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Logo: NHS East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub
Support reducing single-use plastics in the NHS on International Earth Day
21 April 2023

International Earth Day and Single-Use Plastic Removal.

International Earth Day is an annual event on the 22nd April to celebrate and demonstrate support for environmental protection. As part of International Earth Day this year, we support the theme to “Invest in Our Planet” and end plastic pollution. It is fundamental that investing in a green economy is the path to a fairer, healthier, and thriving future for all.

With plastic pollution being a global issue, the NHS has a big drive to stop using single use plastics with the aim of them being entirely banned from October 2023. Among these single-use plastics to be banned include, plastic cutlery, plates, and polystyrene trays, as announced by the Government.

Supporting the NHS ambition to become the world’s first carbon net zero national health system by 2045 will require big changes for the NHS and for NHS Supply Chain.

According to NHS Supply Chain, a switch from single-use catering sets to a reusable type could save the average NHS hospital 50-100 tonnes CO2e a year, equivalent to around 185,000 car miles, and could mean potential savings of £30,000 per year.

The Hub’s Sustainability and Social Values Lead, Sandra Atik, explains the importance of reducing plastic pollution, “A simple change like reducing single-use plastic within the NHS can have a real impact to the health of our planet. I love the fact that we are being empowered and supported through policy and best practice to make these meaningful steps for positive change.”

NHS Supply Chain have developed the Sustainable Alternatives brochure to support NHS trusts in switching to more environmentally friendly catering requirements, which can be accessed on their website: https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/sustainability/sustainable-initatives/.

Details on International Earth Day 2023 and ending plastic pollution can be found on the Earth Day website: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2023/.