Employers should consider banning staff from using single use plastics at work, suggests Theresa May

Employers should consider banning their staff from using single use plastics at work, Theresa May has suggested as she launched the Government’s 25-year plan for the environment.

The Prime Minister said the Government “will lead the way” in reducing the amount of plastic the UK throws away every year and that she wanted to see “other large organisations commit to doing the same”.

Mrs May said “everybody has a role to play in ensuring we are improving our environment for the next generation” as she announced proposals to eliminate avoidable plastic waste within 25 years through measures including encouraging supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles.

The plan also sets out measures to extend the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England and to consider taxes and charges on single use items such as takeaway containers.

Launching the plan at the London Wetland Centre, Mrs May said: “We will drive down the amount of plastic in circulation by reducing demand.

Theresa May stands with school children inside a bird hide at the London Wetland Centre Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe

“Government will lead the way by removing all consumer single use plastic in central Government offices.”

She then suggested during a question and answer session that she would like to see businesses do the same as she hinted that employees should be banned from using single use plastics.

Responding to a question from Sky News, she said: “I understand, I think, that your working environments you have already banned single use plastic from your working environment so well done to Sky for that.

“But this is about everybody playing their part in the environment.

“It isn’t about any one group of people or one type of organisation doing something, it is about everybody doing something.

“Individuals can recycle more and be more careful about the plastics that they are using.

“Businesses can have an impact on the use of plastic in their environments. Supermarkets I referred to in the plan as well.”

Mrs May said that while the Government will play its part in cracking down on the UK’s throwaway culture, ultimately “it is about all of us” working to solve the problem.

“Everybody has a role to play in ensuring we are improving our environment for the next generation,” she said.

The publication of the environmental plan comes as part of a concerted drive by Conservatives to demonstrate their concern for green issues.

Their stance on issues such as fox hunting and the ivory trade was blamed for losing the votes of young people inspired with a renewed interest in the natural world by programmes like Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet II.

The plan also outlines proposals to direct aid spending towards helping developing nations reduce plastic use and support the transition to almost all cars and vans producing zero carbon emissions by 2050.