Students from a specialist learning college in St Helens have opened their own café and reuse shop to help the local community reduce, reuse and recycle more.

The Not Too Shabby project is the vision of LEAP Specialist College in Newton-le-Willows, which has received £8000 from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund 2022/23 to reduce household waste, increase recycling and encourage resource reuse.

LEAP (Lakeside Early Adulthood Provision) specialises in providing an autism learning environment for 19-to-25-year-olds. The environmental project has seen the students set up the café and shop at the Lyme and Wood Learning Hub on Vista Road in Newton-le-Willows which, as well as being a place for local people to enjoy, is a space for students to learn and develop news skills.

The café serves hot and cold drinks and snacks, all of which are catered by the LEAP students. Amongst a host of things, the shop sells reused and repurposed clothes, books, paint, art and general bric-a-brac.

Teacher and project lead at LEAP Lauren Molyneux said: “The project is all about promoting more sustainable ways of living and for students to learn vocational skills in sectors like woodwork, horticulture, retail and hospitality.

“The shop sells pre-loved items such clothing, footwear and products handcrafted from materials, for example reclaimed timber and textiles. It is also an official stockist of ReColour paint – a chalk paint made from recycled emulsion. Our furniture rescue scheme allows customers to select a piece of furniture to be upcycled using any of the colours from the ReColour range, as well as any other tweaks they wish to be made.”

The project began in June and as well as giving LEAP students invaluable training and life skills, organisers are also hoping to prevent up to four tonnes of material from going to waste, including furniture, clothes, food and garden clippings.

Lauren Molyneux continued: “We are using the funding to deliver a series of tailored and practical face-to-face workshops and virtual tutorials. These will help establish industry specific skills that will support our young adults as they transition from further education to vocational pathways, apprenticeships, employment or higher education. We’re able to offer hands-on training in a variety of employment industries so that students within LEAP can support the project around their own interests and goals and gain valuable experience, thereby readying them for their next steps in life.”

Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, Councillor Tony Concepcion, said: “This has been a great project as it has targeted a variety of materials which we know can be used again and not wasted. The Community Fund is great at reaching people we wouldn’t normally be able to, raising awareness of waste issues, giving these students the knowledge and skills to help use Earth’s resources sustainably.”

If you would like to contact the project:

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A Wirral project has received funding to transform overgrown church grounds into an eco-garden – with the help of enthusiastic schoolchildren and green fingered volunteers.

St Mary’s Church in Liscard has been given £8,000 from the 2022/23 Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund to transform the space which will now host fruit & vegetable growing, wildflower planting, composting, and a kids’ gardening club.

The Church, on Manor Lane, is working with Liscard Primary School, Wirral Environmental Network and Faiths4Change to deliver the project.

Project coordinator, Ruth Williams, said: “The church is in a deprived area where green spaces are a precious commodity and few people have a garden, and we felt it was a much-needed resource for the community to be able to use. Our volunteers – who range from young children to our over-55s gardening group – have helped to develop the one-acre site, two thirds of which was overgrown with brambles and nettles and totally unusable.

“Last month a fabulous group of volunteers helped us to clear the last mountain of brambles behind the church. The transformation is unbelievable!”

As well as providing the green space and activities, organisers are also aiming to recycle or reuse over three tonnes of materials, including old wooden pallets for making vegetable planters and benches, reclaimed bricks and sandstone for ground edging, and using climbing ropes for bordering the wildflower area. In all, the project is looking to involve almost 600 local people and will deliver:

• Weekly community gardening club sessions to develop the Eco Garden
• Regular training sessions to improve skills in gardening, cooking and upcycling
• Children’s gardening club sessions in school holidays and half-term
• A weekly after-school club for local families with recycled craft activities, planting and watering
• Regular environmental and planting activity sessions for the Eco Rangers and classes from Liscard Primary School
• Wellbeing and gardening sessions for local Life Skills courses
• Regular sales of pre-loved toys and clothes

Ruth Williams continued: “At St Mary’s we are using the funding to create positive experiences of community and belonging, and we want to do it sustainably and organically. We are demonstrating and encouraging the love of nature and the joy of growing real food from scratch, and not just buying it in a tin or a packet, which we’ve found to be life-changing for many people who attend.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “We’re astonished at the effort and enthusiasm everyone involved has put into this project. It’s providing a community green space and outdoor activities, as well as recycling and reusing materials that might have otherwise gone to waste. They are giving up their own time to make a real difference to the community they live in. I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in this brilliant project.”

