Colten Care has become the first major UK care home provider to begin the group-wide reduction of single-use plastic.
The family-owned operator, which has 20 care homes in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex, is aiming to cut avoidable plastic waste across all it departments.
Tim Wookey, Director of Marketing and Companionship, said: “Our residents have exactly the same environmental concerns as their families, our staff and suppliers, and everyone else. The truth is that more and more people are becoming aware of the terrible global problems created by the rapidly-increasing consumption of plastic.
“We feel that now is the time to make radical changes within our business to be part of a solution that improves the communities in which we operate. We want all our suppliers to commit to supporting us. It’s all about leading the way and making a positive difference.”
Residents, families and team members have all contributed ideas to how the group can eliminate non-recyclables and replace them with the environmentally friendly alternatives.
The ‘Caring, without plastic’ campaign began at Colten’s Abbey View home in Sherborne, Dorset, where a dedicated residents-and-staff committee has been set up to put forward ideas to champion the environment.
The home estimates that by using a trolley container instead of plastic bags to empty bins in residents’ rooms will save nearly 19,000 bags each year.
Rolling out the scheme across Colten’s 20 homes could save 365,000 plastic bags each year, the group estimates.
The provider is also aiming to use 19,000 fewer plastic bottles each year through adopting anti-bacterial ‘magic water’ dispensers.
Colten has also replaced its plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives, exchanged plastic water cooler cups for paper ones and changed plastic coffee supply packaging in foyers packaging to non-plastic alternatives.
Laundry staff have started using washable, re-usable gloves instead of plastic ones and have already saved one million plastic bags since 2011 by using reusable linen bags.
The gardening team, meanwhile, has written to suppliers to reduce plastic pots and packaging materials.