KGH has signed an NHS pledge to dramatically reduce plastic waste

MR1179 - Plastic Pledge Trust Board

Kettering General Hospital has signed an NHS pledge to dramatically reduce plastic waste such as single-use cups, cutlery and food pots.

On Friday, January 31, the hospital’s Trust Board, signed up to NHS England’s NHS Single Use Plastic Reduction Campaign.

This is a national initiative – announced in October 2019 – to slash the use of single use plastics across the health service to reduce the impact of waste on the planet.

It includes commitments to:

  • No longer purchase single-use plastic stirrers and straws (except in exceptional patient circumstances) by April 2020
  • No longer purchase single-used plastic cutlery, plates or single-use cups made of polystyrene or plastics by April 2021
  • Reduce plastic cups and single use plastic food containers by April 2021.

To oversee the changes the Trust has appointed a senior responsible officer – Director of Estates and Facilities, Ian Allen - and a sustainable development lead – Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, Craig Catterick.

Ian said: “At KGH we already recycle our card board, paper, plastic bottles and tin cans and have a food digester on site where our catering waste can be recycled and used for purposes like creating energy.

“Today was about the Trust signalling its commitment to take the next step whereby we, alongside many other NHS organisations across the country, will commit to dramatically reducing the use of plastics.

“In practical terms we sometimes do still need to have some items which are single use but the aim will be source recyclable materials to do this, and this is something we are already investigating.”

Trust Chairman Alan Burns said: “Making this pledge is an important commitment to reducing the use of non-biodegradable plastics and reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill – or even worse in the ocean.

“I am delighted that the NHS is making this commitment and Trust Boards like KGH’s are making this pledge now across the country.

“We are all contributing to the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to reduce the use of single-use plastics.”

Last year the NHS as a whole bought at least 163 million plastic cups, 16 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 15 million straws and 2 million plastic stirrers

If the NHS cuts its use of catering plastic in half it could mean over 100 million fewer items each year end up polluting the oceans or in landfill.

Over time, where clinically appropriate, the NHS is also looking to reduce the use of other single-use plastics such as gloves, gowns and hygiene products.