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Make A Change


  Don’t create waste in the first place.


  Go re-usable wherever possible.



…choose items that can be easily recycled.

It is estimated that 50% of plastic products currently made are disposable, i.e designed to be used once and then thrown away.

Reducing the amount of avoidable single-use plastic we use can have a huge impact on our environment. With only 9% of the world’s plastic waste being recycled, and plastic items typically taking around 400 years to degrade (some releasing toxic chemicals in the process) we need to take action now.

Making the right choices

It’s not always easy to make the most sustainable choice, and any choice we make has an impact on our planet. #PlasticFreeGM aims to talk openly about the difficulties and pitfalls of trying to make sustainable choices, offering practical advice and support to businesses and organisations struggling to work out what steps to take for the best.

What is the best option?

Our aim is to stamp out avoidable single use plastics, and increase sustainable, reusable, compostable, and recyclable choices in Greater Manchester. The best option is to follow the waste hierarchy – it’s a good general rule for making decisions about how to act more sustainably.

  • Create no waste at all – This applies most to items like drinking straws, where you could make the decision to simply do without and only offer straws to people that need them.
  • Go reusable where possible – As a general rule, moving from disposable to reusable is more sustainable. This applies to items like plates and cutlery. There are a number of studies that show that overall, reusable crockery and cutlery is better for the planet than any type of disposable.
  • Choose items that can be easily recycled – If you are going to use single-use items, like take-out coffee cups, drinking straws, or napkins, try to make sure they are made from easily recyclable materials. As a business we advise that you always talk to your waste management company to make sure the alternative items you choose can be properly recycled or composted. In Greater Manchester, residents cannot put compostable items in their food and garden bin at home.


PlasticFreeGM is working with local sustainability organisations Manchester Friends of the Earth and Seastraw to really dig into the different options that are out there for businesses in terms of alternatives to single-use plastics. We are starting with a focus on food, drink and hospitality because it’s an industry where a lot of single-use plastic, and disposable items more generally, get used every day. Each fact sheet will tackle one product or issue, and will offer researched advice that takes into account carbon footprint, responsible disposal, recycling or composting routes, and other practical factors. We aim to make it easier for businesses to know that they are making the right choice in an area that can sometimes be baffling.

Takeaway Cups – Hot Drinks Drinking Straws Drinks Stirrers Take Away Food Containers Cold Drink Cups Cutlery



Scientists predict there will be
250 million metric tons of plastic
in the ocean by 2030.
By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans
than there are fish.


It is estimated that somewhere between 5 billion - 9 billion single-use plastic straws are thrown away in the UK every year


Plastic straws are used on
average for 20 minutes, but can
take over 400 years to degrade.

Success Stories

Reduce, Reuse, Refill, Repeat

REFILL. REFRESHED. City to Sea have taken their award-winning Refill campaign to the next level! Refill will always be a drinking water campaign, but plastic polluti....

Keeping reusable coffee cups on the menu

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Refill Greater Manchester

It's looking good for Greater Manchester to be one of the greatest Refillable regions in the UK! We're growing our network of local refill schemes day by day - so whethe....

Paper Bee Sip Straws

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M20 Refills

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Envirolution Festival

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Gronn Eco Salon

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Working with pubs, bars, restaurants and other businesses using disposable food items ...they help the businesses to transition to sustainable alternatives and become pl....

Paper Bee Straws

Paper bee straws are creating a plastic-free buzz around Greater Manchester Their arrival is part of a growing range of initiatives that all contribute towards the Mayor....


Grindsmith began as a paperless business ...but for owner Pete, that just simply was not enough! The next step was to use plastic packaging alternatives such as large re....


Fulfilled is the brain child of Abbie Sellers Abbie is a person on a mission to inspire and educate others to reduce their plastic waste footprint through sustainable sh....


The products on offer ...are free from single-use plastics, and the business was created in response to owner Nikki’s frustration at how difficult it can be to find pl....

#ChoosetoReuse #PlasticFreeGM

Living with less plastic is made easy thanks to the @Refill app!

It’s time to transition away from our disposable culture, towards systems of reuse and refill. Get the app and join the Refill Revolution!


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