Plan approved to reduce waste and create circular economy in Greater Manchester

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A new plan which sets out how Greater Manchester businesses and residents can reduce waste and create a more circular economy is to be rolled out.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) approved its Sustainable Consumption Plan (SCP) on 24 June 2022. The SCP supports the region’s five-year Environment Plan which was launched at the GM Green Summit in 2019.

GMCA says the SCP highlights what is needed to move Greater Manchester’s businesses to a model that is more reliant on reusing and recycling materials and how to empower residents to make more sustainable lifestyle choices, helping to achieve the region’s ambitions of becoming 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 in Greater Manchester, the SCP Plan highlights a need for industries to produce more sustainable products that are in use longer and use raw materials as a last resort.

GMCA says its waste contractor, SUEZ UK, is already leading the way by repairing and upcycling household items which would have been thrown away at the household waste recycling centres.

GMCA says it will work with partners to drive innovation in the city region, exploring ways to help businesses with this culture change.

This will involve creating a `business to business’ platform which will bring organisations in the city region together to find new ways of their industry working so they can create this type of circular economy that eliminates waste; starting with the textiles industry.

The SCP Plan will look to learn more about where waste is coming from throughout the city region, both from households and businesses, and use the data to help change business models and behaviours.

The SCP Plan also sets out proposals to cut down the amount of food wasted, alongside schemes to increase home growing and composting and redistributing unwanted or unused food to those facing financial difficulties.

GMCA says the SCP Plan will be delivered by a Challenge Group of public, private, third sector, and academic partners, formed under the GM Mission Based Approach, reporting to GMCA via the Green City Region Partnership. An annual implementation plan will also be developed and agreed with the Challenge Group to set key targets and priorities for each year.

GMCA Lead for Green City Region and Waste & Recycling, Cllr Neil Emmott, 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.

“We need to see waste as a design flaw, not part of the process. This means changing how products are made and used in our city region. The public sector can support this by changing the way we buy goods and services, but we need other consumers and producers to play their part. This plan gives us a framework to work together on making system-wide changes, beginning with a focus on food, plastics and textiles.

“A huge part of this is supporting our region’s businesses to operate in a way that causes the least amount of waste without impacting their success; moving away from the make, use, dispose model and instead adopting an approach of replacing the use of scarce resources with fully renewable, recyclable or biodegradable materials.”

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