Colten Care to remove more than a million pieces of plastic each year

Colten Care is joining the anti plastic revolution

New Forest care home operator is removing more than a million single-use plastic items from its operations every year.

Colten Care is replacing plastic recycling sacks at its Ringwood head office with reusable fabric ones. Purchasing Manager Harvey Baker tries out the system. Good news for the overall "anti plastic" campaign in Lymington and the New Forest is that one of our higher "consuming" businesses is really taking this issue seriously.

Colten Care has consulted relatives, management and support departments of its care homes in the New Forest as part of the launch of a campaign aimed at eradicating throwaway plastic. Altogether, the use of 1,161,124 plastic items will be avoided each year by choosing more environmentally friendly materials.

A nearby dairy business, B&B Dairies, now delivers fresh milk to Colten Care’s Ringwood head office in recyclable glass bottles. Milkman Ken Bolton, left, checks a delivery with Fergus Davitt, Colten Care’s Hotel Services Manager.Since the ‘Caring without plastic’ campaign began in April this year, residents, families, staff and suppliers have all got on board with ideas for action.

Twenty nursing and residential homes in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex, including five dementia-specific settings, are involved. Among them are homes in Brockenhurst, Lymington and New Milton.

Project lead Tim Wookey said: “Just weeks ago we became the first major provider in the UK’s private care home sector to begin a group-wide reduction of single-use plastic, not only on the clinical side but throughout all our activities.

“The response since then has been amazing and just goes to show that everyone, whatever their age or role, has a shared interest in protecting the environment.”

Yearly across the group, single-use plastic will be avoided by:

  • laundry staff replacing 4,800 latex gloves with washable re-usable ones
  • homes swapping 260,000 disposable drinking cups situated by water coolers with recyclable paper ones 
  • housekeepers using trolley containers to dispose of daily rubbish from residents’ rooms instead of 365,000 bin bags 
  • carers and catering staff replacing 499,000 single-use drinking straws with fully biodegradable ones
  • housekeepers adopting antibacterial ‘magic water’ dispensers instead of 19,000 bottles of cleaning liquid spraysColten Care’s coffee supplier The Blue Label Coffee Company, founded by Binny Wookey (pictured), has adopted plastic-free packaging.

In addition, Colten’s coffee suppliers now pack their fresh batch-roasted beans in biodegradable, non-plastic packaging, saving 1,300 plastic bags a year.
And Colten’s gardening team are adopting re-usable plant pots for their seedlings, saving 7,500 plant pots.

As well as initiatives at its homes, the family-owned provider is taking action on plastic at its Colten House head office in Ringwood. Fresh milk is now being delivered there in returnable glass bottles by a nearby family dairy business, B & B Dairies, avoiding the disposal of 1,500 plastic bottles a year. A new recycling system for paper waste at the office will see the replacement of 2,880 disposable clear plastic sacks with reusable fabric ones. And office staff have sourced an environmentally-friendly refill option for hand soap dispensers to avoid the need for 144 plastic ones every year.

Tim added: “Our commitment to avoid using more than a million pieces of plastic every year goes right across the board but it’s just the start. We will act on more good ideas and suggestions put forward by each home and roll them out more widely wherever we can. We are determined to make a positive difference, both to the planet and the local communities served by our homes.”

For more information on Caring without plastic, visit the campaign site at www.coltencare.co.uk/caring-without-plastic.


Find out more about Colten Care's New Forest homes:

Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the local area, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...

Colten Care Belmore Lodge Lymington  Colten Care Court Lodge Lymington  Colten Care Linden House Lymington

Colten Care's Avon Reach  Colten Care Kingfishers New Milton  Colten Care Woodpeckers Brockenhurst 


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