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It’s so far sew good for a Liverpool laundrette looking to cut the amount of clothes and textiles going to waste across the city.

The ‘Textiles RRR’ project has been conceived by Kitty’s Laundrette, the community launderette and social space in Everton, which has received £8000 from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority Community Fund 2022/23 to help raise awareness of and reduce clothes and textiles waste.

As part of Textiles RRR, Kitty’s Laundrette will be hosting community clothes-swapping events, textiles mending and craft workshops, and textiles repurposing training, as well as setting up an unwanted-textiles redistribution network. In all, there will be 52 activities for local people to learn new skills which will help them to rescue and repair old textiles.

Kitty’s Laundrette Project Lead Anthony Scott said: “With this project we want to address all aspects of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling textiles and feel that our space of a community launderette is a great place to be having those conversations and running activities.

“We’ve got all sorts of events to help us engage and encourage people to think about the environmental impact of clothing and textile waste. We’re hosting clothes swap events, sewing and clothes mending workshops, and introducing a permanent unwanted-clothes drop off point at the launderette. We’re holding natural dying workshops to enable participants to give their old clothes a new life. And last but not least we’re putting on craft workshops for reused and recycled materials, which are primarily for children and families.”

According to a recent analysis*, around 5% of household bins on Merseyside contained textiles such as clothes and shoes. By the end of the project in March 2023, Kitty’s Laundrette hope they will have saved around three tonnes of textiles from going to waste.

Inspired by Kitty Wilkinson, the founder of the wash house movement in the 1800’s and who opened the UK’s first launderette on Upper Frederick Street in Liverpool, today Kitty’s Laundrette serves the community by offering washing services, running events and being a welcoming space for people whilst their clothes spin in a sustainable wash.

Grace Harrison, the Development Coordinator at Kitty’s, said: “At the heart of our project is education – helping raise the skills and confidence of our local community to think about environmental concerns. We know that information about climate change and the need to change waste behaviours can be daunting for people to know where to start.

“Our approach will support people through small steps, making things easy and accessible to everyone and sharing positive stories of how this works.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, said: “Every year thousands of tonnes of used clothing goes to waste when there is no need for any clothing or textiles to end up in a bin. Projects like this one address this issue, keeping materials in the circular economy, and helping inspire and influence people to make small conscious changes to reduce the impact of clothes on the environment. We wish Kitty’s Laundrette and all the partners involved the best of luck!”

If you are interested in attending one of the training sessions or swap events, please get in touch with Kitty’s Laundrette via:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kittyslaunderette/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kittyslaundry/ 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kittyslaundry/

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • *Statistic from Merseyside and Halton Waste Composition Analysis 2021/22
  • Picture captions: Tie-Dye workshop with Buy by Bethan at Kitty’s Laundrette, Saturday 1st October 2022
  • Project RRR is being delivered by Kitty’s Laundrette, in partnership with Stitched Up UK, Small Steps Liverpool, Metal Liverpool, Fashion Revolution, Luxe Laundry NW and Sewfab Academy
  • The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2022/23 has seen 16 community groups from Merseyside and Halton receive a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place. The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions. Funding total is £164,999.38
  • Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.
  • MRWA operates (via a contract with resource management company Veolia) 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC’s) for householders in the Merseyside area wishing to recycle and dispose of their own waste.

