Tag Archives: community

Recycle Week – lets recycle more from around the house and see what our recycling can be made into!

22 Jun

Recycle Week 2015 is here again and this year the focus is on recycling around the home. The idea is to get us thinking about all the items we can recycle from around the home that we might not previously have thought of recycling. Most of us recycle just about everything we can from our kitchens such as glass jars, bottles, food cans, drink cans, tin foil, cereal boxes etc.  If we stop and think, could we recycle that bit more if we looked at what we have in other rooms in the house? How about the bedroom for example, tissue boxes, magazines, deodorant bottles and clothing.  Or in the bathroom for those shampoo bottles, face cream jars, cardboard toilet roll tubes and toothpaste boxes. If we do that bit extra during Recycle Week who knows; maybe we will get into the habit of recycling more.

At Recycle for Greater Manchester we want to say WELL DONE to the residents who live in Bury, Bolton, Tameside, Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Trafford as they have managed to recycle over 50,000 tonnes of glass, steel and aluminum cans and plastics bottles over the last year!

  • 37,625 tonnes of glass – this could be recycled into over 500,000 wine bottles
  • 6,331 tonnes of steel cans, that is about the same weight as around 4, 500 cars! and 1,569 tonnes of aluminium cans and foil which is 100% recyclable and,
  • 6,260 tonnes of plastic bottles which could end up as clothing, plastic lumber or more bottles.

The mixed recycling (steel cans, glass bottles / jars, aluminium cans / foil, plastic bottles) that you put in your recycling bin at home, ends up at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Sharston near Wythenshawe, Manchester.  The amazing machines used (magnets, breaker screens, lasers, air jets and eddy current separators) are able to sort and separate the recycling ready to be turned into brilliant new products (if you want to see this sorting process in action come along to one of our open days or book a community or school visit ).

This is all good stuff but what happens to all the recycling once it is sorted and separated?  Whilst many of the cans we recycle, end up as new cans back on the shelves in just 6 weeks; some of them come back as car parts, aeroplane wings and much more…. such as a high performance car.  The Audi A8 contains 520kg of recycled aluminium that’s almost 35,000 cans.

Old glass bottles and jars can be made into new ones but we can even insulate our lofts.  Why not watch this video to see how.

And as for plastic bottles, they could end up as part of a car too.  The new Range Rover uses 33.9kg of recycled plastic, the equivalent of around 2700 plastic bottles. We know that plastic bottles can be recycled into fabric too.  On average each of the 2014 England World Cup team’s kits contained 18 plastic bottles.  We have also found these really funky and useful storage bags made from plastic bottles.

funky bags from plastic bottles

funky bags from plastic bottles

And to top it all, we are really happy that one jeans manufacturer is doing its bit to improve our world in collaboration with Pharrell Williams this company is using plastic recovered from the sea to create this fantastic clothing line.

Why not try to recycle more from around the home for Recycle Week and remember recycling is happiness and happiness is important! To find out how to recycle more from around your home during Recycle Week 22-28th June, visit www.recyclenow.com

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.