Supporting NHS Pledge on Reduction of Single Use Plastics

17 October 2019

NHS Supply Chain is supporting the call by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens to dramatically cut the amount of single-use plastics in hospitals, as part of a package of measures in the NHS Long Term Plan to lessen the environmental impact of the health service.

What is the Single-use plastics reduction pledge?
NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a pledge which requires NHS trusts who sign up to commit to phase out avoidable single-use plastic items which are used in catering services and office spaces. This will happen in the following stages:

  • By April 2020, no longer purchase single-use plastic straws and stirrers in line with the government consultation
  • By April 2021, no longer purchase single-use plastic cutlery, plates or single-use cups made of expanded polystyrene or oxo-degradable plastics
  • After April 2021, go beyond these commitments in reducing single-use plastic food containers and other plastic cups for beverages – including covers and lids.

How is NHS Supply Chain supporting the plastics pledge?
We have alternative products available on our catalogue now to help NHS trusts sign up to the pledge to phase out avoidable single-use plastic items used in catering services and office spaces. Trusts can purchase the following from us:

  • Straws made of paper
  • Stirrers and cutlery made of wood.

See our Downloads ▼ section

Can these alternative products be recycled?
Yes, they can be recycled through mixed recycling where the infrastructure is in place to do so.

Are NHS trusts already buying these alternative products through NHS Supply Chain?
Yes, trusts such as Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust have already started to replace plastic cutlery, straws and cups with plastic-free products.

When will you have other alternative products available to help trusts reduce their usage of single-use plastic products?
We anticipate by July 2020 we will have alternatives for:

  • Polystyrene Plastic cups – made of polypropylene and paper
  • EPS food containers – made of expanded polypropylene, bagasse, cornware, wheat fibre pulp and RPET.

What is your plan to phase out avoidable single-use plastic items which are used in catering services and offices?
There are 170 products in the scope of this Directive.
We are looking into what the alternative products are and their impact on the environment – for example, how they can be recycled and through which waste streams.

See our Downloads ▼ section for products that have been identified to support NHS customers with phase
one of the single-use plastics reduction pledge.

See our Useful Links 🔗 section for a link to the full press release on the NHS England website.

Downloads ▼

  • Single-Use Plastics - Catering Alternatives Flyer