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Parliament’s single use plastic cups to vanish in months, say officials

A ‘latte levy’ will be introduced for new compostable cups, and water and plastic bottle are to go.

Single use plastics will be virtually eliminated from cafes, bars and restaurants in Parliament within months, officials have announced.

New compostable cups will be introduced for hot drinks but customers will be charged an extra 25p so-called latte levy for using them to “encourage” use of reusable alternatives.

Water in plastic bottles will stop being sold this summer and sachets of condiments will be replaced by dispensers.

Sir Paul Beresford , chairman of the Commons Administration Committee, said the plans were pioneering.

“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.

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

Around 150 million tonnes of plastic is languishing in the world’s oceans and the environmental catastrophe – highlighted by the BBC’s Blue Planet II series – sees a million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

In 2017, Parliament disposed of:

– 753,000 disposable cups plus 416,000 plastic lids

– 23,750 straws

– 330,000 condiment sachets

– 125,000 plastic water bottles

– 750,000 pieces of plastic cutlery

From summer, compostable cups and cutlery will be introduced and plastic bottles of water will no longer be sold.

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. Lord Laming, House of Lords Services Committee chairman

Plastic carrier bags will be replaced with paper ones in Parliament’s shops from 2019 and a “green” stationery catalogue will be used to allow staff to select environmentally friendly products.

Rules will be changed to allow officials to consider the environmental impact of packaging when they are buying supplies and reusable packaging will be trialled in the estate’s warehouses.

The plans are expected to cost £246,000 in the first year.

Lord Laming, chairman of the House of Lords Services Committee, 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.

“This review has taken a holistic approach to plastic reduction, considering everything from disposable cutlery to packaging.

“The House of Lords has already substituted plastic straws with compostable paper ones, and eliminated plastic condiment sachets: I am delighted that Parliament will now be going much further to reduce the impact we make on the environment.

“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.”

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