Tag Archives: community

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…


Residents make an ‘Alleyway Allotment’ with Revive Compost

4 Apr

Sometimes it just takes a few concerned citizens to make a massive change, so when Recycle for Greater Manchester were approached by members of the Avenues and Alleyways Residents Association in Manchester,  for a donation of Revive compost (a new Viridor product), we were happy to support them in changing their alleyways into a place to enjoy and grow food as a community. 

Rosy Wilding tells us about how they have used Revive compost to transform their alleys and avenues and create a place where local people can come together.

Our streets were a disgusting mess. Over sixty abandoned bins had been strewn over the pavements for years, and fly tipping was the norm with rubbish coming from businesses as far away as Wythenshawe and Urmston. Our 12 alley entrances stank and were full of flies. Two alleys were impassable.

Alleyway before clean up

Rubbish filled alleyway before clean up

So thirty of us in the Haydn & Ruskin Avenue area of Moss Side set to work clearing the mess, finding homes for the bins and making sure everyone had the right bins and knew what to do with them. We wrote a short information sheet for new residents so that they knew what bins they should have. We gave ourselves a name: “Avenues & Alleyways Residents’ Association.”

Alleyway after clear up with new  planters...

Alleyway after clear up with flower tubs…


Once we had cleared all the rubbished and rehomed the bins we then packed out the alleyways with flowers to try and deter the fly tipping and it worked! People would come along with sacks full of rubbish ready to dump it, see the lovely flowers, turn round and go somewhere else, hopefully to find a bin!

We then had the idea of an “allotment in the alley” to bring the community together more and make the most of the wasted (now very clean) space at the back of our houses.

Adactus Housing Association agreed to fund 12 huge planters and Recycle for Greater Manchester kindly donated over a tonne of compost. We approached Recycle for Greater Manchester for compost because we liked the idea of using compost made from our own food and garden waste to grown new flowers and vegetables plants!

Filling allotment planters with Revive compost

Filling allotment planters with Revive compost, reading for planting

Much of our community clean-up had been based around encouraging correct recycling and the neighbours on our streets are now three times more likely now to be using green bins for food waste in comparison to neighbouring ones. It has been fantastic and encouraging to see what becomes of our food waste once we put it into our green bins, this was particularly educational for the many children involved in our project.

We also put up a display in a local adult education centre of a beautiful plant growing in compost next to a photo of rotting food dumped in the alley and ask people what they want to happen to their food waste.

When we opened the Revive compost bag we noticed how odourless and dark it was –all good signs! So far we are growing blackcurrant bushes, raspberries, spinach, herbs, strawberries, peas, carrots, garlic, potatoes, a grape vine and broad beans with more seeds set to go in once the risk of frost has passed. For many neighbours this is the first time they have grown food. There is great anticipation as we wait for the seedlings to poke through. If the enthusiasm spreads, we would like to buy more large containers and increase our allotment.

We have teamed up with a bee conservation charity, Rivers of Flowers and are going to have wild flowers and other bee friendly plants around our alleyway to provide food for the bees in our concrete, urbanised neighbourhood.

We are planning to create a couple of vertical wall herb gardens using pallets we found abandoned nearby. We also offer support and advice to other communities who want to clean and green their environment.  It’s so incredible to see the transformation here. It was so depressing before. Now it is a lovely neighbourhood.

We could not have created our “allotment-in-the-alley” without the incredibly generous gift of all that lovely Revive compost. Thank you Recycle for Greater Manchester!

We will be writing another blog later in the year so you can see how good our alleys and avenues look growing flowers, fruit and vegetables in the summer sunshine!

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


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