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22 Jan 2018

The San saves lives - and the planet…one cup at a time

San Nutrition and Dietetics Manager Sarah Liston and San Chef Giorgio Nirello (pictured left) celebrate the new green initiatives at the San designed to end use of ½ million disposable cups, reduce landfill by up to 7 tonnes, reduce greenhouses gases and save close to 80 trees a year.

The Hospital has switched to biodegradable take away food packaging and is encouraging the use of reusable hot drink cups.

San Nutrition and Dietetics Manager Sarah Liston says with over 225,000 annual patients and visitors the hospital knows it has both an opportunity and a responsibility.

Two Hospital Cafes have become part of the national Responsible Cafes program (popularised in the ABC TV series War on Waste), selling environmentally friendly reusable cups (Keep Cups) and with reduced coffee prices for customers with their own cups.

“The war on waste is recognised nationally and globally and we want to play our part locally” Sarah says.

“While the close to half a million disposable cups we use each year are only a fraction of the 3 billion cups used Australia-wide, they all take massive resources to produce, and since they’re lined with polyethylene and can’t be recycled, they usually end up in landfill or litter.”

The Hospital has also switched to biodegradable food packaging using eco-friendly plates, cutlery, cups and napkins for its takeaway food areas. They currently used an estimated 80,000 foam takeaway containers.

“Our new products are made from renewable sugarcane and corn plant fibres, take less energy to produce, emit less greenhouse gases and should decompose within 60-90 days” says Sarah.

Since the hospital launched the new initiatives last month they’ve already had dozens of reusable cups sold and use is increasing with approximately 300 cups in one month being returned for a discounted fill up.

“The cost savings are actually minimal but it’s important to do and we’re thrilled with the take-up by visitors and staff so far.

There’s an old saying encouraging us to be the change we want to see in the world …we are only one hospital, but we hope what we are doing, is an inspiration to others as well.”

These green initiatives complement the San’s 2016 switch on of its renewable energy 100kw solar system making it one of the largest solar power producers in the area and helping reduce its carbon footprint and impact on the environment. The San is the largest private hospital in NSW and is the largest employer in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai area.


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