To help tackle climate change, just Touch Wood!
Emerge 3Rs started in 1996, carrying out kerbside collections of paper for recycling. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, becoming both a social business and a registered charity, moving to a base in Smithfield Market and running a range of activities all focused on reducing consumption, reusing resources and recycling responsibly.
Touch Wood is part of the Emerge group. It was established five years ago, when the National Community Wood Recycling Project approached Emerge to see if they could work together to create a scheme for Manchester. Emerge started collecting wood on an ad hoc basis from skips and building sites, developing this in to a paid-for collection service and working with councils, construction companies and other partners.
Touch Wood was set up to make sure the collected wood could be reused. On a typical day, staff and volunteers will receive wood from collections, clean it, de-nail it and remove any damaged or rotten wood before selling it via the Touch Wood shop, which is open to the public. They also create new items such as planters, garden benches, coffee tables and bird boxes, and take commissions for bespoke items. Most of the wood is soft wood, particularly pine. They recently acquired the original Siberian spruce track from the Velodrome when it was refurbished, and have been able to make many new items from this, including bookshelves and tables for a community group in Clayton.
Lucy Danger, Emerge’s Managing Director, said, ‘all our projects help tackle climate change by stopping reusable items from ending up where they shouldn’t. The wood we use would otherwise end up tipped, dumped or burnt, all of which releases carbon unnecessarily. Touch Wood also offers social value over and above a typical DIY supplier because we work with volunteers, carry out education projects with local schools and businesses, and work with community projects.’
Touch Wood has just received an investment via One Manchester to research how other wood recycling organisations around the country work, and develop a business and marketing plan to introduce new services for Manchester.
As Lucy says, ‘watch this space! And if you need wood and want to do good, then come and see us at the Touch Wood shop!’
New Smithfield Market
Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Occasional Saturdays. Contact for details.