Queen goes green in war on plastic
QUEEN Elizabeth II has declared war - on plastic - with a new waste plan put into place across the royal estates.
The environmentally-conscious move was said to be inspired by nature documentarian and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, after the pair worked together on a documentary about wildlife in the Commonwealth, according to The Telegraph.
Buckingham Palace has said the royal household has a "strong desire to tackle the issue" and would do so by cutting back plastics, such as straws and plastic bottles.
A spokesman for the 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," he said.
These steps would include phasing out plastic straws in public cafes and banning them completely from staff dining areas.
Royal cafe takeaway food containers will now be compostable or biodegradable, while those working and living within Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will only be able to use crockery and glasses, or recyclable cups.
The initiative comes after the EU announced plans to make all plastic in Europe recyclable or reusable by 2030.
The Queen's stance follows that of her son Prince Charles, who often talks about environmental issues, including the damage plastic garbage is doing to the oceans.
Last year he said climate change was "catastrophically underestimated" and urged that world leaders act urgentally to protect our marine environments.
Prince Charles has a long history of environmental advocacy and established the International Sustainability Unit in 2010 to address major environmental challenges across the globe including marine degradation, deforestation and animal conservation.
He has even weighed in on the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, saying: "The fact that significant portions of the Great Barrier Reef on Australia's eastern coast have been severely degraded or lost over the last few years is both a tragedy and also, I would have thought, a very serious wakeup call," he said.
According Cleanup.org.au, an estimated 1 trillion plastic bags are used and discarded worldwide each year - and many of those bags are only used once.
Australians alone use around 5 billion plastic bags a year - with some 50 million entering the litter stream.
Single-use bags will soon be banned across all states and territories in Australia, except NSW. Meanwhile, major supermarkets - Coles, Woolworths and IGA - have already announced they will phase out single-use plastic bags this year.