Tag Archives: reduce

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

Metal Matters

11 Jun

Metal Can In a world where we take many things for granted, such as:- having an iron at the ready to take out creases from our clothes; pans for cooking our food in; ships, trains, aeroplanes and cars to transport people and products from A to B.  All of the above have a common denominator…… yes, it’s metal. Did you know?  In the Uk, 24 million tonnes of aluminium is produced annually, of which a massive 51,000 tonnes ends up as packaging for our drinks, cans, foil trays, tins and aerosols that we use for our daily essentials. Interesting facts about Aluminium:

  • The UK produces over 9 billion drinks cans every year, of which 80% are made of aluminium
  • In a whole year, an individual drinks can could be recycled eight times, saving enough energy to make 160 new cans.

Interesting facts about Steel:

  • Every household uses approximately 600 steel cans a year
  • Over 2.5 billion cans are recycled in the UK each year – equivalent to the weight of 18,000 double decker buses
  • It’s not just food and drink that come in steel cans. Many paint cans, aerosols, biscuit and sweet tins, and bottle tops are also made from steel
  • Recycling seven steel cans saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 26 hours.

The good thing about Metal, is that its 100% recyclable!  It’s important that we all take part in recycling our metals whether we are at home, work or away.


Stockport resident’s mixed recycling bin

Did you know?      

  • Aluminum cans, can be recycled, ready to use and put back on the shelf in just 6 weeks.
  • Just one recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
  • Metallic plastic film that looks like foil, such as chocolate wrappers and crisp packets cannot be recycled. If you are unsure as to whether it is foil or not, do the ‘scrunch test’.  If you squeeze the wrapper in your hand and it stays scrunched up, it is foil and can be recycled.  If it stretches back out, it is plastic and should be put in the general waste bin.
  • Not all metal items can be recycled in your recycling bins at home, i.e garden tools, pots and pans, cutlery empty paint tins, door handles nuts and bolts. These items can be recycled, but we ask that you take them to your local Recycling Centre.

How can we do more? Recent research into household waste collection by monitoring what we put into our recycling containers shows that a large percentage of UK households still don’t recycle enough and many still tend to throw everything that they consider ‘rubbish’ into their general  waste bin. I'm going placesEvery item counts…..when it comes to metal, remember its aluminium drinks cans, steel food cans and not forgetting foil trays, tin foil and empty aerosol cans that can go in the recycling bin. Who knows, the metal can you recycle today could come back as another can, part of your fridge, a new car… or even become part of an aeroplane. If you are a resident in Greater Manchester and not sure what can be recycled at home, there is information available on Recycle for Greater Manchester’s website.

If we recycle our metals, it gives rise to a worthy Reduce, Reuse, Recycle circle.

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.

Spring is in the air..

12 Mar

It’s time for Spring cleaning again, a chance to open your windows and clear away the winter cobwebs! So don’t forget when you clear out your draws and cupboards the garage and the garden shed you can take all of your unwanted items to your local recycling centre. Think how much space you can make in your home and garden!

In Greater Manchester we have a network of 20 recycling centres that provide residents with a wide range of recycling and waste disposal opportunities. You may be surprised with what you can take to the recycling centres. Generally if it is from your house or garden you can bring it along to a recycling centre, where we can recycle it or it can be used for energy recovery.

At your recycling centre you can take a wide range of standard materials for recycling:

HWRC recycling material icons image

Did you know that you can also take a lot more items that you may have otherwise thrown away?

For example:

  • Odd socks, nylon and wool tights or stockings and  underwear as well as clothing and textiles too worn for use, all of these can be put into our textile bank at your local recycling centre.
  • DVDs and CDs with or without cases, books (damaged or not). They can all be put into our media bank where the items will later be sorted for reuse or recycling.
  • Left over paint- we take all paint, gloss and emulsion. Any gloss paint will need to go into the hazardous waste bin – just ask staff on site for help.
  • Did you know that as well as taking your old car oil we can also take your old cooking oil, which is reprocessed in the UK for biofuels?


Smart Apps:

Remember, if you have a smartphone you can download the Recycle for Greater Manchester app which has a ‘find my nearest’ function which lists all our recycling centres, opening times, addresses and postcodes. If you have activated your mobile location function it will also show you a map of how to get there!  Just go to the App Store or Play Store on your mobile device and search for Recycle for Greater Manchester.


Nothing goes to waste!

The good news is, if we cannot recycle it we will use it to create energy from waste.

If you want to know more about what we do with the items you take to your recycling centre visit our website or book to visit one of our FREE open days which run throughout the year.

If we cannot recycle it we will use it to create energy from waste. If you want to know what we do with the items you take to the recycling centre find out more.




