UK Parliament has announced it will ‘virtually eliminate’ all single-use plastic packaging from Westminster by 2019 and that it is considering a 25p charge on hot drinks served in compostable cups.
Under the plan, plastic items including cups, straws, bags and water bottles will be banned from the Houses of Parliament and replaced with compostable and reusable alternatives. It will see 125,000 bottles removed from waste annually.
Customers and visitors attending Westminster will be served sauces from refillable containers, which will eliminate the need for plastic sachets, with compostable alternatives replacing all plastic items used in catering venues.
Reusable coffee cups will be available for purchase and consumers will receive incentives for refilling them. Paper carrier bags and branded fabric shopping bags will also replace plastic versions from next year.
Chair of the environmental audit committee Mary Creagh MP said: “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.”
“The government should follow the Parliament’s lead and introduce a ‘latte levy’ for coffee cups, a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles, and make sure that those who produce the packaging pay to recycle it.”
Chair of the commons administration committee Sir Paul Beresford MP was responsible for presenting the initiative to the House of Commons. He told the Guardian: “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.”
Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have pledged to contribute to the fight against plastics. Chair of the House of Lords services committee Lord Laming said: “Parliament has acknowledged the damaging effect single-use disposable plastic is having on the environment and that it must lead the way in valuing our environmental future over convenience.
“We all have a responsibility in this so it’s time to really start to think about the steps everyone can take to reduce their plastic use and I hope that the measures parliament will implement over the next 12 months will inspire other organisations and people to make changes in their everyday lives.”