even using recPaper and card binycled material. Remember, once the eggs have been eaten, the cardboard packaging can be recycled in your recycling bin.

In Britain each year we throw away over 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes and the Easter holidays are no exception.  Think and plan ahead, buy only what you need and think about the number of guests you are entertaining; its always good to think number of portions required.

You may have bought eggs that have been freshly laid to make your own Easter cakes so remember to use the older eggs first before the ‘best before date’.  If you are having guests staying over, why not treat them to eggs for breakfast – scrambled, poached, omelette, boiled, fried……..yummy!  If the ‘best before date’ has come and gone on the eggs, test them to see if they are off before you decide whether to put them in your food and garden bin.  We throw away over 1 million eggs a day in the UK, so think before binning, make the most of the eggs.

Over the Easter weekend, entertaining the children is a must…. some ideas for you:-

eggs with faces_blog

Once the children have tired themselves out and become hungry, a meal prepared using the food you already have in your kitchen or leftovers will go down a treat with everyone.  Here are some top tips from LFHW for Easter to help make the most of any food we buy at this time of year.

In the evening, if you want to carry on with the fun, why not play a traditional Easter game – the egg dance!  You dance around eggs that are laid on the ground instead of a handbag (that’s definitely one for outdoors).

There are lots going on in and around Greater Manchester to get involved in over the Easter weekend.  Enjoy, relax and most of all, reduce the amount of waste we produce.

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?



Creating a community orchard with Revive compost

16 May

Our campaign officer Phillippa, is a dedicated ‘allotmenteer ‘ and has been using Revive compost on a community orchard and fruit garden at Albemarle allotments.

allot path

Albemarle Allotments

I have had allotments in various cities for many years and for the last 8 years, a plot at Albemarle allotments in south Manchester.  Albemarle is a hidden gem, squeezed between the new metro line and the Old Moat estate, where there are approximately 100 plots and over 100 members.

Composting on site

A fundamental part of having an allotment is composting! You just have to do it, if only to keep your weeds in check.  All plot holders are encouraged to compost on their plot and we even have a communal composting bay that provides free compost for all to use. If you decide to use the communal compost, there tends to be a lot of perennial weed seeds and roots so ideally it needs to be sieved before use. The communal compost was used on the raised beds and now on our community orchard.

Creating our community orchard and fruit garden

Last year one of the plot holders changed plots because she found that her low growing crops were getting too little light, due to being near the wooded metro siding. As a result, the Committee decided to donate this plot to develop a community orchard and fruit garden to be enjoyed by members and the public, even if it only to pick and eat the fruit.

I love the idea of getting more non-gardeners involved on our allotments, as sometimes allotment holders can get a bit precious about their boundaries! I volunteered to get the project moving, my philosophy being ‘ how hard can it be?’ A kind fellow plot holder offered to pick up some apple trees while she was at the Marple potato seed day in February and I also bought four pear trees (at a discount bargain shop for £5 each).

Allot stage 1 a web size

Starting to plant fruit trees in the community orchard

It took longer than expected to clear the land, but we managed to start preparing the soil for planting in early March. As the plot had been full of weeds for more than half the year, we knew that we would have to add fertiliser to  the soil to ensure that the trees took. It was a perfect opportunity to try out Revive compost as a soil conditioner.

As well as digging it in over the entire orchard area (200 square yards or 167 metres squared), we put a few spadesfuls of Revive into each hole before we planted the trees, with the hope that this would give them a good start.

JJB and revive

Using a spadesful of Revive for each tree

I must admit, the Revive compost looked good – dark, crumbly and rich. I was impressed by the fact that it did not smell like my garden and food bin at home (after all this is what Revive compost started out as!) I noticed that there were bigger pieces of organic material in the Revive compost compared to our homemade compost (but then again, my compost has taken over 12 months to develop) whereas Revive is made in an In-Vessel Composting facility in Greater Manchester in just 6 weeks!

