City of London cuts out 36 million single-use plastic items

New figures show tens of millions of single-use plastic items have been eradicated by City businesses over the last year.

Over 620,000 plastic straws*, 19 million cups, and 12 million items of cutlery were cut by firms taking part in the City of London Corporation’s Plastic Free City scheme.

106 Square Mile companies employing nearly 100,000 people have signed up to the initiative, which asks businesses to help eradicate single use plastic in the City.

Over 600,000 water bottles and nearly 3.5 million food containers were also eliminated from use. These are annual estimates based on figures collated from data between April 2019 to March 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Major City firms including Goldman Sachs, Nomura, and Rothschild & Co are taking part.

The City Corporation itself has pledged to become plastic free in 2021.

As a major London public services provider, the City keep its streets clean, provides recycling services for its residents, it runs social housing across six London boroughs, 10 high-achieving academies, three wholesale markets and 11,000 acres of green space including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest.

And last year the City Corporation installed a network of 17 on-street water refill points in the City in a bid to eliminate disposable plastic water bottle use.

Keith Bottomley, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, said:

“We are committed to removing all single-use plastics from the Square Mile in line with the clear desire amongst City workers, residents and visitors to eliminate their use.

“These impressive results show that many City businesses are rising to the challenge and taking practical action.

“The impact of single-use plastics is a global issue of great concern to many.”

The Bank of England is one of the organisations signed up to the campaign. It has embedded a “reuse culture” within their workplace and their “think before you drink” campaign has resulted in 80% fewer single-use plastic items being used.

Paul Wright, Head of Inclusion and Sustainability at the Bank of England, said:

“We are particularly proud of the huge reductions we have achieved in single-use plastic catering items, and of the support that we have had from our senior leaders.

“The Plastic Free City pledge has helped us by providing a framework for our efforts, and has enabled us to share ideas with other organisations who also working to reduce their plastic waste.”

Over 200 of the City’s pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants have also become part of a network of water bottle refill stations, where the public can refill reusable water bottles – all found on the Refill app.

To apply for the Clean City Awards Scheme please visit-

* prior to the ban on single use straws coming into effect on 1st October


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK – 

The City Corporation is the port health authority for London, the largest port health authority in the UK, responsible for services on the River Thames, from Teddington to the English Channel. It protects public health by preventing infectious disease, ensuring water quality, making vessel inspections and enforcing environmental controls.

It is also responsible for keeping the City clean. The Square Mile is the world’s leading international financial centre and its 450,000 workers and 9,400 residents rightly expect the street scene to be of a very high standard in which to live and work.