“Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic,” noted Tony Hall, BBC Director-General.
“We all need to do our bit to tackle this problem, and I want the BBC to lead the way. Scrapping throwaway plastic cups and cutlery is the first step, and with our plan I hope we can have a BBC free of single-use plastic altogether.”
Plastic cups and cutlery will be scrapped by the end of 2018, ending the use of around 2 million plastic cups used by visitors and staff across the BBC’s sites a year.
Several BBC sites have already begun to remove plastic cups from kitchens and replace with glasses wherever possible. This will be rolled out to all BBC offices.
Plastic containers will be removed from canteens by 2019 starting with a pilot in Salford this month, where the BBC will also trial a coffee cup recycling scheme.
The BBC aims to be free of single-use plastic across its operations by 2020. Discussions will take place over the coming months with current suppliers and services to assess when further changes can be introduced, cutting the amount of single-use plastic in other parts of its operations such as coffee cups, packaging of products it buys and catering on location.
Any new contracts which come up for tender will also include the requirement to cut single-use plastic.
Blue Planet II attracted global attention in highlighting the long-term, damaging impact single-use plastic is having on the world’s oceans and environment.
BBC One has commissioned a 90-minute special with science and wildlife presenter Liz Bonnin setting out to reveal the full scale of the world’s plastic problem and explore ways in which science can offer a solution.
In a statement, the BBC said it is “committed to reducing our environmental impact and in the last Charter period, we met stretching targets including reducing our carbon footprint by a third and the volume of waste per person sent to landfill by 90%. The BBC has also been a leader within the broadcasting industry in championing sustainability issues, including launching the Albert scheme for measuring and managing TV productions’ carbon footprint.”