The Waste Warriors programme is coming to Merseyside, with the aim of reducing food waste across the region. The programme will be run by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) thanks to a £20,000 investment from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 2022-2023.

 

With the UK on average throwing away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food and drink each year, it’s crucial that the UK gets this under control. The numbers equate to 244 kilograms per household, excluding inedible parts, or £730 per average household with children, ending up in the bin! Wasting food creates carbon, which contributes to Climate Change.

 

As well as the environmental benefits, reducing food waste can also have a positive impact on household budgets and will help to reduce the cost of living, by buying less and making the best use of the food available.

 

The Waste Warriors programme, which is run by the BDA’s Let’s Get Cooking initiative, helps households reduce their waste via tips and skills to turn the most wasted food into something tasty. This is supported by the development of a new community composting scheme for household waste and support for people wanting to grow their own fruit and veg.

 

Let’s Get Cooking has been providing expert advice on waste reduction through its education programmes across Merseyside for more than three years. This year, with the additional funding, it’s getting even more practical with Waste Warriors.

 

Suzanne Mitchell, Let’s Get Cooking Lead says, “The opportunity to support a local community in such a circular way is a really powerful idea. We hope to inspire households struggling with the current cost of living to think about new ways to save money by reducing the amount of food they throw away and growing their own produce using a community garden. The waste reduction equates to 1.82 tonnes CO2 for the local area.”

 

300 Let’s Get Merseyside Saving packs will be distributed to households in Merseyside and Halton, and to participants taking part in community cooking sessions in the local network of Let’s Get Cooking clubs. The packs will support them reduce the amount of wasted food, have fun cooking the recipes and enjoy eating the meals.

 

Carl Beer, Chief Executive, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority says, “MRWA is delighted to support the project and the production of this activity pack. The facts show that on average we throw away over 134,000 tonnes of food every year on Merseyside – that’s almost a third of the average general household waste bin. That includes millions of loaves of bread and litres of milk. The figures may be surprising, but by using this pack and using up leftovers people can help to reduce this waste and save money.”

 

The local Let’s Get Cooking clubs will also receive additional funding from the project to deliver 50 local cooking and food events this Autumn, impacting approximately 3000 beneficiaries.

 

In partnership with Compost Works, a Liverpool-based social enterprise with the mission of diverting food from being wasted, the project will also offer a community composting facility in Liverpool, once a suitable site has been identified. This will support and inspire people in the region to collect peelings, tea bags, egg shells and uncooked produce, as well as brown waste like paper. These can be brought to a central point in the community, providing a local source of compost for other growing projects.

 

Preventing food waste has the same benefit to the environment as taking 1 in 5 cars off the road – so with current concerns around inflation on food prices, helping households make the most of their shopping, while also supporting community growing, is a definite win for the people of Merseyside.

 

The programme is being launched to local residents from October 2022. Follow @BDAGetCooking for more updates.

 

Find out more about Let’s Get Cooking here: https://letsgetcooking.org.uk/

 

ENDS

A new advertising campaign reminding people of what they can and should recycle, and why it matters, has launched across the Liverpool City Region.

Recycling Matters campaign adverts will be appearing on buses, trains, train stations and digital outdoor displays, as well as on local radio and on social media from September through to February.

The advertising is part of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority’s Recycle Right campaign which was launched in 2018 to help increase awareness of recycling issues. This includes letting people know what can be recycled where, preventing bagged waste and unwanted materials being put into recycling bins, and highlighting what options people have when it comes to recycling and managing their household waste.

Carl Beer, Chief Executive at Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA), said: “Recycle Right was launched to help highlight recycling options that people have and ultimately increase the region’s recycling rate. The campaign and all the messaging is a reminder to everyone about what they can recycle and where they can recycle it.

“A lot of us do the right things most of the time, but with the region’s recycling level at 35% there is more we can all do.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “To put it simply, we need more people to recycle more things more often. Hopefully residents will see or hear these messages and taken them on board. We will continue to push recycling messages because managing materials and resources sustainably is key in the fight against climate change and having a local environment we can all be proud of.”

