The University of Manchester has committed to eliminate ‘avoidable’ single-use plastics by 2022 in support of the city’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and plastic use.

The university will work with its Students’ Union to implement the initiative that will cover catering, labs and stationery. It will also contribute to the City of Manchester’s goal to become zero-carbon by 2038.

In an effort to tackle plastic waste, the university has saved 338kg of waste last year through the use of reusable cups.

It has also taken measures to save around 10,000 plastic pens, 10,000 plastic straws, 15,000 plastic bottles, as well as 48,000 bathroom shampoo and soap bottles across its hotel and conferencing facilities each year.

The Students’ Union of the University of Manchester has opened a student-run zero-waste shop to offer dried goods, bread, honey and cleaning products. It will ask customers to bring their own containers or bags.

“We are determined to fully contribute to a vitally important local project which has global repercussions.”

University of Manchester social responsibility vice-president professor James Thompson said: “The University itself is estimated to be responsible for 5.9% of the city’s carbon emissions and, through our network of suppliers, 12,000 staff and 40,000 students, we can play an important role in driving change and influencing behaviour on climate change and resource use.

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“We know that these are challenging targets, but along with our partners we are determined to fully contribute to a vitally important local project which has global repercussions.”

The university is also leading a multi-million-pound research project to improve plastic recycling and explore sustainable alternatives.