Our Story

EMERGE has a long track record in providing recycling services in the Greater Manchester city region, with its expertise acquired over more than 20 years.

A pioneer in its field since 1996, this award-winning social enterprise continues to blend environmentally sound practices with reliable high quality service provision whilst, contributing to a truly sustainable future for its own business and that of its customers.

Our Timeline


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


EMERGE Recycling changes its name to EMERGE 3Rs and becomes a registered charity in order to support charitable activities like FareShare GMCR. 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.


EMERGE is approached by the National Community Wood Recycling Project (NCWRP) to undertake commercial wood collections across GMCR 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!


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.

With nearly 20 years of waste industry experience, we have considerable expertise and an ongoing passion and commitment for the ‘real 3Rs’ of waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

After many consultancy projects we now only occasionally take on a project of special interest. Please contact Lucy to explore your requirements further on 0161 223 8200 via Option 2.

“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 and they continue to innovate with new services and responses to the climate emergency and urgent need to reduce our wasteful use of resources.”

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive, Resource Association