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House of Lords: Plastics

Question for The Senior Deputy Speaker

UIN HL10157, tabled on 6 September 2018

To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what action is being taken by the House of Lords Administration to reduce its use of plastic.

Answered on

20 September 2018

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chairman of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf.

In April 2018 the Services Committee endorsed a number of measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics:

A. Remove water in plastic bottles from sale in catering venues– This will be effective from October 2018, reducing plastic waste immediately.

B. Eliminate the consumption of plastic-lined take-away cups for hot drinks (through substitution) and reduce overall take-away cup waste– This will be effective from October 2018, with plastic-lined disposable cups replaced with a compostable alternative.

In addition, Catering & Retail Services (CRS) will continue to incentivise customers to use china mugs, or their own re-usable cups, when purchasing hot drinks by offering a 10p discount on every purchase. A 25p surcharge on all hot drinks purchased in a disposable take-away cup will be introduced from October 2018 for a twelve-month trial.

C. Substitute the remainder of CRS plastic disposable items– In early 2018 all plastic drinking straws supplied by Catering & Retail Services were replaced with compostable paper straws. Individual condiment sachets have also been replaced with condiment bottles. Remaining plastic catering disposable items used by Catering & Retail Services will be replaced with compostable alternatives from October 2018.

The plastic tumbler cups currently provided in meeting rooms and kitchen facilities will also be replaced with compostable cups.

To capture compostable disposable products (including take-away cups) effectively, 800 compostable waste bins have been purchased and will be deployed across the Estate during the 2018 conference recess.

D. Substitute single-use plastic carrier bags in Retail Services with carrier bags made from paper– The current plastic carrier bag stock is being depleted and alternative bags made from paper (using material from responsibly-managed, FSC-certified forests) have been identified as a replacement.

The following additional measures are being taken:

  • The development of a ‘green’ stationery catalogue, to reduce the consumption of single-use avoidable plastics in stationery purchasing (implementation anticipated for October 2018);
  • The development of a pilot for a re-usable packaging ‘totes’ scheme at the Off-Site Consolidation Centre for all deliveries (implementation anticipated for January 2019); and
  • The development of procedures for incorporating the environmental impact of packaging into the weighting of relevant procurement and tender exercises (implementation anticipated for November 2018).