ENDS

Sixteen community groups have been awarded a share of £165,000 to help the Liverpool City Region reduce, reuse and recycle more.

The money has come from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund 22/23 which helps to support local waste prevention, re-use and recycling initiatives.

The sixteen organisations had to bid for the funding which will give them the financial resources to deliver waste-reducing behavioural change projects across the region.

Programmes include cookery lessons to reduce food waste, sewing classes and clothes repair clubs, upcycling and restoration of unwanted furniture and community composting, amongst other things.

Project applications had to tackle one or more of the four priority household waste materials which have been identified by MRWA as key, namely Food, Plastics, Textiles and Furniture. An analysis of waste in the Liverpool City Region highlighted that a greater amount of these materials could be reused or recycled. Projects can also include other household waste materials, for example paper, card and metals.

Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), Councillor Tony Concepcion, said: “There are a lot of communities understandably concerned about climate change and sustainable living. Our Community Fund – which has been running since 2006 – gives groups the opportunity to look after the environment, bringing benefits to all of us. I think in this day and age people appreciate items as valuable resources rather than something which might be just thrown away.

“Projects we have previously funded continue to deliver benefits beyond the first year, through their legacy and an ongoing impact on participants’ behaviour, and in many cases through new or continuing activities.

“I wish all our projects the best and look forward to seeing the impact they have.”

One organisation to receive funding is Farm Urban, who deliver education and innovative solutions to sustainable food growing in communities. Their Future Food Heroes project received £19,580 from the Community Fund 2021/22 to work with primary schools across the city region, teaching pupils about sustainable food growing and food waste, while setting up a food ecosystem in each class. They have been successful in clinching funding for 2022/23.

Paul Myers, Managing Director of Farm Urban, said: “Our previous project was all about getting pupils to engage with the problem of food waste and providing resources to help them develop their own solutions. This next stage is the evolution of that project and will continue spreading knowledge and messages through schools on how to combat food waste – we’re looking forward to getting started!”

The successful organisations have got until March 2023 to deliver their projects.

Video  – round up of MRWA & Veolia Community Fund 2021/22:

END

Note to editors

  • Image captions for previous Farm Urban Community Fund project, April 2022:

MRWA_FARM_2022A – (left to right) Paul Myers (Farm Urban) and Nikita Allt (Year 5 teacher, Smithdown Primary School) with pupils.

MRWA_FARM_2022B – Pupils at Smithdown Road Primary School, Liverpool

  • *The successful projects:

Love Wavertree – ReLoved Textiles, Love Wavertree will feature clothes sewing training sessions and community swapping events.

Bay Tree Cookery Academy CIC – Cook And Save will try to cut food waste with 18×2-day cookery/training courses.

Porchfield Community Association – Porchfield Community Association is a clothes and food waste project which will offer 3×10-week sewing training courses and 3×5-week cookery courses.

Liverpool Community Launderette Ltd/Kittys Launderette – Textile RRR at Kitty’s is a clothes waste project that will run mending and repurposing workshops, community clothes swapping events as well as setting up an unwanted-clothes redistribution network.

St Marys Church – St Marys Eco Garden will see improvements to the church outdoor area to support a ‘grow your own’ initiative, cooking and growing training, and activity sessions for primary schoolchildren.

Liverpool World Centre – The Great Clothes Swap: Fast Fashion And Individual Behaviour Change. This project will be promoted through 350 schools, host a teacher conference for 10 schools and four pupil U.N.-style conferences for 40 schools as well as supporting school ‘Great Swap’ clothes days.

Centre 63 – Remake Yourself Hub. The Kirkby-based project will hold swap days, litter picks, community walks, youth sessions as well as food waste and reduce/reuse/repairs sessions.

