Cycle September 2022

Cycle September is the global event bringing together riders of every level to promote the benefits of cycling. The aim of the month is simple; to get more people riding. It’s not about riding the most miles, it’s about encouraging others to join in, helping their workplace climb up the leaderboards, and riding for health, happiness and fun.

Cycling brings a wide range of sustainability, cost-saving, health, and wellbeing benefits. Encouraging more people to ride means fewer cars on the road, lower CO2 emissions, a reduction in fuel costs, and an improvement in the overall physical and mental health.

Cycle September provides people with a fun and engaging way to meet their wellness and sustainability goals simply by cycling. And for those who are new to riding or hopping in the saddle for the first time in years, Cycle September will connect them with other riders and provide the support and guidance they need to ride with confidence.

This September, we want to bring all the glorious benefits of bike riding to Salford. Even a short ride can help to build fitness, improve mental health, improve sleep, save money and protect the planet. And by riding during Cycle September, you could win prizes while helping our University climb the leaderboards.

To get involved, register at Love to Ride and add us as your workplace, then you’re ready to go!

🚲 Cycle anywhere any time – it’s not about how fit you are or how far you ride.

⏱ Even a 10-minute ride around the park would count and get you scoring points.

🥳 Score even more points by encouraging your friends, family and co-workers to ride.

🏆 The points you earn will help us climb the leaderboards and count as prize draw entries – there are over 500 prizes to be won!

If you are new to cycling, or it’s been a while, there’s plenty of help on Love to Ride. From tips articles to Quick Courses, you can upskill and get back on a bike with confidence. This could be a great opportunity to learn to ride, try a cycling commute for the first time, or switch cars for handlebars more often.

Interested in cycling? Join the Cycle User Group on Teams.

You can also find out more about sustainable travel at Salford on our webpage.

Get involved in our Big Thinking Trail for a glimpse into the future

Take a walk around Peel Park and check out the Big Thinking Trail to find out what University of Salford staff hope to see in the future and what we can get started on today to help make it a reality.

The Big Thinking Trail is an interactive walk which encourages everyone to consider the future and potential developments in several areas including, but not limited to, the future of health and wellbeing following the pandemic, mental health and kindness to each other and our planet, and inclusivity in society.

Take part in the Big Thinking Trail and let us know your thoughts on what you are looking forward to seeing in the future!

Originating from a recent Salford Conversations event where staff discussed some of the movements and progress made over the past 100 years (for example, the creation of the NHS and progress towards gender equality), the Big Thinking Trail can be completed between Tuesday 19 April and Tuesday 3 May around Peel Park.

To help us understand what our University community would ​​​​like to see happen in the future, we asked staff:

“The past 100 years have seen movements around gender equality, and free healthcare with the creation of the NHS, amongst other things. In 2022 and beyond, what’s ours to do in this time?”

We recorded their responses on SoundCloud and by scanning a QR code at various points along the trail, you can hear what they would like to see happen in the future. By scanning a second QR code which will take you to a Microsoft Form, you are able to share your own thoughts, too. 

Elaine Robertson, Organisation Development Specialist at the University, and creator of The Big Thinking Trail, said: “The first step towards a better future is to start imagining what it could be like and the Big Thinking Trail is a great way to do that. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get out there and start thinking about what we can do in the future and listen to what our University community thinks, too.”

How can I complete the Big Thinking Trail?

The Big Thinking Trail can be completed for a limited time only from Tuesday 19 April to Tuesday 3 May.

Get your steps in whilst taking part using the app what3words to find all the posters.

Using the map below to plan your route, staff, students and park visitors can scan a QR code on 6 posters located around the park that will take you to a SoundCloud audio recording of an answer from a staff member at Salford.

The trail takes between 15 minutes to complete and averages at around 1000 steps depending on the route that you choose to take.

There is also another QR code which you can scan that will take you to a form where you can share your own thoughts on what you would like to see happen in the future. Simply download the app what3words on the App Store or Google Play and type in the corresponding three words shown on each point on the map to find each poster.

The Big Thinking Trail map

Use the app or website what3words to find the locations above.

Have you completed the trail?

We would love to hear your thoughts on the trail if you have had chance to complete it.

Please let us know what you think by filling out the survey here, or emailing Elaine.

