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

Paper bee straws are creating a plastic-free buzz around Greater Manchester

Bee-themed paper straws have been launched at bars and restaurants across Greater Manchester as part of a step-change approach to eradicating single-use plastics across Greater Manchester.

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’s aim of a plastic-free Greater Manchester by 2020 and supporting the wider Green City Region portfolio led by Councillor Alex Ganotis.

The straws are made entirely from paper and are embossed with the now iconic Manchester bee design.

More than 130 businesses within the hospitality and catering industries have signed up to the Plastic Free Greater Manchester Pledge that aims to eradicate avoidable, single-use plastics within the sector. The straws are part of a much larger campaign supported by Corin Bell, Director of social enterprise Real Junk Food Manchester, who’s providing plastic and waste audits for businesses alongside the straws and point of sale information.

“This is just the first step towards meeting our ambitious target against single-use plastics”

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “This is just the first step towards meeting our ambitious target against single-use plastics and I urge all bars, restaurants, and hotels to get on board with the campaign. Your involvement will make a real difference to the fight against plastic pollution”.

Eliminating the use of avoidable single-use plastics is no easy task and can only be achieved by working together and I commend those who’ve already joined us.

Thanks to Corin and Henry for their continued support. They’re great examples of business leaders championing change.”

Corin Bell, Director of Real Junk Food Manchester, is supporting the campaign providing plastics and waste audits, supported by local sustainability organisations Manchester Friends of the Earth and SeaStraw. She said: “The plastic and waste audits are a great way to support businesses making the right choices. There are a lot of so called ‘eco’ products on the market and we’re committed to providing clear and practical advice to food and drink businesses that sets them up to succeed in making sustainable choices.”

The straws have been produced by Stockport based catering equipment suppliers Stephensons.

Henry Stephenson, Managing Director of Stephensons, said: “The interest in the paper straws has been fantastic and shows how businesses of all shapes and sizes are ready to sign up and play their part in a plastic free Greater Manchester. The first batch will hit bars and restaurants this week and many more have made a commitment to take part.”

Sign the pledge


On this site you’ll find lots of information, advice and guidance to help you reduce the amount of single-use plastics you use. We want to help you make the right choices – whether that’s choosing to remove some products (always the best option), choosing a re-usable alternative (next best option) or switching to easily recyclable items.

The first step is to sign our pledge and commit to take action to reduce avoidable single-use plastics across Greater Manchester. By making a commitment today you can help to make Greater Manchester one of the greenest UK city regions. We are always adding new content to our site so keep checking back for further information.  

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