Guy's and St Thomas' saves 150,000 plastic bottles per year


Posted on Monday 4 March 2019
Staff member using the water refill machine

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has joined the war on waste by introducing water bottle refill stations. Supporting the capital’s push for greater sustainability, the four stations will prevent the unnecessary use and disposal of 150,000 plastic bottles every year, the Trust estimates. 

Two of the four refill points were provided by The Mayor of London and #Oneless as part of the London Drinking Fountain Fund. The other two fountains were funded by Bywaters and UNISON.

Daphne De Leener, sustainability consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: ‘We are determined to play our part in reducing plastic waste and single-use water bottles.

‘The new drinking fountains are a simple but effective way of helping our patients, visitors and staff lessen their impact on the environment.’

The Trust trialled one refilling machine for three months from October to December last year and this was used 9,500 times. With four machines expected to save 38,000 bottles per year each, this makes a total saving of 150,000 single-use bottles per year.

The refill stations are positioned in:

  • St Thomas’ Hospital: South Wing and next to The Riverside Restaurant
  • Guy’s Hospital: Tower Wing and Atrium Two.

The Trust’s sustainability strategy was published in 2016, setting out an ambitious programme to deliver significant cost savings while delivering environmental and social benefit.

The #Oneless campaign aims to fight ocean plastic pollution at source by reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles in London. Last year #Oneless teamed up with the Mayor of London and MIW Water Cooler Experts to launch the London Drinking Fountain Fund; a network of over 20 water fountains across London. Londoners are among the highest users of bottled water in the UK with the average Londoner getting through 175 bottles each year and this equates to over a billion on a city level, according to #Oneless.

Dr Heather Koldewey, co-director of the #Oneless campaign said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Guy's and St Thomas’ on this exciting initiative to reduce the plastic blight on the ocean and firmly establish London as a city that no longer uses plastic bottled water.’

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for the Environment and Energy, added: ‘Water fountains are a simple but effective way to encourage Londoners and visitors to switch from plastic bottles to reusable ones. With the hot weather we saw last summer, the demand is greater than ever for quick and easy ways of accessing free drinking water and I’m pleased to see these fountains now appearing in public spaces across London.’

In recognition of the Trust’s work in sustainability, we have won and been nominated for the following awards.

2018

  • Highly commended, Improving the Value of NHS Support Services – HSJ Value Awards  
  • Overall winner – NHS Sustainability Awards
  • Procurement winner – NHS Sustainability Awards
  • Staff Engagement winner – NHS Sustainability Awards
  • Waste Management winner – NHS Sustainability Awards

2017

  • Ashden Award for Sustainability, Guy’s Cancer Centre
  • Highly commended, Leadership – NHS Sustainability Awards
  • Highly commended, Finance – NHS Sustainability Awards
  • Highly commended, Food – NHS Sustainability Awards

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