St George’s University Hospitals FT launches new decarbonised patient menu

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new effort to decarbonise their patient menu.  

The initiative – supported by hospital food firm, apetito, and energy services company, Mitie – has saved 23 tonnes of carbon and has reduced the carbon footprint of its patient menu by over eight per cent, the trust says.  

Additional initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of the trust include:  

  • Implementing a new programme to reduce emissions from anaesthetic gases, such as desflurane. St George’s has reduced its use of desflurane, which has contributed to CO2 emissions from this gas falling by 63% in 2020-21, St George’s FT state.  
  • Using recycled surgical instruments and items in operating theatres.  
  • A combined Heat and Power plant on the St George’s site provides excess renewable energy back to the National Grid – ‘1.9million KWh’ was exported back in 2019-20, enough to boil a kettle ‘over 46 million times.’ 

Lee Sheppard, Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy, apetito, commented: “The reduced carbon menus have been achieved through prioritising ingredients with a lower carbon footprint, such as white meats, fish, and vegan options. 

“This is not about demonising any one ingredient or red meats.  It’s about making small changes to menu cycles that can have a significant, yet surprising, impact to the carbon footprint whilst ensuring that patient choice isn’t compromised. 

“The challenge we faced at the onset was about ensuring patient preferences and choices were not impacted and through clever menu selection, we were able to ensure that patients could still enjoy their favourite meals. 

Alice Woodwark, Managing Director, Communities, Mitie, said: “From the origin of ingredients to how meals are prepared, the food we eat has an impact on the environment. Combating climate change is a priority for both Mitie and the NHS, so we’re pleased to be working with our suppliers to help St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust cut its carbon emissions.”