Zero Waste Spaces in Greater Manchester

Zero waste is a simple concept that focuses on re-using items as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste that we create. Waste has become a huge problem that has a very damaging impact on the environment. Plastic pollution especially has gained attention as one of worst types of waste we create, due to how it breaks down into microplastics a process that can take centuries it breaks down into. While some plastics can be recycled, a lot of the plastics we use every day cannot. These are single use plastics and are destined to end up in landfills, the ocean or polluting our local environment.

Zero waste stores help combat plastic waste by avoiding using products packaged with single use plastics and instead use refillable containers made from materials such as glass, allowing customers to repeatedly re-use containers for a range of products like dry foods such as cereal, rice and flour as well cleaning products such as detergent and conditioner. Another benefit of zero waste shopping is that you only pay for the amount you need instead of in pre-determined sizes helping reduce other problems such as food waste and saving you money.

Greater Manchester has a range of great stores that have committed to being zero waste fully or to some degree. Here we have compiled a list of some of the great zero waste stores around Greater Manchester.

•             Lentils and Lather – 50 Burton Rd, Withington, Manchester M20 3EB Lentils and Lather – sustainable shopping in South Manchester•             McCalls Organics – Unit 6, 7 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN Organic Food and Refill | McCall’s Organics (
  •             M20 Refills – 407 Palatine Rd, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 4JS Home – M20 Refills  •             The Dispensary – UNIT 106, Ellesmere Shopping Centre, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3ZH Home (
  •             Village Greens Community Co-op – 1 Longfield Centre, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AY  •             Want Not Waste – Academy, Manchester M13 9PR Want Not Waste – Zero Waste Shop – Zero Waste (
Organic Supermarket | Village Greens Coop | Prestwich ( •             Unicorn Grocery – 89 Albany Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 0BN Unicorn Grocery, Manchester – organic produce & affordable wholefoods (  •             Eighth Day – 111 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7DU 8th Day Co-op | Vegetarian Healthfood Shop and Cafe | Manchester
  •             Deadstock General Store, Northern Quarter – 48 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HN  •             Bernie’s Grocery Store – 3 Hawthorn Grove, Heaton Moor, Stockport SK4 4HZ
  •             Earth Friendly Rocker – 3rd Floor, Afflecks, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW    •             Goodness Zero Waste – 10 Crofts Bank Rd, Urmston, Manchester M41 0TS
  General Stores – Multiple Locations Across Manchester General Stores – Just Another General Store (  •             The Replenishery – 1 John St, Leigh WN7 1DG Zero waste | The Replenishery | Leigh

As the problem of plastic waste has gained attention the ideas and ideals of zero waste are starting to no longer be restricted to small independent stores, with several large supermarkets including ASDA, Waitrose, Morrisons as well as many others recently trialing refill stations in their stores for products such as cereals, detergents, and personal hygiene products. If successful it may be possible for elements of the zero-waste lifestyle to become much more accessible allowing for a huge reduction in the amount of waste our society produces.  

Go Green Salford 2022: round-up & resources

This year, Go Green Salford ran between February 28th – March 27th and explored four themes: Our Planet, Our Food, Our Resources and Our Nature. 

Throughout the month, we saw lots of engagement and support from our students, staff and local community. A massive thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s events!

In this post, you will find a summary of all of the events, including links to recordings and resources.

The first week opened with Instagram live streams, where we spoke with four inspirational guests:

  • Godiya Olinze – MSc Environmental Assessment & Management student at the University of Salford and a passionate sustainability advocate. We talk about her studies, sustainability journey and everyday actions we can all take to help the planet. 
    • Watch the recording here
    • Godiya’s Litter Picking Journal: read blog post here
  • Fay Watts – owner of The Dispensary, Salford’s first zero-waste shop based in Walkden Town Centre. We talked about zero-waste shopping habits, running a sustainable business, and the importance of education in the fight against the climate crisis.
  • Holly Broadhurst – PhD student in Molecular Ecology at the University of Salford. He talked about her research, what to consider when applying for a PhD, and her sustainability journey.

We also celebrated World Wildlife Day, and ran our first Hedgehog Friendly Workshop, as part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign which aims to make our campus as safe and welcoming for wildlife as possible. The purpose of this workshop was to learn about the basics of wildlife surveying, including methods and tools. As a result of these workshops, we’ve now got footprint tunnels and camera traps installed on campus. To stay up to date with news about hedgehogs on campus, you can learn more about the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign here, and join us on Teams!