Farm Urban – Future Food Heroes 2.0. The next stage of the Future Food Heroes project will hold seven community events and 72 training sessions with six primary schools, as well as six celebration events and a regional finale at Farm Urban.

Wargrave House College – Not Too Shabby @ The Lyme@ Wood Learning Hub. This multi-material project will host workshops on food, furniture, textiles, wood and metals.

Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire And Merseyside – Build Me Up, Fix Me Up. Another multi-material project which will host 20 workshops for textiles and furniture repair.

Knowsley Foodbank – Chloe Cooks. Knowsley Foodbank will hold 40 food/cookery training sessions to five groups over eight weeks.

Compost Works – Share Food And Compost The Rest will deliver 12 training sessions and 40 weekly support sessions for composting.

Mencap Liverpool And Sefton – Fix Up Look Sharp are looking to host ten litter pics, ten fix up fairs and 12 make do and mend, 12 artful artisan and 12 furniture upcycling workshops.

British Dietetic Association – Waste Warriors. The BDA is going to recruit 15 people from ten community cooking clubs to deliver 75 food waste cookery classes.

Croxteth And Gillmoss Community Federation – Croxteth Recycling. This clothes-upcycling scheme will hold 40 weekly sessions and one end-of-project community showcase.

Bootle Tool Shed – The Restoration Project. Bootle Tool Shed will be looking to rescue unwanted furniture with 40 upcycling/repair/refurbishment sessions.

  • Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.
  • MRWA operates (via a contract with resource management company Veolia) 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC’s) for householders in the Merseyside area wishing to recycle and dispose of their own waste.
  • The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2022/23 has seen 16 community groups from Merseyside and Halton receive a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place. The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions. Funding total is £164,999.38

Members of the media for more information please contact:

John Lally | Communications and Development Officer | 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

Office: 0151 255 2568 | Email: john.lally@merseysidewda.gov.uk

The 2022 Kirkby Neighbourhood Community Fund – a £50,000 community fund for projects in and around Kirkby – opens for applications on 06 June 2022. The Fund provides £50,000 each year for community groups, charities and projects operating in Northwood, Cherryfield, Shevington, Whitefield and Prescot North (Knowsley Village).

Community groups developing community, health and wellbeing and environmental projects closest to the Knowsley Rail Transfer Loading Station in Kirkby are eligible to apply for grants of anything between £1,000 and £20,000. Applications need to be in by 22 July 2022 and the winners will be announced in the autumn.

The Fund was set up as part of the agreement with Merseyside Energy Recovery Limited (MERL) who have been appointed by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) to treat residual waste from across Merseyside and Halton. SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ) is both one of the shareholders in MERL and the operator of the Rail Transfer Loading Station. Both MERL and SUEZ recognise that they have an important part to play in the local community and this Fund helps to fulfil their responsibilities as a good neighbour.

Last year, eight community groups were successful in applying for funds. These were:

Incredible Edibles Knowsley, who received £9,000 for a community food project
Pingwood Arts and Crafts Group, who received £5,000 to support the group in continuing to tackle social isolation
Prospective Theatre Company, who received £4,500 to devise, produce and present contemporary drama performances
Care Merseyside, who received £5,000 for their social prescribing online classes
Centre 63, who received £10,000 for their ‘Remake Yourself’ project
Tower Hill Amateur Boxing Club, who received £10,000 for their Healthy Communities Project
CELLS, who received £4,500 for their Mums Matter project
Southdene Community Association, who received £8,000 to continue their work

As COVID 19 restrictions precluded us holding a cheque presentation event last year for the successful groups a special video was produced to celebrate their achievements. You can view it on Facebook here: https://fb.watch/9JGuiX3mFy/

Victoria Crabtree, SUEZ’s Regional Manager, said: ‘I’m delighted to announce that the 2022 Kirkby Neighbourhood Community Fund is open for applications. I am new to the region and have been impressed with the range of projects we funded last year, hopefully the variety and quality of these projects will inspire others to come forward. If you have a great idea that could benefit your community, please apply.’

