We turned five this year, and as part of our birthday celebrations we also wanted to mark it by making significant steps towards reducing our waste and carbon emissions as a local social enterprise here in South Manchester. So our Project Director Paul Bower has been busy behind the scenes making changes to how we can better run and manage the market to achieve this less wasteful and greener ambition…
The main change visitors and traders to the market will have noticed this year is our increased number of bins. This is to enable better waste sorting at source on site. Where previously we had one general waste bin, we now have three bins:
- mixed paper & card
- organic & biodegradable
- general waste/unrecyclable.
These are located in four bin-clusters at each of the site’s corners.
This improvement has been partly enabled by a successful funding application to Manchester City Council’s Neighbourhood Investment Fund (NIF) earlier in the year. The additional investment has allowed us to build our own secure recycling and bin compound storage on site. This in turn has enabled us to change our waste contractor to the award-winning organisation Emerge, whose higher recycling-rates over their commercial rivals and greater social ethos better reflect Levenshulme Market’s ethics and social values.
We are in ongoing discussions with our traders to eliminate single-use plastics, reduce packaging, incentivise re-usable bags and cups and where this is not possible, make all packaging on our site recyclable or biodegradable.
We would also welcome further discussion with other local Levenshulme businesses who may also be thinking about how they can improve their waste management and recycling.
A few examples include the Market Bar, who have now implemented a reusable ‘glass’ deposit scheme, and regular traders such as Reddy Lane Market Garden and Coffee Cranks Co-operative. These stallholders are leading the way in reducing waste and where necessary, sourcing packaging which can be recycled or biodegradable.
Our next step is to develop a shared directory resource that Levenshulme traders can access to make better decisions over sourcing packaging and reducing their own waste. We have started talking with Friends of the Earth Manchester, who are campaigning to eliminate plastics in hot-food takeaways in Levenshulme – something we of course support and would like to see happen sooner rather than later – and why not in Levenshulme first!
How you can help
The market is only as good as its traders and customers, and we need your help to make these changes for reducing waste fully work and stick.
As a visitor to the market, please think carefully when disposing of your rubbish and make sure that you are putting the right item in the right bin. Please ask our team if you aren’t sure – they’ll be happy to help! It would also be great if you can remember to bring a reusable bag or coffee cup when you visit us.
As a trader, please consider how your business could contribute to our aims to reduce, reuse and recycle. These are just the first steps in a much longer journey the market is making towards its ultimate goal of becoming a zero-waste and low-carbon operation over the next 5 years.
If you would like to get involved in helping us reach our greener ambitions or to discuss any of the above further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org