3 September 2020

The use of single-use plastic at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals has nearly halved in the last 12 months.

Catering Operations Manager Ian Stuart with biodegradable straws

The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford – run by The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) – have seen a 47% decrease in the amount of single-use plastic being used by staff and visitors.

Latest figures revealed 881,400 fewer plastic cups were ordered this year, in comparison with the previous year. This is a positive step forward for Shropshire’s acute hospitals in helping to cut down on waste.

In 2019, SaTH’s Catering Department signed up to the ‘NHS Plastics Pledge’, as part of NHS England’s national initiative to reduce waste and protect the environment.

SaTH has already removed single-use plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene takeaway containers from its onsite catering outlets. These items have been replaced with recyclable materials such as paper straws, corn starch cutlery and compostable takeaway containers.

RSH and PRH are also rolling out the use of china cups on all wards, where clinically appropriate.

Trish Purfit, Senior Catering Manager at SaTH, said: “We have been working hard to reduce the amount of plastic waste at our hospitals. Ordering 881,400 fewer plastic cups is just the start.”

Julia Clarke, Director of Corporate Services at  the Trust, added: “As a Trust we want to discourage ‘throwaway culture’ as much as possible. It’s great to see that the support and commitment from the catering team is having a positive impact on decreasing the amount of single-use plastic in our hospitals.”