How David Attenborough convinced the Queen to ban plastic from the palace

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Emily Reynolds
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We all love Blue Planet – and it looks like the show has a very famous fan…

Cutting down on plastic has become a headline issue this year. Scotland has already pledged to ban plastic straws by the end of 2019,  an increasing number of restaurants and bars – including Wetherspoons – are replacing them with paper alternatives, and more and more social influencers are promoting a zero waste lifestyle. 

But it’s not just your favourite Instagrammer who’s pledging to give up plastic – it turns out the Queen’s on board, too.

The Telegraph reports that the queen has “declared war” on plastic, banning plastic straws and plastic bottles across the Royal estate. Buckingham Palace told the newspaper that there was a “strong desire to tackle the issue at the highest levels of the Royal household” – suggesting the Queen herself issued the directive. 

And the reason she made the decision? David Attenborough, naturally.

Apparently the Queen became “personally interested” in plastic waste after working with Sir David on a documentary about wildlife in the Commonwealth.

Plastic straws will now be “gradually phased out” in public cafes – and completely banned in staff dining rooms. China plates and glasses or recyclable paper cups will also replace plastic equivalents. 

“Across the organisation, the Royal Household is committed to reducing its environmental impact,” said a spokesman.  “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.”

Plastic was a pressing issue in the last season of Blue Planet. Writing after the show’s broadcast, Newsbeat said that “the people behind Blue Planet 2 say there was rarely a time when they were filming that they didn’t come across plastic in the sea”. 

“There would rarely be a dive where I wouldn’t find some form of plastic from a thread of plastic fishing line, sweet wrappers or plastic bottles,” assistant producer Sarah Conner said.  “When in the open ocean on the boat, if we noticed rubbish while in transit we would do our best to stop and pick it up, just as anyone who cares for the ocean would hopefully do.”

Plastic can be devastating for marine life, and can even be a  “conservation threat to entire populations”, Conner says – so we’d all do well to follow the Queen’s example and start cutting down on our waste. 

Image: Rex Features