Yesterday MCFly caught up with Lucy Danger, head of the environmental charity Emerge Recycling*. She explained some of the ways people can get involved with what’s going on (I’ve made those bits bold!). You can contact them via this form.
Can you quickly tell us what Emerge is up to at the moment?
We’re currently expanding our commercial recycling services. We’re busy in exciting talks with another organisation about how we can work more closely together to do more in the way of professional services, housing associations so that they can really ramp up their environmental performance; in a genuine way, rather than just putting it all in one bin and saying “hey presto some magic will happen, it will all get recycled.”
Other than that, we’re collecting some wood – we’ve been collecting wood from construction sites for about a year and now off the back of that we’re trying to take the wood further up the waste hierarchy. We’re in the process of opening a retail operation, to sell the wood, and we’re looking at angles for developing training schemes. There’s a fantastic platform that the National Community Wood Recycling people have developed, which contains numerous modules, all very detailed and really good quality. So we’re looking to run that, potentially working with the likes of probation and community payback. One of the ideas it to look at products we could make that are directly beneficial to the environment. So whether it’s bug hotels, or bee-hives…
So we’ve got some market research to do, to look into that. So if anybody is keen to work alongside us and look at products we could make that would be beneficial, straight-forward, saleable and so forth – we’re looking for someone on the business development front.
We’re looking for people to get involved – to chop up wood, carve bits off... we’re looking at “quick wins” – such as bags of soft wood for wood burning stoves. Rather than it going to biomass, it goes to people’s homes.
We run FareShare North West. We’re working with various people in Wythenshawe. We’re part of Real Food Wythenshawe. We’re trying to develop a hub and spoke model. There’ll be a venue in Wythenshawe where we can drop off van loads of stuff, not just little bits and pieces, and then several organisations can access orders from that one place. If we can be a bit more strategic then smaller organisations can access food. So we’re always looking for decent drivers who don’t crash vehicles, or do anything stupid. We’re always looking for reliable good people to drive the vans and sort stuff in the warehouse.
Other than that, we’ve got a garden on New Smithfield Market which is on a bit of redundant ground. We’re looking for people from East Manchester in particular who might want to get involved in that. So we’re growing our own veg and generally having a nice time at the weekend.
Also, we’ve got a pop-up shop, in Albert Square, and it’s not got very good footfall, so we really need people to help us spread the word. We’re trying – it’s a work in progress – to do recycled and up-cycled made in Manchester sort of stuff. In order to keep the volunteer who’s running it happy, we need to have more people come through. And if people want to donate stuff too, that’d be very welcome.
Okay, last question. You’ve just won the lottery – Euromillions. £70 million. You’re not greedy, you’re just keeping ten million quid for yourself. What are you going to spend the 60 million on, in Manchester, to make Manchester greener and fairer?
It would have to be something in the energy field. I don’t know enough about it, but solar and insulation. [Then with the leftover money] – “it would have to be something with cycle lanes. I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s really scary to get on a bike in Manchester, you really have to watch your back. So we need to do a lot of promotion, encouraging people to see cyclists as a positive thing – less pollution, all of that sort of stuff.
* The poor woman had only come into the Town Hall to get away from the rain. Then she was pounced on by a man with a voice recorder.