BBC to ban single-use plastics by 2020 after Blue Planet II

13th February 2018 | Recycling

The BBC is to ban single-use plastics by 2020, after TV series Blue Planet II highlighted the scale of sea pollution. First, throwaway plastic cups and cutlery will be scrapped by the end of this year, followed by plastic containers in canteens by 2019. By 2020, the BBC hope to be free of single-use plastic across all sites.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said he had been “shocked” by the plastic waste featured in last year’s nature documentary. Two million plastic cups are currently used by BBC visitors and staff annually. The decision comes after the Queen backed efforts to reduce single-use plastics on Britain’s royal estates.

The Scottish Parliament also announced plans to ban plastic straws, following similar announcements by restaurants including Pizza Express, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon.
Announcing its three-step plan on Tuesday, the BBC said some of its kitchens had already started replacing plastic cups with glasses.

Single-use plastics

A trial will be launched at its site in Salford later this month to remove plastic containers from canteens and test a coffee cup recycling scheme. Any new contracts which come up for tender will also include a requirement to cu single-use plastic.

Lord Hall said, “Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic. We all need to do our bit to tackle this problem, and I wand the BBC to lead the way. Scrapping throwaway plastic cups and cutlery is the first step, and with out plan I hope we can have a BBC free of single-use plastic altogether.”

Each year 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced and 40% of it is single-use, meaning it is only used once before being thrown away. More than eight million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s seas each year, with most of that coming from land.

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