LONDON, UK – Over half a million disposable plastic coffee cups have been completely removed from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’ UK Estate since the introduction of a 50p levy in April. Biodegradable coffee cups are now provided as an alternative, but staff are encouraged to use their own mugs.
This is a significant change from last year, when hot beverage cups accounted for 48% of plastic waste in FCO catering.
The achievement was announced by the Foreign Office Minister of State Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon on the occasion of his attendance the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Kenya, and the first ministerial meeting of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, which has made eliminating plastic pollution from oceans its top priority.
Since February, the Foreign Office has successfully eliminated 97% of single-use plastics (SUPs). This means that around 1.56 million pieces of plastic have been removed from the UK estate annually. Per person, this means a drop in avoidable single use plastics from 310 to 10 in just 10 months.
To cut other catering-related waste at the UK Estate, the FCO has removed plastic cups, take-away cutlery, food containers, and drinks bottles. These have been entirely replaced with vegware biodegradable alternatives
The remaining 3% of plastic waste still produced is currently unavoidable, since it is within the supply chain. The FCO is committed to working with its partners and implementing the necessary changes as they become possible within the industry.
The FCO is the leading government department in plastic waste reduction and is sharing its experience across Whitehall and internationally. Looking to the future, it will continue to champion the elimination of avoidable SUPs from all its overseas estates by the end of 2020. It will also launch the #FuturePerfect programme which aims to save £20 million from the FCO’s energy bills by 2025.