Council uses summer push to help end dependence on single-use plastics

  • Tuesday 8 August 2023

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A poster which reads "choose to refuse single use plastic".

During Plastic Free July, Manchester City Council embarked on a programme to advance and promote its ambitious commitment to eradicating avoidable single-use plastics by 2024.

Plastic Free July is a global campaign, run by the Plastic Free Foundation, to encourage people to reduce their Single-use Plastics (SUPs) and wider plastics use. The Council is participating in the campaign by encouraging Manchester residents and businesses to prevent, reduce, replace and recycle to reduce avoidable plastic waste from throwaway items.

This comes after the Council announced its commitment to become a Refill destination, along with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, by expanding locations across the city-region where residents can fill up re-useable water bottles for free. 

Residents can fill up in sites across the city including Manchester’s Libraries and leisure centres, cultural venues including The People’s History Museum, Castlefield Gallery and Manchester Jewish Museum - as well as 10 sites in the city’s parks.

There are also over 300 cafes and other businesses across Manchester who already offer free refills, and the Council is working to increase this number to achieve its refill destination commitment. The Council is also encouraging residents to download the Refill app, and keep an eye out for stickers in the windows of participating businesses across the city.

The Council is also embedding plastic waste reduction across its many events throughout Plastic Free July and beyond. On July 2, the Race for Life at Heaton Park followed in the footsteps of the Great Manchester Run in working to dramatically reduce plastic waste. The message went out encouraging runners to arrive hydrated, bring reusable bottles and switching to more sustainable disposable items for essential hydration points, the two events prioritised the health of our city and the planet as well as their combined 32,000 runners.

The Council also used Plastic Free July to kick off a six-month campaign to help residents and businesses prepare for the upcoming law change on single-use plastic. From October 1, 2023, subject to parliamentary approval, plastic cutlery, plates, trays, bowls, balloon sticks and some cups and food containers will all be banned in England. The council is working with Plastic Free GM to ensure that the city is prepared for the upcoming changes – Plastic Free GM used the July awareness campaign to launch new resources showing us what’s best to switch to.

This work is directly tied to the ambition for Manchester city and the wider Greater Manchester city region to become zero-carbon by 2038, 12 years ahead of the Government’s national target of 2050.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport said: "I am proud that Manchester has an ambitious target to reduce avoidable single-use plastic waste by 2024, in keeping with our wider zero carbon targets.

"To help achieve this, we all need to take steps to reduce, reuse and recycle to make avoidable single-use plastics a thing of the past. With so many options to refill our water bottles at council buildings and businesses across the city, residents can download the Refill app and play their part in reducing plastic waste.

"Reducing plastic is good for our health, the planet and can save money when you are out and about. Plastic Free July has been a great opportunity to encourage year-round action to reduce damaging plastic waste in our city."

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