More than 100 million plastic straws, cups and cutlery items will be cut per year by NHS England as it reduces single-use plastic usage from its canteens.
The plan to reduce single-use plastics comes as part of a drive from the health service to reduce waste and help the environment.
As well as affecting staff and patient canteens and catering services, it will also impact on-site retailers, such as Boots, WH Smith and Marks and Spencers.
Major on-site retailers have signed up to a pledge made by the NHS to get rid of straws and stirrers from April 2020. Cutlery, plates and cups will be phased out by 2021.
Data shows that the NHS bought 163 million plastic cups, 16 million plastic cutlery items, 15 million straws and two million plastic stirrers last year alone.
NHS England said that if the service can cut its use of plastic in catering, it could reduce the number of items being used by 100 million.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: It’s right that the NHS and our suppliers should join the national campaign to turn the tide on plastic waste.
Doing so will be good for our environment, for patients and for taxpayers who fund our NHS.
Other parts of the NHS are already tackling the use of single-use plastics.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service currently saves four tonnes of plastic waste every year after a campaign to remove it from the staff canteen.
The trust replaced plastic milk bottles with glass, plastic cutlery with wooden, and plastic drinks bottles with cans.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust has removed more than half a million single-use plastic items from its canteens, including more than 400,000 pieces of plastic cutlery and cups.