One of the city’s biggest dining destinations, Corn Exchange Manchester, has announced it’s making a stand against unnecessary plastic waste, joining other high-profile venues and events in the city including the recently announced plastic straw ban at Parklife.

The Corn Exchange has made a bold pledge be completely plastic straw free by Christmas 2018, already executing a variety of environmental projects and encouraging its operators to decrease their Global footprint through waste reduction.

The Corn Exchange awarded their first ‘Eco Champion’ with a special award earlier this week. Six-year-old Ava helped inspire a movement when she wrote a letter (then aged 5) to Pizza Express bosses asking them to consider restricting the use of plastic straws as they “are very bad for animals. They get stuck in their mouths and noses.” She wrote. The restaurant chain honoured Ava’s request in January this year.

The anti-plastic movement has been recognised by Parliament and resulted in a national consultation into the banning of some prevalent single-use plastics announced by Theresa May at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Friday 19 April.

Liam Mooney, General Manager, Corn Exchange Manchester said; “When we heard that Ava was visiting family I invited her to have lunch at Pizza Express we reached out to her to ask her if she’d be our first ‘Eco Champion’ and learn how her letter had inspired not just Pizza Express but our entire scheme to review all our waste management practices.

“We plan to be 100% plastic straw free by Christmas 2018. Encouraging all our venues to stop using plastic straws is just a small part of what we’ve been doing however, we have projects now underway to reduce our Global footprint including glass waste reduction, reducing the frequency for collections and even the generation of energy from food waste which could be used to help power the scheme.”

The grade II listed building is home to 13 restaurants, who have pulled together to reduce plastic waste.

Andrew Coles from Corn Exchange owners Aviva Investors said; “We’re incredibly proud of our forward-thinking venues and for the efforts of our management team who constantly review our waste management practices to reduce our impact on the environment.

Restaurants taking part in the scheme to date include Alston Bar & Beef, Banyan, Cabana, Cosy Club, Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant, Mowgli, Pho, Pizza Express, Salvi’s, Tampopo, Vapiano, Wahaca and Zizzi.

Plastic straws are used in thousands of restaurants and bars across the country and as they are non-biodegradable, simply end up in landfill and waterways. The Marine Conservation Society estimates that the UK uses 8.5 billion straws every year.

With key brands, restaurants and businesses across the region joining the pledge, The Corn Exchange is leading the way by encouraging its range of big brand and independent restaurants to take part.

Cosy Club said: “We’ve been using PLA Compostable Drinking Straws since Tuesday 20 February 2018, PLA Compostable Drinking Straws are made of corn starch and subsequently can be discarded with food waste for natural composting – helping to reduce the impact on the environment and the quantity of waste being sent to landfill. We are also reducing straw usage in general by serving most drinks without them unless requested by the customer and only one in cocktails where we used to serve two.”

Cabana commented on its work to reduce waste: “Whilst we are committed to an overall reduction of straws within our restaurants, only using them in cocktails and kid’s drinks, we are pleased to report that all our straws are made of recycled material and are recyclable in plastic waste bins. Furthermore, all our plastic sacks are made from recycled material, whilst all our paper products are made from recycled materials and are certified by the FSE, meaning that for every tree chopped down, two are then planted.”

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