Queen Elizabeth II has banned single-use plastics from her royal estates and consciously committed to reducing the palace's environmental impact.
As part of the eco-conscious move, plastic straws will be gradually phased out in the estate's public cafes and banned altogether in staff dining rooms. In the Royal Collections cafes, any takeaway food containers will now be made of compostable or biodegradable packaging.
“Across the organisation, the Royal Household is committed to reducing its environmental impact,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson says. “As part of that, we have taken a number of practical steps to cut back on the use of plastics. At all levels, there's a strong desire to tackle this issue.”
The move is inspired by the Queen's personal interest in Sir David Attenborough's latest documentary series, Blue Planet II, according to The Telegraph.
More than four years in the making, Blue Planet II sends a confronting message to viewers about the devastating impact of human interference with our planet, with Sir David warning that we are slowly poisoning our oceans with plastic.
The royal war on plastic is part of a bigger move away from single-use plastics in the UK, including the ban on plastic microbeads and cotton buds earlier this year, and the introduction of a 5 pence charge for plastic carrier bags in supermarkets in 2015.
In Australia, plastic bags haven't been available in SA, TAS, NT and ACT for many years, with WA and QLD to follow suit from July 1. VIC has also pledged to phase-out single-use plastic bags, leaving only NSW with no official government plan to ban the bag.
While NSW has disappointingly dropped the ball, individuals stores like Harris Farm have picked up the slack, offering only paper bags or cardboard boxes at check-outs.
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are in the process of eliminating plastic bags in stores not currently affected by state-wide bans.
With so many alternatives to plastic bags and single-use plastic available, including beautiful canvas totes, reusable takeaway coffee cups and patterned paper and bamboo straws, we think Australia needs to take a leaf out of the Queen's book and think long and hard about its harmful plastic problem.