NHS Tayside cuts down on plastic waste

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Compostable cutlery is being introduced at all NHS Tayside catering outlets to reduce the use of plastic and make a positive contribution to the environment.

Once the current plastic stock is used, all takeaway cutlery available at NHS Tayside retail outlets will be made of a compostable material and customers who are dining in will be provided with metal cutlery.

The new compostable cutlery is biodegradable, made from recyclable materials, and is more robust than plastic and can be reused.

Retail catering manager David Bayne said, “We have carried out extensive engagement to get views on how to shape the service for the future and one of the things customers asked for is more environmentally friendly alternatives.

“As a catering service we want to make greener choices so we have made the decision to stop buying single use plastic cutlery and replace it with compostable resin cutlery.

“Plastic cutlery ends up at the landfill after a single use, is toxic to animals and is often not biodegradable. Introducing compostable cutlery and using more metal cutlery is good for the environment but it will also result in financial savings in our catering budget.”

The decision to stop using plastic cutlery means NHS Tayside’s catering outlets are in line with the European Commission plans to ban single use cutlery by 2021 with the aim of reducing marine pollution.

At the newly-opened salad bar at Take 5 on level 5 in Ninewells Hospital, customers can bring in their own plastic containers or ask to have the salad served on a dinner plate if they are sitting in. These new changes are introduced in line with the agenda to cut waste.

NHS Tayside introduced new sustainable ‘keep cups’ in April as another initiative to cut waste and more than 200 cups have been sold so far. The ECO-to-go reusable cups are made from 80% rice husk, the brown outer shell of the rice grain, and 20% plant resin. Naturally insulating, with the look and feel of plastic, the cup can be reused hundreds of times and is dishwasher safe. At end of its life, the cup will break down in industrial compost in 90 days.

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