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Greater Manchester launches first city-region wide plan to drive down single-use plastics

High-profile names from the hospitality and tourism industry have launched a campaign, backed by Mayor Andy Burnham, to make Greater Manchester the first UK city-region to ditch single-use plastics.

Hotel Football owner and ex-Manchester United player, Gary Neville, launched the ground-breaking “Plastic-Free Greater Manchester” campaign at today’s Green Summit, along with 43 other business leaders from the hospitality sector. 

The campaign is set to put Greater Manchester at the forefront of taking action to eliminate single-use plastics. The campaign targets businesses and local people, encouraging them to make the shift away from single-use plastics to renewable alternatives.

Those leading the campaign and aiming to be plastic-free by 2020 include: GG Hospitality, Manchester Central, Manchester Marriot Victoria and Albert Hotel, Grafene Restaurant and Bar, Eclectic Hotels, Manchester Art Gallery, Best Western Plus Pinewood in Wilmslow and Real Junk Food Manchester. Over the next six months these businesses will be setting out a plan to achieve their goal and, as a first step, are starting to replace plastic straws with recyclable alternatives.

As part of this effort, the Mayor will help the campaign to establish a Green City Business Consortium that will bring together Greater Manchester businesses looking to make change from single-use plastics to reusable, recyclable plastics and other alternative materials. 

The consortium would be designed to make sure that smaller businesses, which are looking to make the transition from plastic to more sustainable options, are not disadvantaged by cost. By buying in bulk and making the switchover together, businesses can make a speedy, more affordable transition.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “People have been horrified by the images on our televisions showing just how polluted our oceans and rivers have become through plastic waste.  But this isn’t just happening on the other side of the world.  Last week we heard the difficult news that Greater Manchester’s rivers were some of the most polluted.  It’s clear that we cannot just carry on as usual – the time has come for action. 

“Greater Manchester is a region renowned for innovation – we’re large enough to experiment at scale, yet small enough to come together and innovate at speed.   Just look at what we’re doing today – the Green Summit is a unique event that’s brought all sorts of people together to reduce our carbon emissions, crowdsource ideas to make Greater Manchester one of the greenest city-regions in Europe. 

“I’m proud that major figures from Greater Manchester’s hospitality and tourism industry have chosen the Green Summit as a platform to launch this campaign that could help make Greater Manchester the first UK city-region that eliminates single-use plastics.  It’s got my full support.

“It won’t be without challenges, but Greater Manchester is all about leading the way and doing things that bit differently. If we’re 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.”

Gary Neville said: “Reducing the use of plastics across the GG Hospitality portfolio is a key priority for us. We have already removed plastic straws from our businesses, including Hotel Football, all three Cafe Football sites and GG Events and Catering. We’re pleased to add our support to the Plastic-Free Greater Manchester Campaign and respond to the Mayor’s challenge of making Greater Manchester one of the greenest city-regions in Europe.”

“This step is just the start however, we are committed to continually help reduce the impact of plastic packaging on the environment and pledge to decrease our plastic use even further.”

As well as straws, local cafes, hotels and restaurants are also being encouraged to ditch single-portion pats of plastic-wrapped butter and jams in plastic pots. Single-use coffee cups and water bottles will also be targeted.

And it’s not just the hospitality sector getting involved. BBC North have put an end to single use plastics in their canteen and coffee shops, while the Co-op has changed its pizza packaging to prevent 200 tonnes of polystyrene boards going to landfill, amongst a range of other measures.

Today’s campaign was launched at Greater Manchester’s inaugural Green Summit.  The summit brought local people, academics, climate change experts and business leaders together to pave the way forward for making Greater Manchester one of the leading green cities in Europe.

At the summit, the Mayor, along with local leaders also set out his ambitions to bring Greater Manchester’s carbon neutrality target forward by at least a decade from 2050. To help achieve this, proposals put forward at the summit included an emissions-free bus fleet, doubling the provision of charging points for electric vehicles, and building zero carbon homes.

The Green Summit was livestreamed on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website and online audience participation has been promised to give everyone a chance to have a say and get involved.

Local people, businesses, the public and voluntary sector are also being encouraged to get involved and add their plastic-free pledges on the campaign’s website:  

The pledge reads: “Greater Manchester’s tourism and hospitality sector will aim to eradicate the use of single use plastics by 2020.  Within the next 6 months, local businesses will set out a plan to achieve this and, as a first step, have begun to replace plastic straws with more sustainable alternatives. This is part of a wider scheme to make our industry more sustainable.”

A full list of businesses signed to the pledge is as follows:

Holiday Inn Express, Manchester Oxford Road

DoubleTree by Hilton, Piccadilly Manchester

Alston Bar & Beef

National Football Museum

Conference Partners UK

Elizabeth Gaskell's House

City Centre Cruises


The Victorian Chop House Company Ltd

Manchester Cathedral

Castlefield Gallery

Eastlands Trust

Lennox Lea Hotel

Chester Zoo

Manchester Conference Centre and Pendulum Hotel


The Stock Exchange Hotel

Hospitality & Events, The University of Manchester

Junkyard Golf Club

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester Hotel

The Townhouse Hotel

Randall & Aubin

Eclectic Hotel Collection

Gaucho MCR

The Monastery Manchester

GG Hospitality

Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport

Manchester Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel

Tattu Restaurant & Bar

BSC Manchester

Belle Vue

Hallmark Hotels

The Crystal Maze Live Experience

Real Junk Food Project


Lancashire Cricket Club

AC Hotel Manchester

Pinewood Hotel

Lowry Hotel

Event City

Hey Little Cupcake

Princess St Hotel

Manchester Central 

Article Published: 14/12/2018 11:41 AM