MPs take big step towards a plastic-free Parliament

House of Commons will ban sale of plastic water bottles after campaign from MPs including Portsmouth’s Stephen Morgan

Parliament will end the use of plastic sachets and sales of mineral water in plastic bottles as MPs seek to dramatically reduce the Westminster’s plastic waste.

The list of new measures, announced by the Commons Administration Committee, have come following a long-term campaign from a group of MPs including Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan.

From coffee cups and straws to plastic bags and water bottles, these integrated measures will virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, replacing them with compostable alternatives or reusable options. This holistically designed approach to improving sustainability will minimise single-use plastic consumption across Parliament.

The key changes that will be implemented over the next 12 months include:

• Ending sales of mineral water in plastic bottles.

• Introducing a 25p charge for hot drinks purchased in disposable take away coffee cups (for a trial period).

• Selling re-usable coffee cups at competitive prices in catering outlets.

• Incentivising the use of reusable cups at Catering venues across the entire estate.

• Eliminating condiment sachets in the House of Commons by introducing condiment dispense units.

• Switching the non-recyclable catering disposable items such as coffee cups, cutlery and straws with compostable alternatives which can be recycled.

• Introducing a third bin system in offices to ensure the compostable items are separated effectively to enable them to be recycled.

• Substitute plastic tumblers with compostable cups across the estate.

• Substitute plastic carrier bags with paper ones in retail outlets.

• Implementing a ‘green stationery’ catalogue.

• Issuing revised guidance to assist House staff to score the environmental impact of packaging within relevant procurement exercises.

• Piloting a re-usable packaging ‘totes’ scheme at the Off-site Consolidation Centre (OSCC) for deliveries to the Estate.

In 2017 the House of Commons used almost 700,000 coffee cups, 733,000 pieces of plastic cutlery, and 334,800 condiment sachets.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

‘I am delighted our campaigning has paid off with this important first step in tackling single use avoidable plastics in Parliament.

It’s vitally important that, as the people who set the rules on environmental issues we in Parliament also set an example.

The Commons must lead the way in environmental sustainability and I look forward to continuing the campaign in Portsmouth’.