Manchester’s dreaming of a green Christmas

By John Whitney

Manchester’s Christmas Markets opened last Thursday – and council officials aim to keep them polystyrene-free zones for the first time in their 11 year history.

Manchester City Council has always been aware of its duty to be environmentally friendly at the markets, and for seven years have recycled glass and cardboard on a daily basis.

And this year the markets have gone one step further by ditching all polystyrene packaging and replacing it with biodegradable and recyclable materials.

City Centre Spokesperson Pat Karney said: “We’re proving that we take our global responsibilities seriously.”

Although polystyrene is recyclable, many recycling centres don’t accept it as they don’t have the necessary facilities.

And, because it’s made of up to 98% air, the space it takes up in collection and storage is seen as an inefficient use of council resources.

Market trader Dieter Krause added: “It’s a great idea – we should all make sure we recycle more.”

The ban on polystyrene follows the 2008 decision to introduce a glass and mug re-using scheme for drinkers of beer and mulled wine, which drastically cut the amount of rubbish produced through disposable plastic cups.

The scheme involves drinkers giving a £2 deposit for a glass or mug that is refunded on return, or alternatively kept as a souvenir in exchange for the deposit.

“It’s worked really well in the last few years and it’s something I’ve seen around Europe for a long time now,” added Dieter.       . 

“The glasses are taken away in the evening, cleaned and brought back to us in the morning. It works great.”

The Christmas markets are open until 21 December and are the biggest Manchester has seen so far, with stalls in Albert Square, St. Ann’s Square and New Cathedral Street amongst eight others.

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