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City declares war on single-use plastics

Greater Manchester aims to rid itself of single-use plastics by 2020, its elected mayor Andy Burnham has said.

Launching a campaign at the Manchester Green Summit this week, Burnham, who heads the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said he had recruited 43 businesses from the hospitality sector to support the campaign, including former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville, who is now a hotelier.

The campaign will encourage businesses and residents to change from single-use plastics to renewable alternatives. A Green City Business Consortium has been set up to help make the transition viable for smaller businesses by buying suitable plastics in bulk.

Burnham said: “Last week we heard the difficult news that Greater Manchester’s rivers were some of the most polluted [by plastic]. It is clear that we cannot carry on as usual – the time has come for action.

“If we are successful in our efforts to drive down our use of single-use plastics and accelerate our ambitions for carbon neutrality, there’s no reason why similar models couldn’t be adopted across the UK.”

The summit, convened by Burnham, brought together residents, academics, climate change experts and business leaders to discuss how to make Greater Manchester one of Europe’s greenest cities.

Burnham said he wanted to bring the 2050 target date for carbon neutrality forward by at least a decade, and proposed the creation of a Greater Manchester Environment Fund to support this ambition.

  • Burnham is due on 1 April to take over the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, whose executive director David Taylor will in future report to combined authority chief executive Eammon Boylan.  

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