We only have one world, and we hear from the experts how fragile it is and how threatened it’s become from global warming and climate change. One of the most effective things we can do as a nation to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce our waste and to re-use and recycle more of the waste we produce. The recycling story across Greater Manchester is one that we should all be proud of, taking us from single figures to over 50% in 2019, not only has this reduced our carbon footprint but has also delivered significant savings to the residents of Greater Manchester.
In Tameside, it is estimated that we spend £26m per annum in avoidable costs to the health system. When you couple that with the fact that 30% of trips under 1km in Greater Manchester are made by car, the equivalent of 15 minutes walking or 4 minutes cycling, the benefits and need for an improved system becomes instantly clear. Not only is walking and cycling good for our health, but it reduces congestion and will improve air quality.
Over at the Trust, we have recently launched Save Planet Tameside and Glossop – a campaign to do what we can within our healthcare system to bring about change for the better.
We have removed all plastic from our restaurant. That includes knives, forks, spoons, and food packaging, these have been replaced with more sustainable wooden and paper alternatives. The changes we have made in the restaurant will dramatically reduce our plastic usage by over 9000kg a year. Also to reduce our single use plastic use, we did a bottle exchange across our sites in Tameside and Glossop at the end of 2019. Anyone who brought a used plastic bottle could exchange it for a stylish ‘Save Planet Tameside and Glossop’ biodegradable bottle.
Tameside Council has also engaged with businesses at Ashton Market Hall to eliminate the use of single use plastic across the organisation, including an innovative biodegradable carrier bag alternative. One of the more recent developments that we are particularly proud of is our joint working with the Coop group to produce compostable carrier bags that we can all use as food caddy liners across GM.
Tameside is also about to turn a deeper shade of green following a successful application to the £10 million Urban Tree Challenge Fund. Fifty will be planted on Lees Road in Ashton, with the rest in Haughton Green at Mancunian Road (100) and Lancaster Road (70). The £92,000 grant will also pay for the first three years of their care.
We can only make a real difference - we can only Save Planet Tameside and Glossop - if we work together. Small steps turning into bigger steps…