Buckingham Palace has outlined new waste plans and measures to phase out single use plastics throughout the Royal household, following a personal commitment by the Queen herself.
Plastic straws will be phased out in public cafes and will be banned from staff dining rooms, whilst glass bottles will replace plastic bottles of water in household and estate meetings.
In the Royal Collection cafes, takeaway food items must also be packaged in compostable or biodegradable materials and plastic bottles will be phased out.
Furthermore, internal caterers will only be permitted to use china plates, glasses, and recyclable paper cups at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing a refurbishment programme to make the royal residence more green.
£369 million will be spent over 10 years to replace electrical cabling and heating systems which date back to before the Second World War.
Solar panels and an anaerobic digestion unit, which generates biogas from food and organic waste, are also being fitted to improve the palace’s energy efficiency by 40%.
The scheme may also include solar thermal panels, electrical heating, ground source heat pumps, and fuel cells, with the refit estimated to save 554 tons of carbon annually.
In addition, companies applying for Royal Warrants must now also provide proof that they are not contributing to pollution levels.
The planned updates and renovations are thought to be at the personal request of Her Majesty, who developed a greater interest in the problem of plastics following discussions with Sir David Attenborough during a conservation documentary, which focused on wildlife in the Commonwealth.
The programme discussed plans for a network of national forested parks to be created across the 53 Commonwealth nations.
Sir David made a further case against plastic in the ocean in the recent BBC series Blue Planet II.
Prince Charles has similarly spoken on the damage done to oceans by dumped plastic and recently warned of the `escalating ecological and human disaster’ facing the world from refuse in international waters.
Earlier this month, the Prince of Wales met with Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, PepsiCo UK, environmentalists and scientists to discuss tackling the issue, and last year collaborated with yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur to offer a financial prize for ideas on preventing plastic contamination of the ocean.
Most plastic packaging items are single use and are discarded, which pollutes the environment.
Around 16 million plastic bottles are binned, rather than recycled, daily in Britain, and of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, 10% will end up in the sea.
Already it is estimated that the ratio of plastic to plankton is 1:2, and plastic will outweigh fish by 2050 in the world’s oceans if strong enough measures are not taken.
Marine animals become sick or die when they accidentally ingest plastic or chemicals leaked into the water, which they cannot digest, and studies show that humans who eat seafood ingest 11,000 pieces of microplastic annually.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: “Across the organisation, the Royal Household is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
“As part of that, we have taken a number of practical steps to cut back on the use of plastics.
“At all levels, there's a strong desire to tackle this issue.”
Read More: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales points out the vital importance of the oceans to all life on earth, and urges Commonwealth countries to play a positive role in ensuring that worthy commitments are turned into practical action