Plastic-Free Greater Manchester

The Five-Year Environment Plan sets out a commitment to build a thriving and sustainable city-region. A key priority is to reduce the amount of waste produced by making more sustainable choices. Working with our partners and campaigning organisations we are working to eradicate avoidable single-use plastics across Greater Manchester creating local policies and stimulating actions to drive change.

Sustainable Consumption and Production

Greater Manchester is developing a Sustainable, Consumption and Production Plan to promote economic and resource productivity and increase business opportunities through innovation. The plan will be released later in 2020.

Public Sector Plastic Pact

As part of building a thriving and sustainable city region, the public sector needs to show leadership in eliminating avoidable waste. Local Authorities can offer a real opportunity for a long-term shift of attitudes and leader supported action on avoidable single-use plastic. A number of Greater Manchester public sector bodies including District Councils, GM Social Care Partnership, Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have already made commitments to reduce their avoidable single-use plastics.

Work is progressing to develop a GM Plastics Roadmap and Plastic Pact for the Public Sector - a single, collaborative plan to reduce the consumption and avoid the use of problematic and avoidable single-use plastics across GMCA and partnering authorities. This includes a commitment to eradicate avoidable single-use plastic on the public estate by 2024.

Plastic-Free Campus

Universities and colleges offer an opportunity for a long-term shift of attitudes and leader supported action on plastics.

In partnership with the National Union of Students, universities and further education colleges across Greater Manchester have pledged to work together towards a shared vision of eradicating avoidable single-use plastics from catering, labs and stationery by 2022. This is part of a wider commitment to lead the way on sustainability and achieve carbon-neutral campuses across Greater Manchester by 2038.

The first step is to develop a shared plastic-free campus blue-print for all Greater Manchester’s further and higher educational institutions.


Greater Manchester launched the first city-region-wide plan to drive down avoidable single-use plastics in 2018. #PlasticFreeGM is focussed on the tourism and hospitality sector as this is typically where larger quantities of single-use plastics are used. Its aim is to move organisations in this sector towards more sustainable alternatives and pledge to take action to reduce avoidable single-use plastics across Greater Manchester. #PlasticFreeGM is delivered in partnership with campaigning partners across our city-region.

Greater Manchester launches first city-region wide plan to drive down single-use plastics
• Visit the Plastic-Free Greater Manchester campaign website to find out how you can reduce single-use plastic at work
• Visit the Recycle for Greater Manchester website to find out how you can reduce single-use plastic at home 

Refill campaign

Refill, the award-winning campaign to prevent plastic pollution by connecting people with free tap water has launched in Greater Manchester with the installation of the first water fountain in Bury as part of a pilot scheme. It marks the start of a growing network of free indoor and outdoor water refilling stations across the region to reduce the number of plastic bottles going into our waterways.

The new outdoor water fountains in Bury have been funded by environmental consultancy Eunomia, a leading researcher into marine plastics and microplastics. The water fountains will form part of a larger network being rolled out across the city-region, coordinated by Refill, United Utilities and the GMCA.

GM Green Carrier Scheme

In support of the city-region’s environmental ambition, the GM Green Carrier Scheme has launched in Greater Manchester. Through an initiative with GMCA, the scheme offers retailers in the region the opportunity to purchase cost-neutral compostable carrier bags for use in their own stores. The bags have a dual use as a carrier bag and as a food waste caddy liner. The bags are available to all retailer’s operating within the 10 boroughs of the GMCA.