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Ho ho ho how to reduce waste this Christmas!

Sorry, that was Christmas cracker standard! It’s Becca again and last week I took part in a great free session offered by Recycle for Greater Manchester which was all about reducing waste over the festive period. Loads of really interesting tips and a virtual tour of the Materials Recovery Facility (where the recycling gets sorted) Here’s some things I learnt……..

  • Don’t put any paper with glitter or metallic foil in the paper bin – it’s not recyclable

  • All the garden waste and food waste we throw into our garden waste bin gets composted and made into soil improver – you can put all types of food waste into your garden bin even if it’s mouldy!

  • The contents of your mixed recycling bin go through a fabulous sorting machine! See how it works here

  • This machine sorts steel cans, glass, plastic bottles and aluminium cans and foil using magnets, hammers, lasers and sieves (seriously though it’s slightly more technical than that but if you sign up for a session then you’ll find out more)

  • Putting the wrong stuff in your mixed recycling bin causes problems (and costs money) so follow a few simple rules. Here’s what’s allowed……..

  • Steel cans (food cans only not paint cans!), aluminium cans and clean aluminium foil (printed foil is also fine, like milk bottle tops) and aerosol cans (deodorant etc)

  • Plastic bottles only (no other plastic is recycled in Greater Manchester and therefore must go in the General Waste bin) – these bottles can be clear or coloured but please rinse them and take off the tops

  • Glass jars and bottles (the glass gets broken as part of the sorting process so it doesn’t matter if it’s broken going into the bin)

  • Any non recyclable waste which goes into the general waste bin gets burnt and turned into energy

So thinking about the festive season the team came up with loads of great ideas on how to reduce waste. Here’s my top 5……….

Fresh Food

Only buy what you need and cut down on packaging by buying loose. Buying your fresh produce from us is already fairly waste free as you can bring all your own bags and containers. It’s easy to buy just what you need so there isn’t loads of food leftover and we will be open over the festive period if you need to restock (see our Christmas opening times here). You could also use some of our festive beeswax wraps to cover food in the fridge.

Christmas Cards

Have you thought about sending less cards or maybe only sending them to people you don’t see regularly? If you do like to send cards then we have some more sustainable cards from 1 Tree Cards – for every card purchased a tree gets planted! We also have lovely cards from a local artist, Sophie Preston, you can pay as you feel and all donations go to FareShare, a charity trying to combat food waste and food poverty.

Gift Wrap

Gift wrap creates lots of waste. So have a think about alternatives. Use old magazines to wrap your presents or perhaps think about one of these lovely sarees. They can be reused over and over and passed amongst friends and family!


Gifts don’t necessarily need to come in lots of packaging. We have plenty of lovely locally sourced and ethically made gifts this year. Gorgeous necklaces made from recycled cotton from Red Spotty Dog, handmade toiletries from local suppliers Olive& and Down to Earth and lots of lovely foodie treats in recycled and recyclable/compostable packaging.

Christmas trees

If you like to have a real tree then we are selling living trees in pots. These can be used year after year and brought in from outside for the Christmas season. We also have cut trees which can be recycled after the festive season. Bury Hospice offer a great scheme where they collect your tree for a charitable donation and it gets recycled. More info here.

And don’t forget we also act as a collection point for some of those hard to recycle items. Collection bins from Terracycle are in the shop and there’s loads of details about the different schemes here.

Huge thanks goes to Alison and Janine from Recycle for Greater Manchester for their great informative session. There’s more about the education sessions they offer here (great for community groups and schools!) If you ‘d like to find out more about Recycle for Greater Manchester then have a look at their website here or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Here’s to a less wasteful festive season!


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