As Prince Harry calls buying vegetables in plastic a ‘dirty habit’, how eco-conscious is the Royal Family?

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends Dr. Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting at Windsor Castle on July 23, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry at Dr. Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting. [Photo: Getty]

The Duke of Sussex has warned that buying vegetables wrapped in plastic is a “dirty habit,” which has “become normalised.”

Prince Harry, 34, criticised supermarkets for selling peeled or chopped pre-packaged fruit and vegetables, saying: “Plastic within plastic. Gone are the days when you can just grab ten carrots, take them home and give them a shave.

“Now people are actually buying 10 shaved carrots in a plastic bag. Why?

“We’ve slipped into this dirty habit and it’s become normalised.”

The new father was speaking with a group of young adults Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

He urged them to question supermarket staff about alternatives to plastic packaging, when doing their weekly shop.

Harry and his brother William have followed in their father’s footsteps with being very vocal about environmental issues, including conservation, climate change and plastic pollution.

Speaking at a reception at Clarence House earlier this month, the Prince of Wales said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival.”

Yahoo UK takes a look at how environmentally conscious the Royal Family is.

Travel, energy and recycling

The Royal Household published its annual finances report last month, which includes information about environmental sustainability.

Carbon emissions increased by 93% for the year 2018 to 2019, largely down to business travel.

The report said this was “due to higher usage of chartered large fixed wing aircraft for foreign business travel and there were five such overseas visits in 2018-19 compared to one in 2017-18.”

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport, Cayman Islands.
Charles and Camilla spent the most on travel for 2018/19. [Photo: PA]

Prince Charles’ travel increased and he spent more than £1.3m on travel for the last financial year, topping the Royal Family’s budget.

Although a spokesman for the Prince of Wales told The Daily Mail that his emissions had risen by only 2% overall, despite increased travel requests.

However, the royals have made improvements when it comes to reducing their environmental impact.

The report notes that progress includes a 24% reduction in energy use for heating and lighting for royal residences and a 2% reduction in waste generation.

Their website states: “The Royal Household is working hard across operations in the Royal Palaces and Estates to reduce its impact on the environment, using everything from energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting to hydro-electricity generating plants to ensure efficient running of its sites.”


The younger royals in particular, have stressed the importance of protecting endangered species and are patrons of various charities to overcome the illegal wildlife trade.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently attended The Lion King premiere in London, which was held in support of Harry’s conservation and communities work.

The couple’s first project for their charity foundation Sussex Royal, will reportedly focus on the conservation and protection of lions, and will be announced before their tour of Africa this autumn.

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The Duke of Sussex (left) and the Duke of Cambridge during the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce event at Mansion House in London ahead of an international conference on the illegal wildlife trade.
Harry and William at the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in 2018. [Photo: PA]

The Duke of Cambridge criticised wildlife traffickers at the United for Wildlife Joint Taskforce meeting in May.

However, there has been some controversy over the Royal Family participating in bloodsports, particularly their annual Boxing Day shoot

However, the Royal Family have also received criticism over the years for their love of bloodsports, particularly their annual Boxing Day shoot.


The Prince of Wales has a number of sustainability initiatives, ranging from The Prince’s Rainforest Project, to tackle deforestationto more grassroots initiatives run by Business in the Community such as Project Start, which promotes green living.

While the Duchess of Sussex has received some criticism for the cost of her new royal wardrobe, she has championed sustainable fashion labels.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watch competitors taking part in a sailing event at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney harbour.
Meghan wearing Veja's vegan trainers in Australia. [Photo: PA]

These include a gold bangle from Bar Jewellery, which uses recycled materials, Veja’s vegan trainers, recycled pumps from Rothy’s and pieces by eco-designer Stella McCartney.

The Queen, Princess Anne, the Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex are also renowned for being fairly frugal with their fashion, by rewearing outfits.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, who married in October 2018, also had a plastic-free wedding.