'Alarming' rise in Parliament's use of plastic straws

'Alarming' rise in Parliament's use of plastic straws


Figures showing the number of straws purchased by Parliament has doubled in the last three years have been described as “pretty alarming”.

The number of straws bought has risen from 6,000 in 2014/15 to 12,250 in 2016/17, according to data from the House of Commons Commission.

The SNP’s David Linden uncovered the information by submitting a written parliamentary question.

The Glasgow East MP asked how many single-use plastic straws were dispensed by catering outlets on the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years.

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Lib Dem former minister Tom Brake, representing the commission, replied: “The exact number of single-use plastic straws dispensed by catering outlets on the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years is unknown.

“However the number of straws purchased by the House for this purpose was: 2012/13: 14,000; 2013/14: 16,250; 2014/15: 6,000; 2015/16: 9,000; 2016/17: 12,250.”

Reacting to the figures, Mr Linden said: “We as legislators should be taking a lead on this and the fact that the figure has doubled since 2014/15 is pretty alarming.

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“I will be using the next session of questions to the House of Commons Commission to raise this issue.”

Mr Linden said an initiative at Sunnyside Primary School, which is in his constituency, prompted him to ask for the figures.

He said it was “now incumbent on MPs to take action on this issue” and the statistics represented a “call for action to cut down on the use of plastic straws”.

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Dozens of senior Conservative MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, recently vowed to cut down on their plastic use during Lent – the latest in a series of efforts to further the party’s green credentials.

A House of Commons spokesman said: “The House Service is currently reviewing the sustainability and environmental management of single-use disposable plastics in the House of Commons.

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“A paper is to be submitted for discussion at the Administration Committee in March 2018 outlining the initiatives that can be taken forward to reduce the consumption of single-use disposable plastics on the estate and increase recycling rates of all waste materials.”

:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

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