Resource, Reuse, Reclaim Event
On the evening of the 22rd February, Manchester Climate Change Agency hosted an event at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital Innovation Centre. The event suitably named Resource Reuse Reclaim was held to help shed light on some of the local businesses and projects within Manchester that are based around reducing waste. The evening consisted of several speakers from these businesses speaking admirably about their work and indeed was the audience engaged!
Professor Callum Thomas from MMU took off the evening by highlighting the impacts that waste has on the planet. He then presented a graph which showed the exponential growth on a range of factors due to human activity (population increase, species extinction, average temperature, river erosion), however one factor that was not increasing was resources…instead they are close to running out.
The first speaker was Bryony, the co-founder and Director of Stitched Up. Stitched Up is a non-profit sustainable fashion based brand located in Chorlton which aims to get people to dress in a more creative and sustainable way. They want to help mitigate some of the negative environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry which is shockingly one of the biggest polluters after oil and agriculture! Another shocking fact was that 7 tonnes of clothing is thrown away every 10 minutes in the world and only 14% is reused! Clearly fashion waste is an issue and Stitched Up are here to solve it.
How are they doing this? Stitched Up run a variety of different events and workshops involving the general public including upcycling workshops, garment making, clothes swaps and a monthly repair café located at their HQ in Chorlton
To find out more information about Stitched Up and to get involved visit: www.stitchedup.coop
Next to speak was Hannah, the founder of Uni-cycle. Set up in 2014, Uni-Cycle is a non-profit organisation based in University of Manchester’s Owens Park Campus with the aim to recycle student waste which is discarded or left towards the end of the academic year. The reason? Once the academic year is over, many students throw away good quality and handy items from kitchen utensils to tinned food because they don’t want to take them back home. Once students move out, Hannah and her team go around student halls and collect items that are left behind. Quite a few items were mentioned however one item that shocked the audience was a perfect condition violin!
So, what happens to these abandoned items? They are donated to local charities as well as sold in pop up Uni-Cycle shops where they are given new homes much of which are students.
In the future, Uni-cycle hope to expand and roll out the idea across the UK to over 150 universities that have the same waste problems. They want to not only engage with universities but local charities and also the students themselves.
This project is much needed with the huge student population Manchester has and it will be a great to see it expand and reach other universities! To find out more information, read this article: www.manchesterclimate.com/news/2017/01/uni-cycle
In the UK, 7 million disposable coffee cups are used everyday, however only 1 in 400 are recycled! This is where KeepCup come in. KeepCup, established in Australia and now recognised globally, manufacture reusable coffee cups and have sold over 3 million cups, in turn diverting billions of disposable coffee cups from landfill. Their idea is to eradicate disposable cups and change consumer behaviour from “one time use and recycle, which uses lots of energy in itself, to reuse and reuse!”.
Laura, account manager at KeepCup UK, showed the audience the diversity of KeepCup and the range of styles and personalised cups you can purchase. She also stated the many benefits. One huge consumer benefit and one that many coffee shops are starting to undertake is discounted drinks if a reusable cup is presented in a café. This links to their goal of wanting cafes to have 40% reusables for takeaway coffee and is great incentive for those who regulary buy drinks from a coffee shop!
To find out more information about KeepCup and to purchase your own, visit: www.uk.keepcup.com
Emerge, who was represented by Lucy the founder and CEO, is a non-profit community business who focus on collecting household and business waste to be recycled. The company was set up off the back of a campaign to stop an incinerator being built in East Manchester. This led to them pioneering the idea of going house to house to find recyclable goods that the council hadn’t or couldn’t collect.
They started off in 1996 with one van collecting waste for 50 homes and since then have reached 62000 homes in East Manchester and Trafford collecing waste in a fleet of Uni-Cycle vans. They are now collecting from over 1000 businesses and over 150 schools throughout Manchester. Currently they are looking into innovative ways to run the business more effeciently such as efficient transport and waste audits.
To find out more information about Emerge, visit: www.emergemanchester.co.uk
Overall, this event demonstrated to attendees, who ranged from students to local residents, that small ideas and start-ups can turn into influential organisations that can make a huge impact upon reducing waste. If we all do a small bit towards reducing our waste and learn from the innovative ideas of each of these organisations, we will make positive contribution to the planet. The event was an engaging evening and many of the attendees came away truly educated and inspired. If you were unlucky enough to miss the event, please watch the video below!