Compostable cutlery, coffee cups, salad boxes and straws are being introduced in Parliament as it seeks to eliminate “avoidable” single-use plastic by 2019.
It has already sold more than 1,000 re-usable cups to MPs, peers, staff and visitors and will trial a 25p charge on hot drinks in disposable cups.
Parliament threw out 753,000 cups and 416,000 plastic lids in 2017.
Lord Laming said Parliament must “lead the way in valuing our environmental future over convenience”.
Parliament has also bought 800 bins for the compostable items, which will be sent to a specialist waste facility after use.
If a material is certified as compostable, it means that under specified conditions, it will break down within 12 weeks.
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It is also stopping selling bottled water and using condiment sachets, as part of its efforts to eliminate all “avoidable” single-use plastics in both Houses by 2019, amid concerns about the scale of plastic pollution in seas and rivers.
And there are plans to consider the environmental impact of packaging when it comes to procurement and tender decisions.
Sir Paul Beresford, chairman of the Commons Administration Committee, said: “I’m delighted to see significant progress being made in tackling single use avoidable plastics in Parliament… Our challenging targets reflect Parliament’s commitment to leading the way in environmental sustainability.”
Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Emma Priestland said it was “encouraging” that Parliament was reducing its use of plastic and urged it to “focus on sorting out the rest of the country”.
“Plant-based compostable plastics usually need to be collected separately and sent to special facilities – something many households simply don’t have access to,” she said.
“If we really want to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution, ministers should focus on the phase-out of all non-essential single-use products – whatever type of plastic they are made from.”
The BBC’s Blue Planet II, which highlighted the damaging impact single-use plastic is having on the world’s oceans, was the most-watched TV show of 2017. Scores of businesses have signed up to the UK Plastics Pact to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years.
Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042, as part of the government’s 25-year plan to improve the natural environment.
In June, the UN said more than 50 nations were taking action to reduce plastic pollution. India has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.
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