UK Hospitals Cut Carbon by Cutting Meat

by | Jan 28, 2009

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butchercounter.jpgAccording to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), hospitals across the country are cutting meat from the menu in attempts to lower their global warming emissions.

Though meat options will still be available, staff members will encourage patients to choose healthy meat-free meal choices as part of an overall sustainability plan in the healthcare industry, reports The Guardian News and Media.

Patients could see similar options in the United States and around the globe. Hospitals associated with the NHS account for 3 percent of all emissions in England, with one-fifth of the emissions coming from procurement – drugs, medical equipment, and food. The new NHS campaign, called “Saving Carbon, Improving Health” is expected to lower emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

In 2008, United Nations climate chief Rajendra Pachauri made waves when he suggested that the biggest way individuals could help the environment was to have at least one meat-free day every week. In a move to be more environmentally friendly, some UK farmers have put their cows on a special diet in order to reduce GHG emissions.

Other changes hospitals will be making as part of the overall plan will also help slash emissions – as well as hospital costs. The NHS plans to encourage staff to drink less bottled water, have more phone-in surgeries, participate in one-use item recycling programs, and promote walking, carpooling, and public transportation for visitors and patients. Staff members may also be able to work from home more often and participate incentive programs for departments that cut costs on energy.

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