Not So Shabby Chic….

10 Oct

Alison, one of our  R4GM Education Officers wanted a new sideboard for her living room and having been inspired by all the TV programmes for upcycling furniture, she was looking for a project. Who would have thought she would find one in her sisters barn!

There it was – sat in my sisters barn, an unwanted pine welsh dresser. I had admired some lovely painted dressers this summer in craft shops, so this seemed like fate.

The first job was to strip it all down-  removing all the old cabinet handles, drawer front pieces and brackets that hold it together to get it ready for sanding.

I bought a palm sander to make life a bit easier but the papers for this were expensive so I decided to buy cheap, coarse grade sand paper and let elbow grease get the main coats of old varnish off. It was quite hard getting round all the curved twiddly bits of carpentry. Then I used the sander to achieve a smoother finish. I even remembered my ear plugs, eye protection and mask to protect myself.

The next stage was to do a couple of coats of primer, sanding down any runs in between coats.

I wanted a contemporary matt type finish so a very helpful lady in my local DIY store helped me decide what type of paint to use. I chose two colours of the recommended eggshell paint.

It felt exciting to finally start the real painting. It was actually very difficult paint to work with; too thin and it didn’t cover properly and too thick and it formed ‘runs’. It was also hard to clean off brushes and skin. I often went out with pale grey and duck egg blue splotches on my face, arms and hands!

The dresser cost me nothing , so I didn’t mind spending a bit of money on some beautiful new, hand painted ceramic handles which I searched for and found online. Took me a while to figure out how to get the handles, front drawer plate and drawers back together but I think they look perfect. Overall, with the  paint and handles, it only costs me about £60. A brand new item of furniture would have cost hundreds.  Over a four week period I put in at least  8 hours of hard but enjoyable ‘labour’ to finally complete the transformation.

It looks much more contemporary and brightens up a dark corner of my living room. I am really happy with it. I feel great to have given an unwanted item of furniture a new lease of life and I learned a lot of DIY skills along the way. Can’t wait for my next project!

If you are inspired by Alison’s fantastic upcycled dresser and interested in trying your hand at upcycling furniture why not consider visiting your nearest furniture reuse shop, where you may find interesting and affordable furniture to personalise and upcycle. Visit our website for your nearest furniture reuse shop.

Share your upcycling projects with us via  Facebook and Twitter 

No such thing as waste!

3 Oct

A few weeks ago Recycle for Greater Manchester had a fantastically popular guest blog from Maker of Things about his upcycled/ recycled wedding. We have since found out that Sue Archer (Mrs Maker of Things) also has some great ideas about reusing and upcycling ‘the things that we everyday folk leave behind’ she tells us about what she is up to…..

I think I got my recycling tendencies from Mum. She has wrapping paper carefully saved for reuse, remnants of fabric handy for sewing projects, a tin of buttons to be sifted through. We kids soaked up the spirit of Blue Peter and made things from toilet roll tubes and margarine tubs.

When I got a job collecting domestic recycling, I couldn’t help saving things that might be useful. To avoid being overrun with stuff, I had to make it into things other people might want. Ideas and materials come thick and fast…

Other people have made belts from bike tyres, but I haven’t seen anyone else use a bike chain link as a rivet. Possibly because it’s a terribly fiddly, time-consuming process, but it’s a great use of even more scrap.

Most tyres yield one belt with a bit left over, and of course I can’t waste that bit, so I make key rings, letting the tread pattern suggest the shape.

With old tyres come old inner tubes. Cut into strips, they can be woven into a funky ‘fabric’ to make handbags. They need a lining to keep little items safe, and I hit upon the idea of using the fabric from broken umbrellas – they come in so many colours and patterns.

In fact it’s a shame to hide those colours and patterns away in a lining, which is why I started making fold-up shopping bags. Thanks to a bit of careful planning, the tag that kept the brolly furled also keeps the bag rolled up.


Unfolded brolly bags

I like it best when I can make something functional from junk, but I make decorative items too. When we found some old alarm cable at work, I noticed that the inner strands had different coloured plastic insulation. Stripped out onto homemade bobbins, they make a great material for jewellery. It was a plait made of this that I made ‘Maker of Things’ engagement ring from! His practical skills have been invaluable, helping me make my ideas work.

My latest project makes use of offcuts from a friend’s robotics project. From a box of jumbled up oddly shaped MDF scraps and some acrylic paint, I’m creating more jewellery. It’s one of the joys of recycling materials – you never know what’s coming next!
We hope you are inspired to upcycle! To find out more about Sue  and also Alfred’s incredible makes – please follow them on Twitter! @Maker_of_Things and @SueArcher6

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!