Barnsley Hospital celebrates NHS Sustainability Day on June 4 with a raft of ‘green’ achievements and projects – including the removal of all plastic cups from the Trust.

The hospital has a comprehensive sustainability agenda and is committed to reducing its environmental impact, protecting resources for future generations and providing a health-promoting environment for patients, staff and the Barnsley community.

The hospital has won awards for its environmental work – such as the Modeshift Stars award for green travel. The Trust already gets all its grid electricity from renewable sources and has also installed ten electric vehicle charging points and now have over 130 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Trust staff car lease scheme as well as switching the trust community diesel van to electric.

More than 4,800 new LED lights have been installed on site with built-in motion sensing and daylight harvesting, plastic bins have been replaced with ‘bio-bins’ in maternity and all single-use plastic bottles are also recycled in maternity. In addition, the hospital’s Colliers restaurant has swapped its plastic cutlery for wooden utensils. Work is in progress on other projects such as removing superfluous kit from arterial line and spinal/epidural packs, saving 6,000 ‘spongy sticks’.

As part of the hospital’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact from travel-related carbon emissions, it has been providing sustainable and healthy travel options like Cycle to Work, E-bike loan schemes, journey planning, walking to work initiatives and health and wellbeing events.

Mo Sajard, the trust’s Energy & Sustainability Manager, said the hospital was proud of all its achievements so far and looking forward to future projects.

He said: “Our work has saved the hospital over 4,000 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions. We generate over 75% of our electricity requirement from our Combined Heat and Power plant. Our Pharmacy department were using over 20,000 plastic bags and have switched to paper bags. We have also successfully implemented new ways of working to allow our staff to work from home and minimising car related travel and improving local air quality. Our restaurant achieved the Soil Association’s “Food for Life” bronze catering mark. This is an independent endorsement, backed by annual inspections confirming that the restaurant serves fresh food, serves fish from sustainable sources as well as fair trade goods. The restaurant also sends food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant to create energy and fertiliser for farming and agriculture use.

“The NHS has set an ambitious goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, but it needs significant support from staff and the public to reach it. As a hospital, we are well placed to highlight the long-term savings and promote the health benefits of better food, improved fitness and cleaner air”.

Electric vehicles for community practice, staff laundries to wash uniforms and putting climate change on the training curriculum are among projects and proposals within the wider NHS. Community nursing has been outlined as a vital area when it comes to cutting emissions. As health is increasingly integrated with social care, community practice is likely to grow, so there is a clear need to use non-polluting vehicles and to employ technology to cut journey times.

Travel to and from work is another area the Trust is working on. Currently nurses’ ability to use public transport, or to walk and cycle to work, can be compromised by shift patterns. Much work has

also been done to introduce healthier hospital food and drink options, with locally sourced, freshly prepared and high-quality food and drink available.

If you have any suggestions to improve sustainability of any any opportunity to reduce waste, please email Mo Sajard (m.sajard@nhs.net).