Plastic Free Parliament

Earlier in the year, Parliament announced a comprehensive range of steps to drastically reduce its consumption of single-use plastics. This month, Parliament announced the introduction of a new range of compostable products, alongside three other measures, to replace existing single-use plastic items.

Key changes that will be implemented during Phase 2 (October 2018):

  • Switching the non-recyclable catering disposable itemssuch as take-away boxes, soup containers, take-away cups and cutlery with sustainably sourced, plant-based and certified compostable alternatives.  800 new blue pedal bins will be distributed to all tea points and across most offices to ensure these items can be separated and sent to a specialist facility.  An in-vessel composting method will use a combination of heat and microbes to turn the waste into compost fit for any garden. 
    A range of posters, bin labels and an FAQ will help guide you to put the right waste in the right bin – and the Environment Team will also be holding ‘drop-in’ stalls at locations across the Estate during forthcoming months.
  • Bottled water in plastic bottles will no longer be on sale in Parliament, immediately eliminating approximately 120,000 plastic bottles annually.  The availability of water dispensers has been increased (please follow this link for locations of your nearest water dispenser) and chilled water will also be sold in aluminium cans in catering venues in both Houses.
  • Customers purchasing hot drinks served in single-use take-away cups will be charged 25p extra, which will contribute to the increased costs to Parliament associated with the reduction in plastic strategy.
  • Plastic sachets have not been used in Lords outlets for some time and following successful trials in the Members’ Tea Room and Terrace Cafeteria, customers will be able to serve themselves condiments from refillable dispensers or condiment bottles across all Commons catering venues, eliminating the need for plastic sachets across the Estate.

Key changes implemented during Phase 1 (June 2018):

These initiatives are just four of several measures announced earlier this year with the ambitious aim of eliminating single-use avoidable plastics from both Houses by 2019.  The first phase of the plan saw the introduction of re-usable coffee cups in June this year, with more than a thousand cups already sold to MPs, Peers, visitors, and staff working in Parliament.

The cups are 300ml, dishwasher safe and competitively costed at £3.00. Customers are encouraged to use them by earning extra loyalty points (Commons) or continuing to receive a 10p discount (Lords).

These integrated measures will virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. 

Key changes that will be implemented during Phase 3 (from 2019):

  • Plastic carrier bags will continue to be phased out in retail outlets on the Parliamentary Estate;
  • Parliament will promote greener stationery items in partnership with our stationery provider, to reduce the environmental impact of our consumption;
  • Revised procedures will be implemented to incorporate the environmental impact of packaging into the weighting of relevant procurement and tender exercises. to incentive suppliers to reduce the amount of single-use avoidable plastics in their goods and services;
  • Reusable warehousing, delivery and packaging solutionswill be trialled, further reducing single-use avoidable plastics.