Further details about the fund, including application forms and application guidance notes, can be found at: www.suezmerseyside.co.uk/kirkbyfund.

Also, we welcome all community and residents’ groups from across Merseyside and Halton to come and discover first-hand what happens to their residual waste at the Knowsley Rail Transfer Loading Station Visitor Centre in Kirkby. To find out more, visit www.suezmerseyside.co.uk.

It is estimated that a campaign designed to help boost recycling across the Liverpool City Region has been seen over a million times.

Launched in October 2021 and run through into March 2022, Recycle Right adverts reminding people of what they can and should recycle have appeared throughout Liverpool City Region on buses, local radio and newspapers, outdoor telephone kiosks and digital outdoor displays, ASDA supermarkets, and on social media. It is estimated that the adverts have been seen and heard well over a million times*.

The advertising is part of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority’s Recycle Right campaign which was launched in 2018 to help increase awareness of recycling issues. This includes letting people know what can be recycled where, preventing bagged waste and unwanted materials being put into recycling bins, and highlighting what options people have when it comes to recycling and managing their household waste.

Carl Beer, Chief Executive at Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA), said: “Recycle Right was launched to help highlight recycling options that people have and ultimately increase the region’s recycling rate. The campaign and all the messaging is a reminder to everyone about what they can recycle and where they can recycle it.

“A lot of us do the right things most of the time, but with the region’s recycling level at 35% there is more we can all do.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “We want more people to recycle more things more often. Hopefully residents have seen or heard these messages and taken them on board. Of course, we realise that not everyone will have come across an advert, and even if they have it won’t have changed everyone’s behaviour. However, we will continue to push recycling messages because managing materials and resources sustainably is key in the fight against climate change and having a local environment we can all be proud of.”

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Notes for editors

Image captions:

MRWA_RECYCLERIGHT_FEB 2022A & MRWA_RECYCLERIGHT_FEB 2022B – Recycle Right artwork at Liverpool Central train station, February 2022
MRWA_RECYCLERIGHT_MAY 2022 – Left to right- MRWA Development Manager Rebecca Haynes-McCoy, and MRWA Education and Campaigns Officer Danni Millar

* Campaign 1 (Oct to Nov 2021):
• RADIO ADVERT / DIGITAL INSTREAM: An advert to reach 548,000 people, who are estimated to hear the advert 13 times each either in real time on the radio or when listening online via a streaming service
• DIGITAL STREETHUBS: digital advert with 512,000 Impacts
• BUS REARS: poster advert with 1,175,940 Reach
• BUS INTERIORS: poster advert inside buses, with 889,000 users
• KIOSKS (PHONEBOOTHS): poster adverts, with 2.3 million impacts
• METRO NEWSPAPER: 3 newspaper adverts/advertorials, 39,000 readership per issue

Campaign 2 (Jan to Feb 2022):

• DIGITAL RADIO: 450,000 advert plays over geographically-local digital radio

Campaign 3 (Feb to March 2022):

• DIGITAL ROADSIDE ADVERTS / TRAIN STATION DIGITAL ADVERTS / ASDA DIGITAL SCREENS: 1,770,000 Impacts (no. of times advert seen)
All figures were accurate at the time of the campaign.

Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.

Members of the media for more information please contact:

John Lally | Communications and Development Officer | 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP
Office: 0151 255 2568 | Email: john.lally@merseysidewda.gov.uk

A Zero Hero’s Journey

 What’s it like to adopt a zero waste lifestyle? Karen Martin is Contracts Officer at Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority so knows more than most about how reducing waste is important for the environment. We quizzed Karen on how her journey was coming along, any tips or tricks she’s picked up, and found out that living a zero waste life isn’t always straightforward, but is definitely rewarding.

What made you decide to try living a zero waste lifestyle?

