THE trust which runs Basingstoke hospital is playing its part to help the environment by reducing the plastic it uses in its canteens.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), which also runs Andover and Winchester hospitals has introduced a number of green initiatives including launching its own bamboo reusable coffee cups, and offering customers a free drink when first purchasing one of these.

The hospital restaurants also offer a 30p discount to anyone using their own reusable cup.

In a bid to reduce plastic in the hospital restaurants, staff and returning visitors are encouraged to bring their own clean containers for takeaway food instead of using disposable containers.

The catering team are gradually replacing disposable plastic cutlery with metal alternatives, and are busy planning the next phase of green initiatives including providing an alternative to plastic cups for water and encouraging staff to bring their own reusable wide-necked water bottle to refill throughout the day.

Numerous recycling points have been introduced across the three hospitals, and a recent initiative has seen the Trust send its first 20 boxes of used uniforms and shoes to Intercare, a charity that re-homes medical aid to Africa.

The Trust also makes an effort to redistribute, reuse and recycle surplus resources such as furniture, non-medical equipment, fixtures and fittings within the organisation. In July alone, 670kg of waste was diverted by finding the supplies a new home elsewhere within the hospitals.

Wild flower areas have also been introduced to encourage wildlife to the sites.

Hampshire Hospitals’ work in this area is led by a dedicated sustainability manager, and a PHD student is researching how single use plastics can be reduced.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of HHFT, said: “We are committed to doing everything we can in our hospitals to tackle this serious issue, and I am really encouraged by the way our staff have taken on this challenge, continually getting in touch to suggest new ways we can be environmentally friendly at work.

“Our sustainability manager is working brilliantly with the catering department and other teams across our Trust to find new ways we can reduce our environmental footprint, and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is going green.”