To have a positive impact on our surrounding environment, we can all make one small change to embrace sustainability. At Benenden Hospital, we’ve been working hard to progress our Sustainability Strategy plans, which aims to limit the impact our private hospital has on the surrounding environment and people.
Our Sustainability achievements
Reducing light pollution
Over the past year, we’ve paid particular focus to our lighting action plan, which seeks to reduce costs and light pollution, as well as support the local Dark Skies Initiative. Our Atrium now has a night-time lighting setting, which has significantly minimised the amount of light pollution our hospital emits overnight.
Sourcing sustainable produce
Our food and drink project supports good health and wellbeing, and our Catering team are continuing to strive for the procurement of sustainable produce from local food suppliers wherever possible.
Reducing waste collections by 50%
Cleverly compacting our waste has resulted in a 50% reduction in collections and has significantly cut down on unnecessary heavy goods vehicle journeys. Whilst it was bittersweet when we ended our transportation service, which worked hard for years to deliver patients to and from Headcorn Station, we now have a fully electric internal transport fleet.
Encouraging wildlife to grow with wildflower meadow
Our wildflower meadow, which used to be an old overflow car park, was officially opened on 2 September 2022 by MP Damian Green. This, along with our garden, Edna’s Retreat, encourages wildlife to flourish within our hospital grounds and promotes calm for all.
Five ways to be more sustainable at work
1. Bring in a reusable water bottle and coffee mug
In total, (according to London.gov.uk) some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. Bringing in a reusable water bottle and coffee mug to work will save you having to buy plastic water bottles and will save on the use of single-use takeaway cups.
2. Hybrid working and alternative transport
We offer Benenden Hospital staff the opportunity to work from home depending on the role. Not only does hybrid working reduce stress, promote a healthy work/life balance and increase productivity, but it also reduces commuting time in the week and saves on petrol.
Or, if you’re not able to work remotely due to your job role, maybe you could switch up your commute by car sharing with a work colleague, taking public transport or cycling to work?
3. Recycle in the correct bins
In our offices and around the hospital, recycling bins are available to dispose of any plastics, cardboard, glass, cans, and confidential paper. Do you have separate bins in your workplace which allow you to recycle?
4. Paperless office
Did you know (according to Restore) that each UK office worker will use around 10,000 sheets of A4 paper each year? As part of our paperlite project, we’re encouraging everyone to avoid printing documents where possible. We’re also proud to have switched to carbon neutral copier paper to support our sustainability in this area. Maybe your workplace could reduce the amount of printing too.
5. Turning off lights and switching off electronic devices
Ensuring electronic devices and lights are turned off, helps to conserve our energy resources and save our hospital’s total electricity bill. Switching to LED lighting instead of fluorescent type lamps can result in a 50% reduction in energy use. We are excited to be working on a viable long term replacement plan in support of reducing our energy use in this area, as part of our vision.
Five ways to be more sustainable at home
1. Make your own cleaning products
Fill a mason jar with lemon peel then cover with white vinegar and let it infuse for two weeks. After two weeks, strain and combine half a cup of the concentrate with two cups of water. Dispense into a spray bottle and use on most surfaces apart from natural stone or tile. By doing this, you’ll be able to clean everywhere in your house without being exposed to toxic chemicals.
Growing your own herbs, fruit and vegetables can not only provide you with healthy, nutritious meals but it can also reduce your plastic usage when shopping for whole foods in a supermarket and much more. Did you know that (according to Toucan) UK households have been reported to use over 500,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging each, with less than half of this recycled?
3. Be water wise
Did you know, according to National Geographic, that 4% of your earth’s water is freshwater? But sadly, far too much of it gets wasted every day. Taking shorter showers, fixing any leaking pipes and turning off the tap when brushing your teeth are some simple, easy ways you can make a change.
4. Unplug electronic devices
The cost-of-living crisis means most of us are probably turning off more lights and unplugging electronic devices to save electricity. Using extension cables can make it easier to unplug a few things at one by simply switching them off at the wall.
5. Learn your local recycling rules
Guidelines about waste disposal can be confusing, so reading up on your local waste treatment facility can help you to find out exactly what they accept. If you put the wrong items in the bin, they’re often incinerated or sent to third world countries. You can check out the Government website to find out if your local council collects recycling, and how to recycle household waste.
We hope these tips help you to implement small changes into your life to create a more sustainable future for our hospital, patients, workplaces, and your home. If you want to discover more ways to protect the future of our world, visit WWF.
Published on 05 June 2023