Boris Johnson orders plastic to be binned from Britain’s diplomatic network
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) will eliminate avoidable single-use plastics from its UK operations by the end of the year, and from its global operations by 2020. It is the first UK government department to announce such a ban.
This ambitious target makes the FCO a leader in the fight against plastic pollution not just in the UK, but globally too.
In recent weeks, the FCO has already removed all plastic cups, crockery, cutlery, straws and single-use condiment sachets from its London staff canteen, and is providing re-usable or biodegradable alternatives.
It plans to increase its ‘latte levy’ from 10p to 50p to encourage staff to use their own mugs instead of disposable ones – and places the FCO firmly at the top of the pack in taking real action to end plastic waste.
The Foreign Secretary has set a deadline of year-end 2018 for the FCO to find alternatives to the remaining avoidable single-use plastics in use in its UK estate.
As well as a ban by year-end in the UK, the Foreign Secretary has given a 2020 target for its overseas estate, with a significant reduction this year.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "It is time for the world to truly wake up to the damage being done to the environment, and especially by the sheer volume of plastic that is dumped in our oceans.
"Since 2009 to 2010, the Foreign Office has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 39%, waste by 45%, paper consumption by 42% and water use by 12.9 million litres in our UK operations. But we must do more to reduce our use of plastic.
"I am confident we can meet the challenge put to us by the Foreign Secretary."
In addition, the FCO is looking at how it can further reduce its environmental impact beyond plastic.
Projects identified for consideration include replacing existing vehicles with electric hybrid vehicles, waste to energy projects, and a global automated energy monitoring and reduction programme.
The drive comes on the back of the launch of the government’s 25-Year Environment Plan last month, which set out measures to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 across the whole of the UK. ■