NHS Sustainability Day 2021 (4 June) marks the end of plastic cup usage at The Trust around water coolers and dispensers. The NHS bought 163 million plastic cups, 16 million pieces of plastic cutlery, 15 million straws and 2 million plastic stirrers in 2018.    

At Barnsley Hospital we used 577,200 single use plastic cups which is equivalent to 1.44 tonnes of plastic waste.  We have already eliminated single use plastic cutlery and plastic stirrers and are no longer going to provide single use plastic cups. This change fits in with our long-term sustainability commitment to minimising our negative impact on the environment and is in-line with the requirements of Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service.  

According to the World Wildlife Fund it can take around 450 years for plastic cups to breakdown and during that time they release toxic chemicals into the environment and are more likely to be ingested by vulnerable marine wildlife.  Research shows if that if the current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.  

Barnsley Hospital is committed to minimising our impact on the environment.  We have signed the NHS Single Use Plastic Reduction Pledge where we are required to reduce and eliminate single use plastics.  Patients and visitors need to be aware that plastic cups will not be available, there will be a supply of paper cups as alternative.   

Chief Delivery Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Bob Kirton said: 

“Today we have taken a very important step which signals our commitment to eliminating single use plastics at The Trust. We will still need to source products made from plastic materials but we will aim to source alternative products that are reusable or are more sustainable and better for the environment. We believe our staff will fully support us in making this change”.   

The Trust’s Sustainability Group welcomes ideas from our staff and if you have any green ideas that you would like to share, please email Mo Sajard m.sajard@nhs.net