The Challenge

Currently we produce way too much waste that causes damage to our environment. We pollute the air when we make things. We increase carbon and greenhouse gas emissions when we dispose of the things we no longer want. And we pollute our land and rivers when our rubbish ends up as litter.

We want to build a Circular Economy in Greater Manchester and stop the cycle of making, buying, using, and then throwing away. A place where we make better products that last longer and are made and packaged from recycled or more eco-friendly materials. Things that can be repaired, reused and every bit can be easily recycled. Creating new products from old ones. In a Circular Economy, if your washing machine stopped working it would be designed to be easily repaired. When it eventually broke, it would be collected, taken apart and the materials would be reused and recycled.

There are small changes we can all make too. If each one of us made a change it would make a big difference!

What we need to do

To have a positive effect in Greater Manchester we need to:

  • Stop producing so much waste. Instead of making, using and throwing away, we need to re-use, mend and design things that are better for our planet.
  • Cut pollutants that factories and industry produce. Industrial emissions need to fall by just over a third by 2025 and up to two thirds by 2040.
  • Recycle all we can. Making sure we are putting the right things in the right bin. By 2035 we need to be recycling 65% of what we throw away. Now we are recycling just 48%.

What are we doing?

We are working with lots of people and organisations across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of the benefits of becoming more circular and manage our waste better. This is called our mission-based approach.

We are:

  • Supporting new ideas to help us recycle more, make better products that use less raw materials and create less waste.
  • Building on the Plastic Free GM campaign and Plastic Pact for the public sector to reduce avoidable single use plastics.
  • Developing a Zero Waste Strategy to set out our approach to becoming a zero waste city region.
  • Producing a Food Vision, a web-based toolkit and a delivery model to explore how Greater Manchester can become a sustainable food city region.
  • Raising awareness in the Public Sector with more training on carbon literacy and looking at how we can embed sustainable procurement within our organisation.
  • Delivering communication campaigns to help people and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as they can, including the launch of three new ReNew shops to rehome preloved household items.
  • And we have launched this new website to show the progress the city region is making in achieving its long-term environmental vision and becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

Take a look at some of our work in Greater Manchester

Buy Eat Keep Repeat

Over a ¼ of waste in the general rubbish bin at home is food. Keeping food out of the bin is not only better for the planet but it’s better for your pocket too. The ‘Buy, Keep, Eat, Repeat’ campaign offers simple tips to help everyone plan their meals better, store food correctly, use up leftovers and recycle or compost any avoidable food waste.


PlasticFreeGM asks businesses, organisations and individuals to pledge to take action to reduce avoidable single use plastics across Greater Manchester. By making better choices about the products we use, the way we work, and the way we live our live, we can all make a positive change to our city-region.

Refill Greater Manchester

Aiming to drastically reduce plastic pollution through single use plastic bottles, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Untied Utilities have joined forces with Refill Manchester to make free tap water accessible throughout the region.

Renew: Preloved items for you, your home and garden

We’ve opened three Renew shops in Greater Manchester. These shops sell pre-loved household items at an affordable price and are located at three of our recycling centres. The aim of the Renew shops is to reduce waste, reuse unwanted items and increase recycling rates. Many of the items donated by residents would have otherwise gone to waste.

Good Food Greater Manchester

The Good Food GM partnership brings organisations together to help  our city-region strategically improve our food system. Together, we’re  tackling issues including procurement, food poverty, waste, environmental impacts, and diet-related illness.

One bin to rule them all

The ‘One bin to rule them all’ project aims to improve compliance with recycling by developing ‘One bin’ to hold all plastic-like items and improving recycling infrastructure to create more usable recycled plastics that can be fed back into a circular economy. The ‘One bin to rule them all project’ is a consortium led by The University of Manchester alongside 17 companies and local and national authorities.



Recycle for Greater Manchester
Five Year Environment Plan
Five Year Environment Plan Summary
GM Green City Logo