 I decided to try to go for zero waste as a result of seeing the detrimental environmental impacts that waste was having on the planet, and the legacy we were leaving for the younger generations. I think it was kickstarted as I initially decided to go plastic-free, but then one thing led to another and I decided to try and reduce waste wherever possible.

Also, as I work for Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority we promote zero waste/waste minimisation messages to residents, I felt that I ought to get on board and give it a go!

What elements of the zero waste lifestyle have you adopted? Have these changed as you’ve gained more experience?

 I started by looking at what waste was being produced and what can be reduced and how. I started with packaging – how could I reduce it? One solution was to ditch all the different cleaning products that I had and rather than have something for everything, I went for one all-purpose cleaner. But I also went back to more traditional methods of cleaning such as using vinegar/lemons for washing the windows, surfaces etc. I changed from the plastic pods to soap powder (which wouldn’t lead to zero waste, but would really help to reduce it and also reduced the amount of non-recyclable waste). I started shopping differently and only buying fruit and veg loose so no more plastic wrapping (or paper bags even). I also get my meat from the butchers rather than pre-packed in plastic wrapping.

I started to look around for refill options which would again reduce any waste and I could refill reusable containers. I downloaded the Refill app. As a family we stopped buying bottled water and bought a water filter and re-usable drinks containers. I found a business called Refill Reuse Renew, which supplies a range of items such as cleaning products, cosmetics and other household goods that are either disposable or refills and they deliver to your door.

Food was an obvious opportunity to reduce waste. I went through the freezer and made a list of all the items that were in it and what meals could be made. I also stored the items in categories so meat was all together, fish, veg etc, so it was much easier to see at a glance what we had. Likewise with the fridge. When I go shopping I write a list of what we need and so don’t end up coming back home with something we already have. Buying fruit and veg loose also helped me reduce waste as I bought only what I needed for the week rather than multi packs. I started making more use of the freezer, including using it to store bread as I was constantly throwing bread out that had gone mouldy before it could be eaten. Cheese is also good to freeze and I started to blanch veg and freeze it to stop it going to waste. I have even made pickles and jams (which although use glass jars, can be reused when I make another batch).

When it comes to clothes or unwanted items etc I’ll take them to charity shops (and of course, whatever materials can go to a Recycling Centre).

 

I have bought a shredder for garden waste so any of shrubs that are cut back are shredded and used for mulch in the borders. I was always told that tea bags are good for roses so I’m also giving that a go.

I also noticed that Boots introduced a trial recycling service for make-up items that cannot go into the household recycling bins, so I have been using that also.

This is still early days so I’m still learning, but I’ve certainly started thinking about what I’m buying, why and how, to ensure that I can reduce producing waste whenever possible.

What have the main difficulties been? Has anything in particular surprised you?

I think the main difficulty was finding what was out there, where could I find reuse/refill shops, what alternatives there were to plastics, where I can buy unpackaged food. There were not many alternatives to plastic packaging on the market and they were extremely expensive in comparison. It was apparent that there weren’t many options for refill where I lived without travelling distances to get to them (so not having a car would be a real barrier, but then that raises the issue of all that driving!) I spent many hours searching the web to see what the options and advice was out there. When I did find it, I found information confusing and while I was trying to reduce plastics I learned that not all plastics are bad and not all glass is good when it comes to reuse and recycling.

Getting to grips with the different Apps was also a bit frustrating, but I never really used social media so that’s probably why. I signed up to Zero Waste LCR and refill sites for tips and advice.

Have you got any advice for those wishing to follow your footsteps into zero waste?

I think my main advice would be to think what you want to achieve before you start. I don’t think I could ever go completely waste free, I mean I’m not going to stop buying make-up or stop using all packaging so you need to set realistic targets for yourself. Perhaps focus on one waste type at a time (e.g. food) and get that right before you move on to others. I think I tried to do too much too soon and have ended up doing a little bit of everything and feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information and the extent to which I needed to change how I shopped. I could no longer go to one shop for everything, as each one offers a different opportunity to help me achieve my goal.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. This isn’t something that you can achieve straight away – I believe it is a gradual change of life style

Our thanks to Karen for answering questions about adopting a zero waste lifestyle. Any external links in the article are not officially endorsed by MRWA and are for reference and information purposes only.

