As part of Greater Manchester’s five-year Environment Plan, which was launched back in 2019, this week has seen the unveiling of a ‘Sustainable Consumption Plan‘ – which sets out how Greater Manchester businesses and residents can reduce waste and create a more “circular economy“.
The plan highlights a need for the region to move to a model that is more reliant on reusing and recycling materials – as well as empowering residents to make more sustainable lifestyle choices – helping to achieve the goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2038.
The plan sets out four priorities to do this – moving to a circular economy, managing waste sustainably, reducing food waste and moving to sustainable lifestyles.
To create a circular economy, the Sustainable Consumption Plan highlights a need for industries to produce more sustainable products that are in use longer to move away from being a “throwaway” society – with new raw materials only used as a last resort.
To support this, the region will create “business to business” platforms to bring organisations together to find new ways of working to create a circular economy, eliminating waste.
To manage waste sustainability, the Sustainable Consumption Plan will use data to learn about where waste is coming from in the city region and help change business models and behaviours.
With more than 70 per cent of food waste being created by households, and the current cost-of-living crisis, the plan also sets out proposals to cut down the amount of food wasted. Schemes to increase home growing and composting, as well as redistributing unwanted or unused food to those facing financial difficulties, are also in development.
Cllr Neil Emmott, GMCA Lead for Green City Region and waste & recycling, said: “As our society faces more economic pressures, we need to help people and businesses reduce avoidable waste, which can also reduce bills. We need to keep products and materials in use for longer to reduce pressure on the environment.
“Globally, we currently extract three times the number of natural resources than we did over 30 years ago. This figure is also expected to more than double by 2060 if we don’t make significant changes now.”
“We need to – and will – explore new ways of ensuring food that would be going to waste is going to those who really need it. This will support our commitment to creating a greener future, but a fairer one too.
“We all have a part to play in making the changes we need so, as a city region, we are more resilient and are living more sustainably and we’ll continue to work hard to create more awareness on how people and businesses can reduce their negative impact on the planet.”