Whilst at the allotment yesterday evening I noticed that the orchard is now in blossom. For the first year or so, we won’t allow any fruit to grow because we want the trees’ energy to go into roots, not fruit development.

apple blossom web size

Apple blossom in the orchard


There has been growing interest and enthusiasm from other plot holders who want to get involved. They have donated redcurrant, raspberry and blackcurrant plants and even a small hazel sapling! All have now been planted using a mixture of  compost from our communal compost bins and Revive.




With a bit luck and good weather we will have a small, but welcomed soft fruit harvest this summer. Ideally the orchard and fruit garden will become a focal point for the allotment community; a place to come together and a feature at future open days.

Planting the soft fruit bed

Planting the soft fruit bed


My top 10 ever favourite foods and money saving tips

25 Apr

Emma Marsh from Love Food Hate Waste  shares her handy money saving tips.

So one weekend I was out in the sun digging the brussel sprout patch ready for sweetcorn this year and my mind started to wander. What were my favourite tips for not wasting food? What actually made a difference to me personally?

So I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Lettuce – even if I pick it from the allotment it will still wilt on me at home. So keeping it in a tupperware pot or loosely tied bag with a piece of kitchen roll works for me. The pot works best as it means the rest of the veg doesn’t squash it to a slimy mess!

LFHW blog  Lettuce image2. Apples and oranges in fridge – what a revelation. It used to be that all fruit went in the fruit bowl but then I saw the research so thought I’d have a go. They always went wrinkly or mouldy – I always thought it was because there just wasn’t enough life in them when I bought the fruit rather than it being something I did. But it really was me. Now I keep them in the fridge they last weeks!

3. Making a list and forcing myself to stick to it. I got round the fact that I was rubbish at making lists by asking my husband to do it. That worked. But then I didn’t stick to it. So now I force myself to. No gimmicks, no tricks, just sheer willpower. And it’s not that hard…

4. Not shopping when hungry. I always shopped after work which meant I was so hungry and so bought, what felt like, everything in the shop, and usually everything unhealthy in the shop! Not shopping when I’m hungry means I actually stick to the list!

5. Shopping online. So this year we’re trying it out and it’s working better than I hoped. I’ve stuck an on-going list in the kitchen so that I’m not tempted to just order the same thing each week and it’s really stopped my impulse buying. I also have more time to think about planning my meals whilst I’m sat at the computer rather than sitting in traffic. Unless anything changes this will be the way I shop from now on.

LFHW blog storage

6. Buying good tupperware. I used to use leftover washed out cream and marg pots and then got deflated when the lids popped off in the freezer and frosted my meals so they tasted a bit icky! So for Christmas I actually asked for a good set of plastic freezer pots in a range of sizes. Not the most exciting gift to open on the day I grant you but now…well no frosted meals and loads of perfect homemade ready meals when I want them.

7. Using leftover and forgotten foods recipes from LFHW App and website – there really are some fab meals on here and on the App. Whenever I’m lacking inspiration I get out my phone and get some ideas.

8. Bag clips. How good are they? In desperate times I use washing pegs but bag clips are great. No more spilt pasta at the back of the cupboard, big bags of crisps that stay crunchy, bags of peas that don’t spill out on the floor….

9. Organising my fridge. I’ve adopted a “first in first out” system in the fridge and cupboards. Older foods go in front so I use them more quickly, and store newer, fresher ones in back.

LFHW blog food image 10. and finally I label everything! I use big labels specially made for freezers for get rid of the problem of mystery leftovers and unidentified frozen objects. I also add an ‘opened on’ date to juice and milk so that others in the house don’t assume it’s been open for weeks and throw it. If there’s a display-until date I scrub it out as it’s of no value to me and often will for best before. I just leave the use-by as that’s the one that frankly I don’t want to mess with.
So that’s it. Hope it is helpful.


Sew Inspired!

17 Apr

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

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

Textile waste in the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deborah Buotty and tailor dummy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s just some Facebook feedback:

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

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

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

Up-cycled Easter Bonnets at Junkshop

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

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



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers