LONDON, UK – The Liberal Democrats said the figures showed UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove (PICTURE) “needs to get his own house in order,” after he vowed yesterday to tackle plastic pollution.
516,000 disposable coffee cups have been purchased by DEFRA’s catering and facilities providers in the last year alone, for use in restaurants and cafés across the Department’s offices.
The catering contractors did not previously provide any reusable cups, but purchased 200 reusable cups on the 31st October 2017, after the Department received a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats.
Figures uncovered by the party have revealed the House of Commons is also failing to get to grips with coffee cup waste, having got through almost four million disposable cups in the past five years.
657,000 disposable cups have been purchased by the Commons’ catering service in the last year alone, equivalent to 1,000 per MP. 500 reusable “Keep cups” were purchased in 2013, but only four of these have been sold in the last three years.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of a charge on disposable coffee cups in the Budget, following the success of the party’s plastic bag charge which has reduced usage in England by 85% since it was introduced.
Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron commented:
“It’s astounding that the department which is supposed to be protecting our environment is responsible for such a colossal amount of waste.
“Millions of plastic cups have been thrown away by the government, some of which will now be polluting our seas, rivers and countryside.
“Michael Gove needs to get his own house in order.
“A coffee cup charge should be introduced in the Budget to tackle waste and encourage the use of reusable cups, including in the civil service and Parliament.
“Just like the plastic bag charge, this would reduce unnecessary waste while raising millions for charity.”