The amount of single-use plastic used in Dudley’s local hospital and outpatient centres has fallen drastically as part of a plan to be more sustainable.

But Covid has meant some plastic has had to be temporarily re-introduced for infection control.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has signed the NHS Single-Use Plastics Reduction Campaign Pledge to reduce single-use plastic in catering

Changes made by its catering provider Mitie has seen the number of single use plastic items fall from just under 1.8 million annually to 300,000.

Changes include switching to compostable food containers, cups and cutlery and larger size milk bottles. The Trust has gone from using just over a million plastic drinking cups, cutlery and food containers each year to none.

The Trust’s board of directors has approved a Green Plan which sets out the actions it will take over the next few years. The initial focus will be on reducing energy and increasing recycling.

Mitie has introduced more recycling points and the Trust has invested in LED lighting. Other plans include biodiversity on Trust grounds. Staff have also joined a ‘green team’ to promote sustainability in their wards and areas.

Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: “Climate change is a threat to our health as well as our planet. The environment in which we live has a direct impact on our patients and as a board we are committed to doing all we can, working with our PFI partners, to provide our services in as sustainable and eco-friendly was as possible.”

While the Trust has had to restore some use of single use plastic for infection control reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, the changes will be reintroduced as soon as possible.