The UK Parliament is replacing single-use plastic cutlery, coffee cups and lids, soup containers, takeaway food containers, salad boxes, and drinking straws with compostable alternatives that will be treated at a specialist waste facility.
The Parliament announced the introduction of a new range of compostable products to replace existing single-use plastic items.
The supreme legislative body plans to eliminate all cases of avoidable single-use plastics from both Houses by 2019.
Reusable coffee cups were introduced in June this year, and the compostable range of items is due to be introduced throughout October 2018.
From October this year, the Parliament will stop selling bottled water, eliminating 120,000 plastic bottles from circulation per year.
A sustainable alternative will be used to replace plastic condiment sachets, which have also been identified as unnecessary.
The Commons Administration Committee’s chair Paul Beresford said: “The measures we are introducing are ambitious and wide ranging, covering not just coffee cups but an array of items from plastic bottles, our new compostable products, to condiment sachets and stationery.
“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.”
UK based firm Vegware provided the new compostable products range, which is made from sustainably-sourced board, and biopolymers PLA and CPLA that are derived from plant starch.
Waste service provider Bywaters will take the used disposables to the in-vessel composting facility, where waste products will initially be shredded. The composting process will then be carried out by naturally occurring micro-organisms already in the waste.
The Parliament said the materials in the products range is made from biodegrade at the similar rate as paper and the process results in better compost.
Compostable products are one of various measures announced earlier this year. Additional changes due to be implemented include phase out of plastic carrier bags in retail outlets on the Parliamentary Estate during 2018-19.
Plans also include trials of reusable warehousing, delivery and packaging solutions to further reduce single-use avoidable plastics.