Over 1.3 million people work in the English NHS, making us the largest employer in Britain and in Europe. Together, we can play a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint, limiting our impact on the environment and making a significant difference to the public’s health.
Many of these positive changes are also taking place around us, with actions being taken both professionally and personally as people opt to reduce their environmental impact. The range of actions that we take together can cover everything from energy efficiency, recycling and plastic reduction, to reducing emissions from travel, supplementing green spaces or improving logistics.
We all have a vital role in helping this change take place and a great deal of work is already happening at a local level, led by sustainability and environment teams, and organisations who can support staff to understand how they can get involved.
It’s encouraging to understand that very often, simple changes can be highly effective:
- Using a refillable bottle for a year saves 64kg of CO2 compared with single use plastic bottles.
- Turning off equipment and lights and controlling temperatures can lead to great savings, as demonstrated by Operation TLC piloted at Barts Health which resulted in a saving of 2,200 tonnes of carbon a year across six sites.
- Saving one car journey a week of 16.7 miles (average daily commute) reduces the equivalent of 230kg of CO2e per person over a year.
- Using the right bin: In 2017, the NHS sent 15% of its waste to landfill, a total of 47,000 tonnes, a weight equal to 650 times the Space Shuttle.