South coast care home provider, Colten Care, has removed more than a million single-use plastic items from its operations.
The effort by the provider’s 21 nursing and residential homes in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex was part of its ‘Caring without plastic’ campaign, which launched in spring 2018.
Director and co-founder of the Colten Group, John Colwell, said: “A year ago we became the first major UK care home provider to begin a group-wide reduction of single-use plastic.
“Since then, we have successfully replaced a huge amount of non-recyclable plastic with environmentally friendly alternatives.
“Now we are going even further and widening our focus from the avoidable use of plastic to try and reduce our overall carbon footprint.
“We are taking radical steps in our operations so we can make a positive difference. Our residents, team members and suppliers have the same concerns about the environment as anyone else and we want to do right by the communities in which we operate.”
A move to re-usable cloth sacks for rubbish and waste has eliminated the need for 365,000 plastic bin bags that previously would have gone into landfill. A fresh approach to the storage and dispensing of cleaning liquid has also avoided the need for around 19,000 plastic bottles.
On the nutrition side, Colten has removed all single-use plastic straws from its catering services, replacing them with ones that are fully biodegradable. This has taken out around 480,000 pieces of plastic.
Other initiatives include replacing disposable plastic water cups by water coolers with recyclable paper ones, changing the coffee supply packaging used in foyer coffee machines to a non-plastic alternative, and laundry staff replacing disposable latex gloves with washable, re-usable ones.
As well as its 21 homes, Colten Care has introduced a range of low-carbon and energy efficiency measures at its head office in Ringwood, Hampshire.
Solar power there has grown from 12% of consumption in 2018 to a projected 41% this year.