During the second week, we supported the second Food Waste Action Week which aimed to create lasting change that helps to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving global food waste by 2030. To read about the Food Waste Action week, and to find lots of useful tips and recipes to help you reduce food waste on a daily basis, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website here

We also hosted two Instagram live streams with:

  • Emma Lawton – geography student at the University of Salford and creator of the Salford Swap Shop. We talked about Emma’s studies at Salford, avoiding food waste & eating sustainably on a student budget, and sustainable fashion.
  • Holly and Josh from Impact Score – a free app designed to help us make better shopping decisions by scoring products according to sustainability criteria. We talked about the idea behind the app, how it works, the different aspects of sustainability it considers, and what’s coming next.
    • Watch the recording here
    • Learn more and download the free app here

The week started off with the first ever Salford Swap Shop. This initiative was created by Emma Lawton, a geography student at the University of Salford, to help promote sustainable fashion. The idea is simple: donate your unwanted clothes and swap them for someone else’s. There was also a sewing station with buttons, zips and ribbons to customise the clothes. Alongside the clothes swap, donations were also collected for the British Hedgehog Preservation Charity (we collected over £130 pounds!) and there was an option to pick up some local herb and plant seeds. The second Salford Swap Shop is coming soon in May! Follow it on Instagram to stay up to date.

We also had two Instagram live streams that week:

  • Rowan Pritchard –  Graduate Associate at the University of Salford Art Collection team. We talked about her journey from studying to working at Salford, her current role, and her approach to sustainability in personal life & work as an artist 🌿🎨
  • Gideon Marriott – University of Salford graduate (MSc Sustainability) and a green woodworker. We talked about his journey to his current role, his degree,  why he decided to study at Salford, and the role and challenges of sustainability in a small business.

We also held a zero waste pop-up with The Dispensary at the Media City campus, and organised an online event exploring the links between nature and wellbeing (watch recording here – internal login required).

The last week of Go Green Salford was full of events dedicated to our local natural environment and wildlife:

  • Live stream with Caitlin Cross –  BSc Wildlife and Practical Conservation student at the University of Salford and Chair of the Wildlife Society. We talked about Caitlin’s interest in wildlife, her studies and placement year at Chester Zoo, and the Wildlife Society – how to join and the benefits for students’ skills & employability.
    • Watch the recording: part 1 & part 2
    • Find out more about the Wildlife Society here
  • Nature on Our Doorstep – event exploring the urban nature of Salford with Dr Luke Blazejewski, a Manchester-based photographer and filmmaker, and a researcher at the University of Salford. His creative work focuses on capturing and celebrating the presence of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, nature in urban settings. You can find out more about his work on his website. The event started with a screening of one of Luke’s films – Salford Wetlands, which explores the wildlife of our local wetlands area. This will be followed by his talk on the importance and benefits of the relationship between nature and people in urban environments. There will also be an opportunity to ask Luke questions at the end.
    • Watch Salford Wetlands here.
  • Salford Tree Trail Tour and visit at the “You Belong Here” exhibition – this in-person event included a guided tour of a part of the Salford Tree Trail, followed by a visit to “You Belong Here” exhibition at the Salford Museum & Art Gallery, which celebrates Salford’s green spaces.
    • Watch live stream from the Salford Tree Trail tour here.
    • Learn more about the Salford Tree Trail here.
    • Find out more about the “You Belong Here” exhibition here.
  • Eyes Peeled for Nature 2022 – a series of events including workshops, online talks, quizzes, blogs, and live feeds which celebrate the wildlife which can be found in and around Peel Park. It ran throughout March and ended with a BioBlitz (24h of wildlife surveys and recording) on 25 & 26/03.
    • Here you can see the full programme of events.
    • On their Facebook page, Friends of Peel Park shared photos and live streams from the events – you can find them here.

