Tameside Hospital is banning all plastic from its restaurant as part of Save Planet Tameside and Glossop – a campaign to offset its carbon footprint and manage sustainable development within the Trust.
All knives, forks, spoons, and food packaging is replaced with paper and wooden alternatives. The restaurant uses almost NINE tons of these items every year.
Chief Executive Karen James says that’s a huge and unnecessary burden of harmful single-use, throwaway plastic which is the weight of 400 standard wheelchairs or 20 hospital beds.
She explains: “I have learned that petroleum based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds it’s way into the ocean. Although plastic will not biodegrade (decompose into natural substance like soil) it will degrade (break down) into tiny particles after many years. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals, additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic, which make their way into our food and water supply.
“So, for example, the plastic knives and forks we’ve replaced today can take up to 450 years to decompose, while the wooden cutlery we’ve replaced them with takes just over a year. And the poly cups and plates we’ve been using can take between up to a million years to decompose while the same items in paper take just 60 days.”
Paul Featherstone, The hospital’s Director of Estates and Facilities has put together a detailed plan on how to best manage sustainable development within the Trust.
He says: “ The plan majors on the three challenges we have decided are most important to make a real difference, air pollution, reducing waste and minimising the use of plastics.
“Tameside and Glossop is ranked the fifth most deprived local authority in the country, and we have the highest premature death rate for heart disease in England. As one of the Borough’s major employers we must play an ever-important role in contributing towards a greener and healthier environment. Over the coming months we will be announcing radical and pioneering ways we plan to offset our carbon footprint.”