Get involved

Plastic free cups for meds rounds on a ward saves plastic waste

Trust: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Location: Millview Hospital 

Circular Economy icon
Circular Economy

What’s the idea?

Throw away plastic cups used to hand out medications to patients on wards have a high carbon footprint in waste. One nurse at Millview decided to swap them out for reusable cups which are sterilized between each use to meet infection control standards which reducing waste. 

Plastic cup full of medicines

How you could implement a similar idea

Check with your ward clinical lead if they are happy to make a swap from disposable to reusable cups, ensuring you have easy access to the sterilizing unit for staff to clean after each use. 

“As with implementing any kind of change on the ward, it’s been crucial to effectively communicate with all members of the service community. Grabbing people’s attention, building a sense of urgency and motivating people at all levels to lead the change themselves through small alterations to their practice has been key. Small changes should not simply be made through focusing efforts on either service-users or staff. This has to be a community effort.” 


If you’re interested but would like a bit more understanding around the impacts of plastic use on health check out these links for more information and inspiration… 

  • Read this article from NHS Supply chain explaining more about upcoming changes to single use plastics in healthcare
  • Read the ECH Alliance article that explores the use of plastics in healthcare
  • The Geneva Environment Network explain the impacts of plastics on our health

The Care Without Carbon difference

Hugely reducing plastic

Based on 3 rounds of meds per day, on a ward with 20 patients that saves 22,000 plastic cups going to waste each year
Hundreds of plastic cups on ground

Saving money

With the average price for a box of cups at £49, that is a saving of around £900 per year, per ward
Coins with tree growing out of it

Improving care

If patients have mobility issues with their hands, reusable cups are easier to manage, and better for their wellbeing
Person holding cup
Plastic cups
Plastic cups

What else can I do?

Already got an idea?