For a quick summary of all the events and even more useful resources, visit the Go Green Salford 2022 webpage! And don’t forget to follow us on social media, to stay up to date about our upcoming events and volunteering opportunities:

Palm Oil: environmental impacts & responsible consumption – by James Rogan

Palm oil is the most popular vegetable oil, used around the world in a range of food products including bread, chocolate, and margarine. As well as food, it is also present in some form in most cosmetics and cleaning products. Palm oil is extremely popular for several reasons, such as its long shelf life as well as its lack of taste and smell. Harvested from the fruit of the African Palm tree, palm oil has a very high yield compared to other oil plants, allowing a large volume of oil to be produced from a smaller area of land, making it the cheapest of all plant oils.

Palm oil has become a controversial ingredient, mainly due to the deforestation that has been caused for land clearance for palm oil plantations. The African palm thrives in hot, wet, and humid environments with high levels of sunlight. These conditions are met in a small band along the equator and this niche is also where rainforests thrive. Because of this, countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries produce most of the worlds palm oil, with Indonesia and Malaysia alone producing 84% of all palm oil in 2018. To supply the ever-increasing demand for palm oil, large areas of rainforest are cleared. Along with logging for wood products, palm oil plantations have been identified as the cause of 23% of the deforestation in Indonesia between 2001 and 2016. This deforestation has a major impact on biodiversity in these countries, with rainforests hosting the most diverse range of species of any biome, and has threatened to endanger or extinct many species, the most well-known of which being the Sumatran tiger and Bornean Orangutan. Another effect of this deforestation is the removal of the trees and destruction of peatlands; this removes their ability to function as carbon stores and releases large amounts of the previously stored CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to the climate crisis.

While Palm oil is perceived as environmentally unfriendly, in comparison to other oil-producing plants it has much higher yields, allowing for much less land use compared to other oils, such a sunflower or soy. However, these other oil plants aren’t restricted to growing in the same environment as rainforests and so can be grown in areas with lower biodiversity. Because of this, eliminating all use of palm oil is highly debated, with demand for palm oil expected to continually increase up to the year 2050, and with large demand expected to come from major developing countries such as China and India. A reduction in people’s everyday use of palm, as well as ensuring that any palm oil consumed is sustainably sourced, is a step that can have a positive impact and help safeguard the remaining important areas of rainforest.

What can we do?

Reducing the demand for palm oil in products and making sure that, where palm oil is unavoidable, it is sustainable, can help ensure that highly biodiverse primary forests are not cut down for new palm oil plantations. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is the main body certifying palm oil sources as sustainable, with sustainable plantations promising to not clear primary forests, have transparent supply chains, as well as monitor and limit their carbon emissions. Members of RSPO using certified sustainable palm oil can use RSPO’s trademark on their packaging to help consumers identify products and brands using sustainable palm oil.

If you want to avoid palm oil altogether, there are several tips to help. The first one is avoiding processed food and cooking from fresh natural ingredients such as fruit and veg. This will avoid palm oil, as well as having the benefit of being healthier than ready meals and other processed foods.

To avoid palm oil in skincare, use ethical brands that do not contain palm oil or advertise themselves as using palm oil from sustainable sources.

Finding out whether products contain palm oil and whether it is from sustainable sources this can be done quickly and easily in stores by using apps such as Impact Score Shopping; you can use it to scan barcodes and indicate whether a product is palm oil free, or, if it does contain palm oil, whether it comes from a sustainable source. Websites such as Ethical consumer and Products without Palm Oil provide guides and lists of companies and products that do not contain palm oil, or contain palm oil from ethical sources.

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We’re officially a Cycle Friendly Employer!

The Cycle Friendly Employer scheme, run by Cycling UK, is a framework for employers to promote and enable cycling at their workplace. Earlier this year we have achieved the Gold Award!

Following an audit at the end of last year, we are delighted to announce that the University of Salford received the Gold Award! The judges were impressed with our university’s commitment to improving the facilities for cycling, increasing the number of available parking spaces from 362 to 500, and further to nearly 2,000 over the next decade.

Participation in the scheme supports our actions to encourage the shift to more sustainable travel by students and staff, as set out in our Sustainable Travel Plan

The criteria is based across 6 categories: Communication and Incentives; Coordination and Organisation; Service; Facilities; Parking management; and Customer Traffic. We have achieved Gold in all of these areas.

Feedback and scores from the judges will help us set ambitious targets and further improve our cycling facilities and encourage sustainable travel. The next steps will involve work around car parking and provision of additional cycling facilities, such as cycle maintenance stations across campus.

Read more about Sustainable Travel at the University of Salford here.

