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Single-use plastic to vanish from Parliament

Parliament has agreed steps to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics drastically across the Palace of Westminster estate by 2019.

It said it will “virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics”, replacing them with compostable or reusable alternatives.

The measures have been estimated to cost £246,000 in their first year, which includes initial investments in bins for the compostable waste stream.

There are some 753,000 coffee cups disposed of each year and, from this summer, Parliament will stop purchasing non-recyclable varieties.

Plastic bottles of mineral water will disappear from this summer, removing 125,000 containers from Parliament’s waste each year.

Condiment sachets have already gone from the House of Lords and the Commons will follow suit, taking 335,000 sachets out of the annual waste stream.

Compostable alternatives will replace all disposable plastic items used in catering, and next year plastic carrier bags will be phased out in retail outlets in favour of paper ones.

Sir Paul Beresford, chair of the Commons Administration Committee, said: “The measures we are introducing are ambitious and wide ranging.

“Our aim is to remove, as far as possible, disposable plastic items from the parliamentary estate. Our challenging targets reflect Parliament’s commitment to leading the way in environmental sustainability.”

London firm Bywaters signed a five-year contract to provide recycling services for the parliamentary estate in 2016.

The estate’s recycling rate rose to 63% last year

The current recycling system is a mixed scheme which was introduced across Parlia­ment in January 2012.

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