Queen Elizabeth hates single-use plastic too

queen elizabeth mug photo
CC BY 2.0 Maxwell Hamilton

Let them eat cake, but only off china or biodegradable plates, if you please.

I'm no royalist, but I've been delighted to see the UK's Crown Estate get seriously into renewable energy. As the country's largest landowner, it has played a major role in the dramatic shift to lower carbon electricity that's occurred in Britain over the last decade or so.

Now the Royals are getting fired up on another environmental topic. The Telegraph reports that Her Royal Highness is declaring war on single use plastics. Of course, it's hard to imagine Queen Elizabeth herself supping from anything other than the finest champagne flutes or fancy bone china, but much like with energy, the Royal estates are a massive operation where—like most institutions—single-use plastics have been utilized pretty much unchecked in recent times.

The new measures being proposed include:

• Internal caterers will only be allowed to use china, glasses or recyclable paper cups
• Takeout food wrappers must be biodegradable or compostable
• Plastic straws will be phased out in public cafes, and banned outright in staff dining rooms

These are all welcome measures indeed, coming as they do on the heels of airports, ferry companies and restaurant chains in the UK all declaring anti-plastic initiatives. As is often the case, it has felt for the longest time that any serious action on reducing plastic pollution was like trying to swim upstream but now, all of a sudden, the tide appears to be shifting.

Having the Royal Family weigh in not just with opinions, but firm and decisive action, will have both an immediate practical impact, not to mention a powerful symbolism that will no doubt further inspire action from others.

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