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The UK puts eco-rules in place ahead of the Queen’s funeral

Millions of people will be visiting London this weekend for the historical moment Queen Elizabeth II is laid to rest. The UK is urging people to think twice about how they travel to the city, what they bring along, and what they will inevitably leave behind.

As news broke of Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Thursday, people immediately flocked to Buckingham Palace in the thousands to pay their respects.

Many brought with them store-bought flowers and stuffed animals to lay in front of the gates. Some even brought plastic-wrapped marmalade sandwiches, a known snack time favourite of the Queen.

In the capital and elsewhere across the nation, various forms of memorabilia are steadily piling up at memorial sites.

This activity is only expected to continue in the days ahead, with London transport warnings already put in place to prepare for the surge of travellers entering the city to attend the Queen’s funeral.

It will be the largest and most expensive funeral Britain has seen in decades – and understandably so. But with planet consciousness on the rise, people are being asked to consider how their travel and items left behind will impact the environment during a time where the climate crisis has never been more evident.

Plastic-free bouquets

Most store bought flowers come in a plastic wrapping to protect the stems and make them easier to transport.

In light of the growing problem of plastic pollution, the public is being urged to remove and properly dispose of these wrappers, so that whatever is left on display is compostable and organic.

Unsurprisingly, many well-intentioned tribute bearers have missed the memo.

So on Monday, a group of volunteers were seen removing the plastic and paper wrappings off of flowers laid in Green Park. They placed them dutifully in bin bags to prevent the park from being littered with them once the flowers began decomposing.

Removing the outer wrapping on flowers is a simple act – and let’s be honest – the display looks far more beautiful in the absence of synthetic materials anyways.

According to reports, all flowers on display at Buckingham Palace and Green Park will be taken to Hyde Park for composting in the Kensington Gardens.

No jets, please

While reducing the level of plastic left behind is important for keeping our cities litter-free, there will be a larger issue at hand in the days leading up to the Queen’s funeral.

That’s right, CO2-emiting powerhouses – private jets.

As we saw with COP26, getting government spokespersons and other high-profile individuals to abstain from using their private jets for travel is not an easy feat.

Since the transport sector is responsible for one fifth of global greenhouse gases emitted globally, the last thing we need is foreign heads of states and other allies of the royal family to travel thousands of miles into London on individual aircrafts.

In light of this, the UK has asked all attending to fly commercially and to abstain from using helicopters for travel around the capital. What a request eh? In addition, all dignitaries will be bussed to the funeral on the 19th, instead of arriving via private cars.

Still, these are merely just suggestions and private jets aren’t totally banned. To further deter people from using them, individuals have been told that Heathrow Airport won’t have the capacity for landing or parking jets.

In other words, if you really can’t stand the thought of flying commercial, consult other ‘less busy’ airports around London.

Perhaps rather ironically, plans for transporting the Queen’s body via Royal Train have also been scrapped. Instead, she will fly to the capital on a plane.

Looks like once again, the onus is on the public to take the only form of action they can, like limiting our contributions to single-use plastics.