Surrey-based care home, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, is reaping the rewards of its green initiatives after cutting its plastic usage by 74,000 items per year to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint.
The maritime charity caters for 68 residents at its Belvedere House nursing care home and has prevented 52,000 plastic cups and 22,000 wet wipes from reaching landfill by rolling out an environmental plan, fronted by staff.
In addition to this, the Senior Management Team has been working to reduce the home’s reliance on fossil fuels over the last three years by installing solar panels, which have cut electricity bills by around 15%. The home’s sustainable pellet-fired biomass boiler has reduced gas usage by around 20% and a 135m borehole has also been sunk to supply fresh water at a projected saving of £8,000 per year, allowing the charity to invest in facilities for the home and its residents.
The initiatives come as authorities work to make businesses more carbon efficient. In May 2019, MPs approved a motion to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and the UK became the first major economy to commit to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Retailers have been under pressure to reduce their plastic usage with initiatives such as the introduction of a 5p bag charge in 2015 resulting in a 90% reduction in single-use plastic carriers.
Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “Although public awareness and willingness to reduce carbon emissions is currently high on the news agenda, we identified the need to begin investing in green technology many years ago and are experiencing the benefits every day.
“As a not-for-profit organisation, we have to manage the challenge of keeping costs down where possible while delivering an outstanding level of innovative care to all our residents that depend on us for a good quality of life. While investing in green technology was a big investment for the home, not only are we beginning to reap the financial rewards, but can be proud of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
“Our staff have been pivotal to this and the fact they have prevented thousands of unnecessary single-use plastic objects from being thrown away demonstrates our ability as a collective society to drive meaningful environmental change.”
Alongside its work to reduce waste and carbon emissions at its care home, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society has also produced a top tips guide for like-minded businesses to reducing plastic waste:
- Prevent waste contamination by using a second bin to separate non-recyclables
- Recycle contact lenses at your nearest opticians
- Use microfibre cloths instead of wet wipes that can be washed and reused
- Use recyclable paper straws rather than plastic
- Use compostable cups as opposed to single-use plastics