Michael Gove under fire after it’s revealed his department uses 1,400 disposable cups a day

Posted On: 
21st November 2017

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has been told to “get his house in order” after it was found that his department is using 1,400 disposable cups a day.

Michael Gove was appointed Environment Secretary in June this year
Credit: 
PA Images

New figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats reveal that over 2.5 million throwaway cups have been purchased by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the past five years – equivalent to 1,400 a day.

In the last year alone 516,000 disposable coffee cups have been purchased by DEFRA's catering and facilities providers, for use in restaurants and cafés across the Department's offices.

Michael Gove lays out vision for post-Brexit environment watchdog

Brexit poses real risk to the environment, says Labour MP

Sue Hayman on Brexit: The stakes couldn’t be higher for the future of the environment

The Environment Secretary has been a strong advocate for recycling and greater environmental protections, saying recently he was “haunted” by the effect of pollution on the world’s oceans.

But today’s revelations about his own department provoked outrage, with Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron saying:

"It's astounding that the department which is supposed to be protecting our environment is responsible for such a colossal amount of waste.

"Millions of plastic cups have been thrown away by the government, some of which will now be polluting our seas, rivers and countryside.

"Michael Gove needs to get his own house in order.

"A coffee cup charge should be introduced in the Budget to tackle waste and encourage the use of reusable cups, including in the civil service and Parliament.

"Just like the plastic bag charge, this would reduce unnecessary waste while raising millions for charity."  

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are committed to reducing unnecessary waste within the department and these figures show the number of disposable cups used has fallen by more than half since 2013. We are working with our suppliers to see what more can be done to further cut their use and promote recycling.”