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Spirit of Manchester Story Week 2019 - Day 2

EMERGE - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

EMERGE Recycling is an award-winning social enterprise, formed in 1997 in Manchester. Its name is an acronym of East Manchester Environment and Resources Group Emerge and it operates under its parent charity EMERGE 3Rs, which champions sustainability across all its operations.

Originating as a pressure group which campaigned against a proposal to build an incinerator, EMERGE Recycling has been a pioneering force in the recycling of household waste in Manchester for more than 20 years. After household waste recycling operations were taken over by the city council in 2005, EMERGE moved to a focus on providing waste and recycling services for businesses and organisations.

Currently EMERGE Recycling has around 860 clients within Greater Manchester; offering a bespoke recycling service, depending on the waste materials generated by the organisation. This not only includes materials such as paper, confidential waste, plastics, wood and glass, but also items like white goods, mobile phones and IT equipment; offering secure destruction for the latter to help businesses comply with recent GDPR legislation.

A typical day in EMERGE HQ involves handling queries about waste management and providing helpful guidance and tips about recycling to both the general public and businesses. Their drivers visit around 540 organisations, businesses and schools each week. Residents are also encouraged to drop into EMERGE’s depot to recycle their waste, free of charge. By offering advice, information and educational services within the wider community, EMERGE helps its customers carry out real recycling in our city.

1,700 tonnes of recyclable materials are collected each year by EMERGE; the majority of which is processed in Manchester. Paper for example, is taken to the Northwood Recycling Centre in Disley, Cheshire, and turned into paper products which are then sold in Manchester. This is a key point for the charity: to keep the recycling local in order to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations. EMERGE has a strong environmental and person-centred ethos, based around the 3Rs of sustainable waste management upon which the company was founded: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Although there are relatively few volunteers on the recycling project, the charity has seen volunteers from their other initiatives, such as FareShare Greater Manchester and EMERGE Touch Wood, progressing into paid employment in the EMERGE Recycling Depot.

To find out more information about the charity, you can visit their website.

Healthy Me Healthy Communities - "It’s more than just a shop"

On Tuesday morning, we visited Anson Community Grocers, a volunteer led project based in Anson House in the heart of the estate. Anson House has been providing valuable services for local people for the last 40 years, but three years ago Anson Community Grocers was set up by volunteers with the support of Healthy Me Healthy Communities.

Despite the torrential rain, the shop was full to bursting with customers. After registering to join, for £2.50 per shop you can have your choice of eight items from the larder, chiller cabinet and freezer. Best of all, the fruit and vegetables are free! We spoke to Mark and Georgina who started using the shop two weeks ago. They were both full of enthusiasm for the project and said that it was great when you only had £20 to spend on food to last the week (you can also buy some toiletries at reduced prices). The project buys its food products from Fareshare, but also receives donations from Marks & Spencer and Asda. However, anyone is welcome to donate!

Marie is one of around eight who volunteer in the shop. She said “It’s more than just a shop”. She went on to say that it’s a place for local people to meet, make new friends, as well as buying inexpensive and healthy food.

In these times of austerity, Anson Grocers provides a much needed resource.  Food banks may only be able to provide short term help but for much less than the cost of the goods on offer, such projects as the Community Grocer allow people to shop cheaply week in week out and there is no waste!  Food that may have ended up in landfill is being recycled to the benefit of the local community and Planet Earth.

The Spirit of Manchester is truly alive and well at this wonderful community led project.