Dreaming of a Green Christmas – how Manchester is making its festive programme more sustainable

  • Thursday 8 December 2022

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This year’s festive programme in Manchester promises to be the most environmentally sustainable yet.

New measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the much-loved Christmas Markets, the city’s official decorations and other elements of the seasonal programme are built on concerted improvements over the past decade.

Manchester’s famous Christmas Markets have had a reusable glass and mug scheme in use since 2011 – savings millions of single use plastics being thrown away every year - and, all single use plastic food containers, bags and cutlery have been banned from the markets since 2018. Where reusable plastic cups are used this year they will be made from polypropylene, a type of plastic which takes 50% less carbon to manufacture than the previous polycarbonate cups.  

The reusable cup scheme is part of a Council-wide pilot to ensure all events run by the Council use reusable cups, rather than single use plastics and the council hope to encourage other events across the city to follow suit.

For the first time at the Christmas Markets, all electricity generated will be powered by Biofuel rather than diesel generators - and wherever possible mains power is being used to power the markets instead.  Skate Manchester, the ice rink located in Cathedral Gardens is one of only a handful of ice rinks in the country to use mains power to reduce use of fossil fuels.  

Christmas decorations within the market areas will remain low energy and use LED lights. For the fifth year running the lights are made from entirely biodegradable elements – including sugar cane – and are fully recyclable and compostable.  

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said:  

 “Like Rudolph’s nose, Manchester is a guiding light when it comes to Christmas. Not only are we Santa’s favourite festive city, we’re working on becoming one of the greenest.”  

 "Manchester has set an ambitious target to become zero carbon by 2038 or earlier. Achieving this will require a year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions across all fronts.  

 “The work to make our Christmas programme more sustainable is a shining example of what can be done.” 

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