Plastic bottles and coffee cups culled in Commons waste crackdown

Posted On: 
15th May 2018

House of Commons bosses will ban the sale of plastic bottles in the Palace of Westminster in the coming months as part of a mass crackdown on disposable waste.

It comes amid a government push to cut plastic waste
Credit: 
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Non-recyclable coffee cups will be replaced with combustible models carrying an extra 25p charge, while staff will be encouraged to buy reusable alternatives.

Meanwhile, sauce sachets will be culled in favour of refillable containers, and plastic bags in parliamentary shops will be replaced by paper bags next year.

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Chair of the Commons Administration Committee Sir Paul Beresford hailed the changes as “pioneering steps” in the fight against plastic.

It comes amid a government drive, inspired by BBC series Blue Planet II, to cut down on plastic waste in a bid to save the world’s oceans.

Parliament throws away some 125,000 plastic water bottles a year and a whopping 753,000 coffee cups and 335,000 sauce sachets.

From summer this year the estate will sell its own reusable coffee cups and will give customers money off if they are used at canteens.

Elsewhere, plastic cutlery and food containers will be replaced by compostable alternatives and “recycled effectively”, while efforts will be made to ensure suppliers cut single use-plastics in other goods.

Sir Paul - who recommended the proposals - said: “I am delighted to unveil the pioneering steps that we are taking to tackle single use avoidable plastics in Parliament.

“The measures we are introducing are ambitious and wide ranging, covering not just coffee cups but an array of items from plastic bottles and straws to condiment sachets and stationery.

“Our aim is to remove, as far as possible, disposable plastic items from the Parliamentary Estate.”

He added: “Our challenging targets reflect Parliament’s commitment to leading the way in environmental sustainability.

“I am looking forward to tracking our progress over the next 12 months as these changes are implemented, and will be proudly drinking my coffee from a House of Commons reusable cup.”

Lord Laming, Chair of the House of Lords Services Committee, said: “I am delighted that Parliament will now be going much further to reduce the impact we make on the environment.”

The announcement forms part of a wider parliamentary strategy to help the natural environment - including boosting energy and water efficiency and cutting down on waste.

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "This is an important first step to creating the world’s first plastic-free Parliament.

“Parliament’s action stands in stark contrast to Ministers who consult, announce and re-announce, but never seem to do anything to turn back the plastic tide."