Manchester Friends of the Earth launch ‘plastic-free Christmas’ campaign

  • Newsletter launched by the environmental group to help people to reduce plastic use.
  • The group are working with Andy Burnham to encourage businesses to change their practices.
  • Legislative solution is sought nationally. 

With all the wrapping, decorations, and food that come with it, you might think Christmas is the worst time of year to think about going plastic-free. 

But the environmental group Manchester Friends of the Earth have this month launched a campaign encouraging people to go plastic-free this Christmas.

The group have produced a colourful newsletter packed full with ideas for top plastic-free swaps, how to shop for a plastic-free Christmas dinner and a map of plastic-free food and gift suppliers in Greater Manchester.

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth’s co-ordinator said: “Plastic is not only a problem at Christmas, it is a problem throughout the year. 

“The newsletter is a mechanism for encouraging people to think more generally about their life and what they are doing.”

Newsletter, Friends of the Earth, Christmas
Manchester Friends of the Earth’s plastic-free Christmas newsletter.

This comes after Mayor Andy Burnham launched a campaign throughout Greater Manchester to drive down the use, particularly among businesses, of single-use plastics.

Speaking about this campaign, Catherine said: “Particularly they are encouraging businesses to reduce their plastic, because a lot of the plastic we see used and thrown out for single use is in businesses. 

“We are going to be, as part of that campaign, visiting bars, restaurants, and other businesses, to make them aware of the campaign and encouraging them to change.”

The plastic-free campaign is not just limited to Greater Manchester. Nationally, Friends of the Earth are searching for a more long-term solution and are proposing an ‘End Plastics Pollution’ law that will guide government action to phase out all but the safest and most essential plastics.

Catherine said: “They are going to be looking at more long term systemic change which will be around encouraging government to legislate and to look at changing how we influence and can change big businesses practice.

“So it will be looking at things like supermarkets, and if they can change how they package their goods.

“There is very little industry or places where these plastics can be recycled or reused, and so they are having to be burned. Burning plastic to make a bit of energy is absolutely not the thing to do because it is very polluting and basically just another fossil fuel.”

There is no better time to go plastic-free than Christmas. Most people’s plastic consumption increases significantly, resulting in significant environmental harm.

Every year, the UK gives to landfill for Christmas:

  • 125,000 tonnes of plastic waste
  • 6 million Christmas trees
  • 1500 tonnes of fairy lights
  • 227,000 miles of recyclable wrapping paper