Single use plastic – do you have a policy?
At Insequa, our work as tender writers for social care means we are uniquely positioned between commissioners and care providers. This privileged viewpoint allows us to catch on early to commissioning trends as they develop.
Planet versus plastic
Environmental issues are not exactly new to the world stage, but their profile couldn’t be higher right now. From Lord Attenborough highlighting the world’s oceans full of discarded plastic, images of the Amazon rainforest burning to the recent global climate strikes – the environment is very much front of mind in the public consciousness. Ignoring your environmental responsibilities is not an option for any care organisation, your planet-protecting profile must be polished, primed and beyond criticism. Are you doing enough to satisfy commissioners that placing their trust in you as a care provider, will not have negative environmental consequences?
New Single Use Plastic legislation
From April 2020 a new law introduces controls on single use plastic items. This will cover plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds. There have been questions in the care industry over restrictions on plastic straws as they are often considered the best option for those with limited physical movement as they are inherently flexible. Metal and cardboard alternatives, whilst environmentally better, do not offer the same ease of use. The government has indicated there will be measures in place to allow care providers to be exempt from restrictions.
In response to the new legislation, last week we spotted our first ever method statement devoted to ‘Single Use Plastic’ – it was contained in a tender document for Home Care Services. Clearly reflecting the higher profile of the perils of plastic in the environment, it’s a strong directional cue for care providers that their organisations need to be aware of the implications of Single Use Plastics and wherever possible should be phasing out their use. If you are considering submitting a tender for local authority care contracts you should be aware that questions on how you approach the use of plastic in your organisation are likely. Previously, we’ve only ever seen plastic use mentioned as part of a wider environmental scrutiny, not afforded its own specific method statement and word allocation.
That’s not to say that the care industry has not been pro-active in engaging with this serious issue. In 2018 the Colten Care Group launched a Caring Without Plastic campaign aimed at reducing on a broad scale how much plastic they used across their care home network.
What can you do?
Get yourself a solid environmental policy with a sub-category specifically referencing new legislation regarding single use plastic. We have exactly what you need here at Insequa as part of our Evidenced Understanding package. As an agile company, always alert to changes affecting our clients’ activities, we make it our business to ensure the contents of our policies reflect key developments.
Are you SUP smart? Perhaps you are already committed to making your care organisation as responsible as possible when it comes to plastic use. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your environmental impact is limited. Swap plastic straws for bio-degradable versions, look at alternative materials for refuse sacks, replace plastic cups with recyclable paper designs, ensure disposable gloves are made from biodegradable material, use refillable containers for products such as hand soaps and cleaning fluids and switch milk deliveries to recyclable glass bottles instead of plastic.
There’s really no debate around whether or not protecting the environment is necessary – it is. So getting your care business aligned correctly on the side of planet earth, should be a priority. Commissioners will be expecting a responsible and committed approach to environmental matters when it comes to pursuing tender submissions, so if you want to grow your business through bidding for local authority contracts, sorting your Single Use Plastic policy out is non negotiable.
Be prepared when April rolls around and make sure your environmental credentials are up to the mark. If you would like to discuss how our Evidenced Understanding online policy system supports you to prove you and your staff have read and understood all policies, including on the environment, give our friendly team a call – 0115 896 3999.