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Help LMA make London a Plastic Free City

London Metropolitan Archives is committed to supporting environmental sustainability, landfill reduction and reducing waste produced from activities which take place on its premises. Plastics increasingly have become a concern on a global scale due to the major detrimental impact these materials have on the environment. Richard Wiltshire introduces Plastic Free City, a new initiative launched by the City of London Corporation to help businesses, workers and residents across the Square Mile reduce their reliance on unnecessary single-use plastics. He outlines ways in which attendees at LMA events can help reduce plastic waste.

LMA works hard to reduce not only the amount of carbon waste emitted by the office, but also associated costs. Staff reduce, re-use and recycle the waste we generate through energy saving, for example by switching off equipment when not in use, having timer lights in archive strong rooms, and recycling paper, cardboard and other waste products. LMA minimises its carbon output in balance with the need to provide a stable environment in which to store archives with temperature and humidity controlled in conformity with national standard BS 4971:2017, which itself was compiled in the context of wider environmental climate concerns.

Plastic Free City is a new initiative endorsed by the City of London to help reduce the reliance of local organisations, workers and residents on unnecessary single-use plastics. The idea is to encourage re-usable containers and raise awareness of the damage caused by plastic litter in and around the City of London and along the Thames riverfront and bridges. The statistics are compelling: every year in the UK single-use plastic waste would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls; and it would take at least 450 years for each single plastic bottle to completely degrade. Plastic waste poses major problems to the environment globally and to the world’s complex ecosystems on land and on sea, as well as having the potential to adversely affect the health of human populations.

All visitors are encouraged to help LMA reduce its environmental impact. Currently paper recycling is provided for researchers and glass waste is collected from events. Until the beginning of 2019 LMA had hosted events, sometimes with up to 150 people in attendance, where plastic bottles and cups were provided.

From Autumn 2019 onwards, LMA aims to ensure that for all onsite events where beverages are served:

  • Event booking forms and leaflets will encourage individuals to bring their own reusable cups where possible
  • Signage will be displayed when beverages are served to encourage individuals to reuse their cups/bring their own reusable cups in future
  • Alternative cups made of glass, porcelain and/or biodegradable paper, and wooden spoons will be provided
  • Clearly signed recycling points will be provided at events for paper and plastic waste.

In addition, researchers are now issued with new biodegradable clear plastic bags to use during their research visit. Filtered water is also made available for visitors to refill their containers in the Visitor Lounge.

We look forward to visitors helping us to reduce LMA’s impact on the environment. We welcome any feedback which will help us make London a Plastic Free City - please contact the LMA Enquiry Team to let us know what you think.

For further information about the Scheme visit the City of London's recycling pages

For LMA's Green Policy visit the LMA Policies page.

10 July 2019
Last Modified:
08 October 2019