BBC reveals plan to end single-use plastics by 2020 after criticism from presenters

Helena Horton
Radio 5 Live's Rachel Burden criticised the BBC for its plastics use

The BBC has released a plan to end its use of single-use plastics after criticism from its staff.

5 Live presenter Rachel Burden tweeted earlier this month: "Someone needs to have a word with the bbc bosses in Millbank about their plastic consumption."

She included a photograph of a drawer-full of single-use plastic spoons.

Now, the BBC has announced that it will be curbing its use of the plastics, which pollute the environment.

The broadcaster is scrapping plastic cups and cutlery by the end of 2018, and says this will end the use of 2 million plastic cups by visitors and staff a year.

It also pointed out that several BBC sites have already begun to remove plastic cups from kitchens and replace with glasses wherever possible. 

There are plans to remove plastic containers from canteens by 2019, starting with a pilot in Salford this month, where a coffee cup recycling scheme will also be trialled.

The company will also be curbing the use of plastics in its catering, and only working with companies which will provide goods which are not wrapped in single-use plastic.

Tony Hall, BBC director general, 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 want the BBC to lead the way."

This comes as a tide of change has hit the UK after the success of Blue Planet II, which highlighted the harmful impact of plastic pollution on sea life.

Healthy fast food restaurant chain Leon has banned plastic straws throughout its restaurants, and has been followed by many other hotels, cafes and bars, including Soho House Group, Wahaca, Costa Coffee, Pizza Pilgrims and Jamie Oliver.

The Queen has also banned plastic straws and bottles from Royal estates as Buckingham Palace outlined new waste plans and said there was a ‘strong desire to tackle the issue’ at the highest levels of the Royal household.

Internal caterers at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will now only be allowed to use china plates and glasses, or recyclable paper cups.

Scotland also plans to ban plastic straws from the country by 2019, with the country's environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham telling the Daily Mail: "I would strongly encourage the big manufacturers of straws that the writing is on the wall and they need to be thinking about alternatives now."

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