Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Greater Manchester school children launch eco enterprises to reduce plastic waste

  • School based refill shops are opening across Greater Manchester as part of a pilot with ethical enterprise specialists Pupils Profit.

  • Children at ten schools will have the opportunity to develop skills and tools that will empower them to help make Greater Manchester greener.

  • The initiative supports the city-region’s push to create less plastic waste and its commitment to become a leading Refill Destination, encouraging residents to refill and reuse wherever they shop, eat and drink.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has partnered with ethical enterprise specialists Pupils Profit to launch ten eco refill shops with local schools across Greater Manchester.

The eco refill shops will be set up and managed by pupils at ten schools across the city-region, with support from their teachers and Pupils Profit. They will sell a range of household products to classmates, teachers, parents and carers, with anyone making a purchase from the shop needing to use their own refillable bottles to help reduce plastic waste.

The initiative will provide young people with valuable enterprise skills, as well as help them understand and embrace the values behind reducing waste. It also contributes towards helping Greater Manchester achieve its long-term environmental vision – to be carbon neutral by 2038.

Cllr Tom Ross, Leader of Trafford Council and Greater Manchester lead for Green City Region, Waste and Recycling, said:

“Reaching our ambitious environmental goals will take backing and action from everyone living and working in the city-region, so it’s really important that we foster a strong understanding of the importance of sustainability in our young people. This brilliant pilot scheme will provide children with valuable green and entrepreneurial skills, all whilst setting the standard for others to follow as we push to make Greater Manchester a leading Refill Destination and a greener place to live, work and grow.”

Children at the ten schools will be able to apply for specific job roles, learn about running a business, and go on to launch and operate their eco refill shops each month, reducing plastic waste with every refill they sell. The shops sell refills of household products such as body wash and hand wash, with all products made in the UK, cruelty free, vegan, closed loop and environmentally responsible.

The GMCA is funding the school eco refill shops as part of a wider drive to normalise the process of refilling old containers with new products, as well as being a fun, educational project. It is hoped that the shops will be fully sustainable from sales the pupils make, ensuring they can pass on their learning experience to future school year groups. 

Elizabeth Gimblett, Founder at Pupils Profit, said:

“Our goal is for children in as many schools as possible to start refill shops, using this memorable activity to instil responsible attitudes to waste in younger generations, whilst helping children to develop skills, and actively encouraging the entire school community of parents, carers and staff to reduce their plastic waste.”


Notes to editors:

The ten schools involved in the initial pilot are:

  • Grange School, Manchester

  • Hamer Community Primary School, Rochdale

  • Piper Hill, Manchester

  • St Margaret’s Mary’s RC Primary, Manchester

  • St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Trafford

  • St Mary’s Primary School, Manchester

  • Urmston Primary School, Trafford

  • Werneth High School, Stockport

  • Woodbank Primary School, Bury

  • Woodhouses Voluntary Controlled Primary School, Oldham

Article Published: 26/01/2024 14:00 PM