The Queen has ordered all of her royal residences to ban single-use plastics, reputedly after seeing David Attenborough’s documentary, Blue Planet II.
Buckingham Palace announced that multiple measures will be put in place at the sites of Her Majesty’s royal residences of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse, in order to help the planet’s fight against plastics; this includes ending the use of plastic straws in public cafes at royal residences, and in staff dining rooms.
Internal catering staff will now only be permitted to use glass, china plates, recyclable paper cups and biodegradable packaging for takeaway food items. Water at staff meetings will now only be served in glass bottles, too.
In addition to this, the recycling of certain plastics will form part of new contracts with waste management companies, and a new ‘green’ newsletter with updates on the environment will regularly go out to royal household staff.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: “Across the organisation, the Royal household is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
“As part of that, we have taken a number of practical steps to cut back on the use of plastics. At all levels, there’s a strong desire to tackle this issue.”
The move comes after multiple companies have committed to reducing plastic usage, following the BBC’s Blue Planet II, which showed the devastating impact that plastic waste has on sea-life and the ecosystem. This includes animals ingesting plastic, mistaking it for food, or items becoming lodged in or on them.
Currently, Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste each year, but less than 30% of this is recycled.
Last year, The Prince of Wales described the issue as “one of the most troubling environmental trends”, noting how the world had “turned a blind eye” to the problem, adding “we cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue.”
The Prime Minister has also weighed in on the issue, stating that plastic waste is “one of the great environmental scourges of our time!”
Theresa May went on to say, “In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.” She has also stated her aim to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.
The Monarch is thought to have developed a personal interest in the issue after working with Sir David Attenborough on a conservation documentary dealing with wildlife across the Commonwealth. The Queen was filmed laughing with Sir David, while recording the programme which discussed The Queen’s desire to create a network of national forested parks across the 52 (now 53 since the Gambia rejoined recently) nations of the Commonwealth.