 May 2022

 

A Liverpool charity has spent the last year on a mission to stop clothes and textiles from being wasted – with the help of local youngsters.

The Recycle, Refashion, Recreate project has been developed by the Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association, which provides breakfast, lunch clubs and other activities for children affected by poverty and deprivation.

The Finch Lane-based Association was awarded a grant of £5,640 by the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority & Veolia Community Fund 2021/22 to help deliver the project which has provided local children and families access to sewing and craft clubs, and re-fashioning classes.

Joanne Kennedy, Community Development & Partnerships Manager at Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association, said: “We know great strides have been taken in recent years to improve recycling habits but there is still a long way to go. Our project has helped to highlight the importance of recycling and the positive impact this will have on the planet for future generations.”

An estimated 20,000 tonnes* of textiles are discarded from households each year in the Liverpool City Region, a lot of which could still be used. It is this behaviour the project is hoping to change and itself will look to stop several tonnes of clothing material from going to waste.

Joanne Kennedy continued: “Our project has been educational, fun and engaging which we believe will lead to environmental improvements in our local area. The Refashioning element of the project has helped to prevent textile waste and bring back to life items of clothing that would have otherwise ended up going to waste.”

Recycle, Refashion, Recreate will be coming to an end this month, and the Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association will have:

– ran two sewing classes for ten people each over six weeks,
– put on ‘refashioning’ classes with a fashion tutor for 10 people over eight weeks,
– engaged with 48 nursery-aged children and 270 schoolchildren to increase their knowledge about textiles and recycling, including a crafts session with local author Jude Lennon
– run 30 Family Sessions
– put on an end-of-project Fashion Show for project participants, friends and family.

Local writer Jude Lennon, author of That’s Our Home, a children’s book about the effects of waste on coastlines, held a crafts class at East Prescot Road Nursey School to help teach pupils about reuse and recycling. She said: “We all need to protect and care for our planet and children can help with this from a very early age. Reading books about the environment and looking after it can be a great starting point for children’s understanding of the world around them.

“Taking rubbish home from a picnic or using re-usable lunch boxes are water bottles are really easy ways for children to be involved. Children can also be brilliant advocates themselves. Whereas adults may not listen to other adults about concerns for the environment, they may listen to children and then do something to help. We all need a greener, healthier planet for future generations to enjoy.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA), said: “Data shows that there are high quantities of textiles like clothes placed in recycling and household waste bins across kerbside collections in the Liverpool City Region. However, textiles shouldn’t go into bins. Instead, Recycling Centres, charities, local bring banks all accept clothes and textiles where they will go on to be recycled or reused.

“Projects like Recycle, Refashion, Recreate can help have a real positive influence to see textiles waste reduced.”

Joanne Kennedy continued: “This project isn’t just about waste, but also about the wellbeing of those who take part. We hope it has helped to bring the community together, reduce loneliness and social isolation as well as bridging the intergenerational divide. Participants are learning a life skill in sewing that we will encourage them to share with family members. This will save money, extend the life of garments and prevent clothing going to waste.

“We want to give young people the confidence to express themselves and give them an opportunity to showcase their work – increasing their confidence and boosting their self-esteem.”

ENDS

Note to editors

  • Image captions – Pupils at East Prescot Road Nursery School during a crafts class with local author Jude Lennon, April 2022. (Photographs taken by Alison Dodd Photography.) Permission granted by parents/guardians.
  • *Data from Merseyside Waste Composition Analysis 2015
  • Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.
  • The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2021/22 has seen 17 community groups from Merseyside and Halton receive a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place. The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions. Funding total is £164,999.38