Waste management consultancy SWRnewstar has urged the NHS to cut down on food waste as part of its sustainability plans.
Prime minister Theresa May last week pledged to increase the health budget by £394m a week by 2023. But she said a 10-year proposal would be made to reshape the service to wring value from every penny.
Back in 2014, WRAP estimated the cost of food waste in the health sector as £230m a year, including unnecessary procurement, preparation and disposal.
SWRnewstar business development director Stephen Cameron said: “For the NHS, it’s not just about focusing on the cost of removing the waste generated; the real opportunity comes from focusing on the processes and behaviours that lead to waste being produced in the first place.
“Changing the current mindset within the NHS will improve existing practices, reduce carbon footprint and save a considerable amount of money at a time when budgets are pinched.”
Cameron hailed Scotland for its legislative attempts to curb food waste. Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, food businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste a week in urban areas must present it for separate collection.
“This is a commendable start because it is the first step towards a recognition of how much food waste we actually produce,” said Cameron. “Putting a number or cost against this should then encourage action to change.
“Cascading this information, informing staff across the NHS with the facts to drive change and eliminate unnecessary food waste, is simple but highly effective.”
Scott Buckler, campaign manager for the NHS Sustainability Day, said: “The key to waste management in the NHS is to have all departments working collaboratively to take responsibility.”