Active Travel at Salford and in Greater Manchester

Cycling at Salford

  • If you’re interested in cycling, join our Cycle User Group on Teams to stay up to date with all our cycling-related news and incentives!
  • If you’d like to hire a bike, the recently launched Transport for Greater Manchester’s Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme is available on all of our campuses – read more here.
  • We’ve also got an internal E-Bike Hire Scheme for staff, which we run in partnership with Manchester Bike Hire. It gives you a chance to hire an electric bike for 4 weeks for free to try it out on your commutes. You can read more and sign up here.

Ride It Out! with Enactus Salford

Enactus Salford are leading a project called Ride It Out! which will include weekly rides around Salford to encourage people to cycle as part of a group, whilst also teaching them about bike safety and maintenance. The routes are designed for beginners. Each ride will also include a café stop. You can bring your own bike, but they will also be offering FREE bicycle hire for those getting involved.

The next session, will take place tomorrow, 5th of March at 11am. Email Olivia Morris for more info or to sign up: 

Active Travel in Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester have an Active Travel hub, where you can…

  • Get a personalised map of all the walking and cycling routes, green spaces and upcoming improvements
  • Find cycling tips on things like maintenance, security, commuting, as well as buying a cycle. You can also book free cycling training, and hire or buy a cycle.
  • Learn about the benefits of walking and how to make it a habit, and join your local walking group.
  • Read about the Bee Network –  integrated transport system which will connect buses, trams, rail as well as cycling and walking.

For longer journeys, here you can find more information about travelling by bus, tram or train in Greater Manchester.

Follow us on social media to stay up to date about active travel at the University of Salford:

Godiya’s Litter Picking Journal

Some activities are hobbies to pass time while bringing joy to the doer. In one sentence I will describe litter picking as ‘a bringer of joy’ as I often feel fulfilled after I fill a trash bag, especially from a street or spot that I use frequently. I come from a place where independent litter picking hardly occurred except government officers paid to clean up but deep down in me, I found the litter picking equipment intriguing before the activity itself took hold of me. Furthermore, the thought of the officers not bending so low to clean up the streets using their bare hands or gloves to touch litter always warmed my heart.

In 2019, I saw an elderly man in my church pick up litter around the premises after an event with his bare hands and said ‘no’ in my mind, so I bought a couple of lightweight litter pickers and organized a clean-up to mark my 38th birthday with a few family and friends and donated the pickers to the church afterward. It was a beautiful breakfast cleaning up activity with memories I hold dear. Additionally, it was an opportunity to plant flowers as a gift to the church from a group of course mates to round up a discipleship training we participated in. This was when my passion for DIY (do it yourself) litter picking was born. I began to picture myself as a Star Wars hero and I had this infographic on my phone that reads “may the force be with you” it had a funny way of motivating and reminding me that I was doing something good.

In 2021 I came to Salford and one thing apart from the red brick buildings and beautiful open spaces that stood out for me was the number of cans, paper cups, and bottles I saw on the streets, it was unbelievable I just wanted to grab my broom to sweep often. One night, my 14-year-old son alerted me with excitement that the streets were being swept mechanically and it was such a relief witnessing that.

It is amazing how I make history during my birthdays because on the 27th of June 2021, a day after my 40th birthday, I walked up to a group of litter pickers and asked if I could join them as I had observed them picking litter for about a month on Sundays. That was how I started my litter picking journey around my neighbourhood and I also participate in litter picking activities organized by the University of Salford Sustainability team.

When I am about to clear a dirty space, I tell myself ‘’go forth and conquer’’ and that has a way of motivating me. Observing a litter free spot gives me a sense of joy and accomplishment. I sometimes imagine the grass telling me ‘Thank you’ for taking trash off me. I am not excited about trash being dropped, but hey… till that changes I will keep doing what I can to fix it within my power and the more people pick trash, the more those who drop them will have a second thought. A ripple effect is what I hope to achieve. Just in case you ever consider litter picking, think of it as a two-way gain, you will get some well-deserved fresh air, it will make you smile, and the earth will smile as well.

Thank you for reading.

This post is part of Go Green Salford 2022 – a month of free events and activities to promote environmental sustainability. Here you can watch the live stream where we talked to Godiya about her studies at the University of Salford and her sustainability journey.

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