Phasing out single use plastics at our places

Marine litter on a beach
Published : 27 Mar 2018 Last update : 31 Jan 2019

We're committed to creating and maintaining a healthy and more beautiful natural environment.

We recognise that using single use plastic, with its damaging effect on nature and the environment, is at odds with this pledge, so we’re phasing them out at our places over the coming years.

Disposable plastics such as bottles, food packaging, cups and cutlery are a particular concern, causing problems for nature and wildlife during their manufacture and after use. 

Matt Drew, our Head of Food and Beverage said: 'As a charity that looks after 775 miles of coastline, we're alarmed by the impact single use plastics have on our environment, our oceans and marine wildlife.

'We’re committed to eliminating the use of single use plastic in our cafés and tea rooms, whilst ensuring that any disposable packaging we do use has as little impact on the environment as possible.'

We're also taking similar steps across the whole organisation to remove single use plastics, and to minimise waste in general.

So far, we've...

•    Replaced all of our take-away coffee cups, drinking straws and sandwich boxes with fully compostable packaging, made from recycled and plant-based materials. 
•    Launched a pilot scheme to make reusable and compostable hot drinks cups available at all of our cafés.
•    Provided free drinking water as standard in our cafés and tea rooms.
•    Removed single use plastic bags from our shops and replaced them with recycled alternatives, designed for a long life-span and multiple re-use. We also sell jute and fabric re-usable bags. 
•    Switched the wrapping on our members' magazine from plastic to a potato starch wrap that can be composted at home.

In the future, we're committed to...

•    Ensuring our shops are free of single use plastic by 2022.
•    Removing all single use plastic bottles in our cafés by 2022. For all our sit-down cafés, we'll swap to glass bottles by the end of 2018.
•    Use mainly recyclable and biodegradable products in our plant nurseries and plant sales areas. 
•    Publishing our waste strategy by July 2018, which will set out how we intend to minimise waste at our places.

We need your help to keep our beaches clean
National Trust Great British Beach Clean
We need your help to keep our beaches clean

Cleaning up the coastline

Over 150 of our coastal properties are adjacent to beaches, many of which suffer greatly from plastic litter. This year we're organising beach clean events at over 40 beaches around the country. 

As well as removing plastic that is harmful to wildlife and humans, beach cleans also help to make the shoreline look more appealing, raise awareness of the problem and encourage action to reduce plastic use.

The damage caused by plastic is a complex, global issue. We're working with suppliers to come up with solutions to the plastic problem, and in the meantime, are doing all that we can to find innovative ways of reducing the impact of our own operations and investigate new ways to do more.