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News: Manchester Hospital Trust Prescribes New Antidote to Remedy Plastic Waste

Single-use bottled water sales to be drastically reduced at Central Manchester Hospital through the provision of freely available drinking water

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) has launched a pioneering new initiative to reduce single-use water bottles. To encourage greater use of reusable drinks vessels, MFT has installed hydration stations at two high-footfall locations that dispense free water refills for visitors and staff using their own reusable drinks vessel.

This initiative, the first dispensing unit of its kind in the UK’s public sector, was made possible through a collaboration between MFT, Honest (a co-cre8 brand), designer of the first reusable bottle made in the UK from locally-sourced single-use bottles, and MFT’s facilities management partner, Sodexo.

ABOVE: (from L-R) Georgia Bell of co-cre8, Damian Sleep of Sodexo and Sara Haile of Sodexo

Damian Sleep, Business Director at Sodexo Health & Care, says: “We are committed to doing all we can to reduce the use of single-use plastics and this new initiative will help encourage visitors and staff to move away from buying single-use bottled water to reduce the amount of plastic in circulation. This will only be successful if we make it easy to refill bottles and create long-term behavioural change by increasing the uptake of reusables so that we can then eliminate the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.  This change represents a pioneering move on a site that typically has around 15,000 people on it daily”.

Honest Sales and Marketing Manager, Georgia Bell, says that “Each 500ml water refill eradicates, on average, 12g of single-use plastic. During the six months that the hydration stations have been in use almost 50kg of plastic waste has been avoided. Considering that more than 2.5 billion units of bottled water1 are sold through UK retail outlets each year, there is an opportunity to eradicate 34,000 tonnes of single-use plastic, providing that water refill stations are in greater abundance than they are today. This is one small step that will facilitate this change”

These unique hydration stations are located in main atriums of the Royal Manchester Children’s’ Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital. Both units dispense free tap water with the option to upgrade to triple filtered super chilled water, starting at a small charge of £0.45, or carbonated water for £0.55, thereby serving ‘bottled water quality’ but without the single-use plastic waste. The stations will also provide the opportunity to purchase an Honest Bottle - the UK’s most sustainable reusable bottle which is made from UK sourced, post-consumer recycled single-use bottles and easily recyclable end of life - if the customer does not have a suitable vessel to hand.

The initiative at Central Manchester Hospital is the first activation from The Honest Project; Honest’s purposeful initiative to increase accessibility to publicly available drinking water and funded directly from sales of the Honest Bottle. This is also the first joint collaboration with Sodexo who, together, are already exploring more locations on this site, and other locations nationally, to support easy, quick and sustainable access to drinking water.


External news coverage: co-cre8Products of ChangeHealth, FoodBev Media, Health Estate Journal, IHEEM

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