The new compostable carrier bag. Co-Op HQ. Angel Square, Manchester. 19th September 2018. Photographer - Neil O'Connor (UNP).

Compostable carriers can soon be bagged by any retailer in Greater Manchester it has been unveiled this week as part of the region’s ambitious environmental vision.

The Greater Manchester Green Summit saw the launch of a 5-Year Environment Plan to take action against the major environmental challenges that threaten the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the region.

The plan includes news that thousands of retailer’s in the region will soon be able to purchase cost neutral compostable carrier bags for use in their own stores from next month. The green carriers are available to all retailer’s operating within the ten boroughs of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Shoppers who forget their bag for life could purchase the compostable carrier for 5p. The bags have a dual use as a food waste caddy liner, before local authority home food waste collections turn the food waste, and bag, into peat free compost – reducing unsightly litter and its harm to animals and marine life by keeping plastic out of the environment.

Michael Fletcher, Co-op’s Retail Chief Commercial Officer – speaking at the Green Summit earlier this week, said: “It is our aim to find more sustainable alternative solutions to plastic, while driving and delivering innovations for today. But we can’t do it alone, which is why partnerships are key to our plan and are essential as we work to together to keep plastics out of the environment and make a difference to the momentum for change.

“Co-op has the lowest plastic footprint of any retailer and, we are committed to eradicating single use plastic from our stores. We have, for instance, removed polystyrene from pizza bases, taken plastic out of our cotton buds and, we do not sell any products containing plastic microbeads. Last year Co-op rolled-out compostable carriers to over 1,000 stores, and I am pleased to announce that similar bags will be available through an initiative with GMCA. By sharing knowledge and, co-operating, we can enable every retailer in Greater Manchester to access compostable bags for their customers.”

Cllr Alex Ganotis, Portfolio Lead for Green City Region, added: “We face urgent and significant environmental challenges in Greater Manchester – the global impacts of climate change and environmental decline have been widely acknowledged as among the greatest economic and public health threats of this century. Our Five Year Environment Plan sets out how we will tackle these challenges in Greater Manchester, meeting our environmental responsibilities, alongside securing our economic future and wellbeing. To do this, it sets out a range of policies and commitments, as well as proposing actions that we all need to take to secure an excellent environment for our city region and contribute our fair share to tackling global climate change – Greater Manchester has a history of industrial and social innovation and we need to harness this to make sure everyone here can grow up and live in a clean and green city region, with good quality housing and secure jobs in the future economy.”

The Co-op first trialled compostable carrier bags with Oldham Council – where local authority cost savings and greater levels of resident engagement on recycling were recorded.


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