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About us

Our mission is to create a society where everyone can have their resource needs met in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive and economically responsible.

Launched in 2009, EMERGE 3Rs is a registered charity which exists to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local people, first and foremost in Greater Manchester. We do this by promoting the understanding and practice of the real ‘3Rs’ of sustainable resource and waste management – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Together with our sister social enterprise, EMERGE Recycling, we want to create a world in which the real 3Rs are second nature, people cherish and innately value resources, nobody goes hungry and food is used for good rather than being wasted.

Our objective is to be a leading charitable enterprise across Greater Manchester that:

Enables people to reduce, reuse and recycle more and better

Fights hunger and
tackles food waste

Creates opportunities
to improve lives

Influences
positive changes

We have been making the 3Rs a reality for over two decades

EMERGE 3Rs grew out of EMERGE Recycling, our original social enterprise which has been a leading pioneer of sustainable waste and recycling services in Greater Manchester since 1998. A proportion of the proceeds of EMERGE Recycling are channelled back into the charity, where they are put to work to further support the wider community and our shared environment.

All of our activities benefit and feed back into our local communities

Based on New Smithfield Market in Openshaw, we place great importance on playing a positive role in the lives of local people. Through the ‘EMERGE Group’ of charitable activities we are able to provide employment, work experience, training and volunteering opportunities for people from a diverse range of backgrounds and personal circumstances.

All of our activities benefit and feed back into our local communities

Based on New Smithfield Market in Openshaw, we place great importance on playing a positive role in the lives of local people. Through the ‘EMERGE Group’ of charitable activities we are able to provide employment, work experience, training and volunteering opportunities for people from a diverse range of backgrounds and personal circumstances.

We are nationally recognised for our achievements

We have gained many accolades and awards for social enterprise, volunteering and sustainability over the years, accompanied by regular media coverage and the support of notable citizens including sporting stars, celebrity chefs and high-ranking politicians. In 2013, we were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Our History

1996

East Manchester Environment and Resources Group Emerge (EMERGE) begins as a voluntary organisation in January 1996 and commences multi-material kerbside collections from 50 homes in December, building the service up as more homes join in week by week!

1998

1st May EMERGE Recycling registers as a Company Limited by Guarantee. This means there are no private shareholders, in essence EMERGE is a community business (a social enterprise); EMERGE is an ‘open membership’ organisation, open to all those who share our aims and objectives.

1999

We gain our first fully paid member of staff, pioneer the first high-rise flats recycling service in Manchester and pilot a Pedestrian Controlled Vehicle (PCV) multi-material collection service for 5,000 households. This is an innovative method of collecting from the doorstep. We also develop an Open College Network (OCN) qualification in Community Recycling, the first qualification of its kind in the 3Rs and recycling.

2000

By now we are collecting paper fortnightly from over 30,000 homes. We provide recycling at events such as Manchester Mela and the Moss Side Carnival, each attended by over 5,000 people.

2001–2003

EMERGE secures major support from the European Social Fund for all activities, with a focus on training and developing a wider programme of ‘Community Recycling Champions’ in Manchester.

2003–2006

We secure domestic recycling contracts with Trafford Council (to collect multi-materials from 7,000 homes weekly within Old Trafford and Gorse Hill), and similarly, a major partnership arrangement with Manchester City Council to provide a multi-material kerbside collection service for 55,000 homes in North and Central Manchester, helping the city raise its recycling rate from 4% to 17%!

Using our expertise in domestic recycling services, we assist Warrington Council with the successful roll-out of their recycling services to more than 80,000 homes.

EMERGE launches a major Schools Recycling Programme across Manchester borough, thanks to CRED lottery funding. Over 120 schools receive a free recycling service with ‘Real 3Rs’ education workshops for participants focused on how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (the waste hierarchy).

2007–onwards

EMERGE develops and expands its business services; by 2018 we are collecting from over 900 businesses in Manchester and the surrounding areas, with the addition of plastic bottle and plastic film collections, confidential documents, lightbulbs, batteries and IT equipment reuse and recycling to our long list of materials collected for recycling and reuse.

2008

EMERGE partners with FareShare UK in order to run the Greater Manchester ‘regional centre’ of this national charity, redistributing surplus in-date food to community groups, schools and voluntary sector bodies who use food to help alleviate poverty. By 2018 we redistribute nearly 1,500 tonnes of food to 220 ‘Community Food Members’ who are organisational beneficiaries.

2009

EMERGE Recycling changes its name to EMERGE 3Rs and becomes a registered charity in order to support charitable activities like FareShare Greater Manchester. We convert a dormant wholly-owned subsidiary company into ‘EMERGE Recycling’ in order to continue carrying our commercial waste and recycling services for public and environmental good, as a social enterprise.

2013

EMERGE is approached by the National Community Wood Recycling Project (NCWRP) to undertake commercial wood collections across Greater Manchester and beyond. After a few months we also agree to establish a wood upcycling and reuse initiative as this forms part of the case for the construction industry to buy this service from us. Our ‘Touch Wood’ store and workshop is born!

2017

EMERGE Recycling is now a fully ISO9001/BSEN15713 compliant specialist in confidential shredding. As a member of the BSIA (British Security Industry Assoc), all document shredding is assured to be handled in a secure, compliant and professional manner. As a not-for-personal-profit social enterprise our recycling enterprise helps to support FareShare Greater Manchester and Touch Wood.

“I’ve known EMERGE from their earliest days when they evolved from a local voluntary pressure group and decided to focus on practical recycling action to create local jobs and retain the wealth of resources in their community. Their story is one of perseverance, innovation, passion and resilience. Their contribution to the Manchester economy and environment is significant for its longevity and accumulated impact.”

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive, Resource Association