A first for NHS with closed loop recycling system…

A first for NHS with closed loop recycling system…

The NHS and leading meals provider, apetito share a common goal. Namely to reach Net Zero by 2040. As a company dedicated to doing business in a sustainable way and leading the way to Net Zero, apetito has launched the first ever closed loop recycling system of meal trays in the NHS.

Following a highly successful pilot earlier this year with three hospitals, this innovative new scheme, named ‘Boomerang’, is now operating in over 20 sites with plans to extend across all of apetito’s NHS customers this year.

Under the scheme, all the plastic trays used in apetito’s Carte Choix and Specialist Nutrition ranges can be collected by apetito when new meals are delivered. The trays are then recycled into plastic flakes and then transformed into completely new trays, right here in the UK. apetito guarantees that 100% of trays returned will be recycled into new trays.

Director of Corporate Affairs, Policy and Sustainability, Lee Sheppard, says that having successfully launched the same scheme into its consumer business, Wiltshire Farm Foods 18 months ago, apetito saw how it could help NHS hospital caterers reach their Net Zero goals. Speaking of the scheme:

“The results have been phenomenal. Further to our experience with Wiltshire Farm Foods where more than 10million trays have been collected and recycled in just over a year, our return rates on Carte Choix trays already sit at an impressive 64%, compared to the local authority kerbside recycling rate of just 38% for UK plastic. This shows how quickly our NHS partners have bought into this project as part of its sustainability journey.

“With our scheme and working closely with our hospital catering partners, we’re able to guarantee that every single tray we collect will be used to make a new tray, unlike kerbside recycling where unfortunately nearly half of what is collected actually gets shipped abroad for “recycling”, with much uncertainty as to how effective this is.

“If we were able to roll this out to all hospitals, we’ estimate we could save over 64 tonnes of Co2e. That’s the equivalent to boiling a kettle 1.6 million times.

“Furthermore, it is not just about the carbon savings, there are also cost efficiencies for the NHS. By returning trays to us rather than paying for them to be collected, the NHS has the potential to save more than £30,000 per year.

"We’re proud of this scheme – not only is it helping hospitals save money, but it’s the right thing to do from a sustainability point of view.  Just like the NHS, we’re on a mission to get to Net Zero and we’re delighted to be able to help the NHS do the same.”  

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