Recycling Rewards Celebrates Record Year for MACS

A local charity initiative involving over 170,000 households and three businesses across Northern Ireland have hit record recycling levels all in aid of a good cause.

The ‘Recycling  Rewards’ which was created in 2015 by leading social enterprise, Bryson Recycling encourages households to recycle more and help those who need it the most. This year the campaign has raised £21,000 and recycled 21,000 tonnes of plastic, glass and paper.

Charity partner, MACS Supporting Children and Young People (MACS) provide a range of specialist services for children and young people who have experienced difficult times in their lives.  Many of those will have experienced the care system, faced homelessness, struggled with self-harm, substance abuse or mental health.

The donation will support their social enterprise ‘Muddy Paws’ based in Belfast, where dogs are treated to a walk, bath, brush and a dedicated play session by MACS service users, volunteers and staff. It was launched to help young people tackle social isolation, improve mental health, gain qualifications in customer service, business administration and animal care and help improve confidence and self-esteem.

Bryson provides a weekly kerbside box collection to 170,000 homes across five council areas, and for every tonne of paper, plastic and glass collected over the last year, three local reprocessing partners, Huhtamaki in Lurgan, Cherry Pipes in Lurgan and Encirc in Fermanagh have all donated £1 to MACS.

Eric Randall, Director at Bryson Recycling comments: “Recycling Rewards creates important conversations around recycling and shows we can all make a positive contribution to society through simple, everyday tasks in the home.

“Our unique approach to recycling results in high quality materials; over 86% of what we collect is recycled locally which is better for the environment, the economy and sustains local jobs.

 “I am delighted that we have been able to support such a worthwhile cause this year helping young people overcome challenges and setting them out on a positive journey.”

Through Bryson Recycling’s local circular economy approach, they send paper, plastic and glass collected in kerbside boxes on a weekly basis to the three campaign partners, Cherry Pipes, Encirc and Huhtamaki, who transform them into new products for well-known brands such as McDonalds, Skea, Bushmills and Baileys.

Cherry Pipes convert plastics into pipes for the agricultural, civil engineering and construction industries at their sites in Crumlin, Lurgan and Dungannon. Glass is sent to Encirc in Derrylin, which is turned into bottles for food and drinks companies. Huhtamaki in Lurgan is the world leader in environmentally friendly moulded fibre packaging, using 100% recycled raw materials located on the island of Ireland and they are the sustainable choice for high quality egg packaging and cup carriers.

Mary Ryan, MACS’s CEO said: “Muddy Paws is the first young people-led social project of its kind in NI so we are very grateful Bryson Recycling supported such an innovative start-up. Funds from Recycling Rewards allowed Muddy Paws to get off to a flying start. Working with the dogs has already helped our young people to gain job-skills and confidence, get out walking and socialising, all whilst providing a useful and popular service to pet-owners. We really can’t thank Bryson Recycling enough.”

Caoimhe Tumelty has been involved with MACS: “My GP referred me to MACS over three years ago. I’d just finished hospital treatment for a mental illness and they felt that MACS support and wellbeing services would help my recovery. MACS isn’t just a mental health service. I was able to take part in training and personal development programmes. I was matched with a mentor, invited to groups and encouraged to socialise. My support worker helped me discover my goals and passions, and to take on new challenges.

“Myself and a few other young leaders in MACS researched ideas for a business service that other MACS young people and volunteers could deliver. We came up with the concept of Muddy Paws; made funding applications and presentations; did training in animal care and management and helped out in the shop. It gave me purpose and a love for life again. My mental health is so much better nowadays. Even though I’ve now got a full time job in retail, I still volunteer in Muddy Paws when I can as I enjoy it so much.

“I love working with animals, its very therapeutic. I feel calm around the dogs and they are a good ice breaker. Even if I’m feeling shy or nervous, the dogs are a good focus and they help everyone to communicate with each other. Plus, we get exercise whilst walking the dogs and lots of fun and cuddles in return.”

Weekly household collections are carried out a cross five council areas: Antrim & Newtownabbey, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon, Belfast, Lisburn and Castlereagh and Mid & East Antrim.

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