Reducing our impact on the environment

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What we are doing

Guy's and St Thomas' aims to run efficiently, use resources wisely, encourage healthy living and provide patients with the best possible care. Led by our award-winning sustainability strategy (PDF 359kb) we are making significant progress to deliver the most sustainable healthcare in the UK.

Our achievements

  • We have made £14 million in savings to the Trust.
  • We have reduced the carbon footprint per patient by 65%.
  • We have received more than 20 sustainability awards.

Sustainability infographic

Find out how we are driving high quality and efficient healthcare (PDF 897Kb).

Why is our work important?

Sustainability has been recognised as one of the key challenges of the 21st century and the health sector. Our work is important because:

  • it’s good for health – actions that benefit the environment, such as active travel and reducing air pollution can improve public health
  • it saves money – for example we spend over £10 million per year on gas and electricity. Our multimillion pound savings can instead be spent on patient care
  • we have legal requirements to manage our waste, energy use and carbon emissions
  • it’s the right thing to do – we should preserve the environment for future generations.
  • Our top sustainability tips for visitors

    If you are visiting the Trust and wish to have a sustainable impact why not try the following:

    1. bring a reusable water bottle to the Trust to avoid having to buy single-use plastic bottles, this will reduce plastic waste and save you money
    2. avoid bringing waste from outside the hospital and disposing it at our hospitals
    3. if eating at our canteens, eat in to avoid using disposable packaging and avoid using plastic cutlery
    4. if buying coffee, use a reusable coffee cup. If this isn’t possible, remember to recycle your coffee cup in our recycling bins
    5. try to come to the Trust by walking or cycling. Please use public transport over car or taxi travel if you can.
  • Our actions

    Energy

    Our combined heat and power (CHP) engines generate electricity and heat at both hospitals. Installed in 2009, each year the units produce enough electricity to meet half of our energy needs, reduce the carbon dioxide emissions we produce by over 11,000 tonnes (the equivalent of the City of Liverpool’s carbon output for a week) and save us nearly £2 million in energy costs.

    Transport and air quality

    We are actively committed to reducing emissions and particulate matter, limiting and mitigating exposure to poor air quality and ensuring our staff can stay fit and active. To help tackle the air pollution issue in London we:

    • run two anti-idling campaigns every year to encourage stakeholders to turn off their engines when stationary at our hospitals. In 2017, we engaged with more than 60 external drivers and with our ambulance drivers to stop this

    • work in partnership with Better Bankside and Team London Bridge, are members of the Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan Steering Group and work with with King's College London and Southward Council to find local solutions to tackle air pollution

    • encourage our staff, patients and visitors to walk or cycle to and from our sites or take public transport to reduce local air and noise pollution. For more information about travelling to our hospitals and community locations see Getting here.

    Waste

    Guy’s and St Thomas’ has an award winning partnership with our waste contractor Bywaters, and the Trust is a leading light in embedding waste elimination and minimisation.

    Guy’s and St Thomas’ is the first NHS Trust in the UK to introduce a weigh-bridge at our sites to accurately measure waste generated through our services. A departmental tagging system has also been introduced so departments can track their waste generation and recycling rates. This also allows the waste team to ensure that any areas of non-compliance can be quickly addressed. 

    Recent success includes:

    • zero waste to landfill 
    • 30% saving in waste costs
    • generating power from all our residual waste for 150,000 London homes
    • 80% reduction in clinical waste 
    • recycling more than 60 tonnes of waste each month
    • generating compost from food waste 
    • producing biofuel used in local generation and London black cabs from used cooking oil 
    • repairing and re-using furniture, which saves over £150,000 each year
    • donating redundant hospital equipment to hospitals in need.

    Procurement

    We are working with procurement, NHS Supply Chain, the British Medical Association (BMA) and students from King’s College London to take action against child labour and unethical practices in the supply chain, and establish fairer and sustainable standards for procurement of medical instruments. 

    Staff engagement

    Since April 2016, we have run an award-winning programme called SAVE to engage staff with sustainability. It’s an opportunity to make a difference by encouraging positive behaviour and changing every day work culture while reducing energy, water, waste and procurement expenditure.

Awards and recognition

We have been recognised for staff engagement, waste management and procurement and 20180522-NHS Sustainability Awards winnerscooped the overall winner award in the annual NHS Sustainability Awards ceremony.

Find out more

For more information about our work to reduce our impact on the environment, contact Alexandra Hammond