An alliance of the professional care organisations in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, the Five Nations Care Forum, has called on all care providers to support their campaign to cut down on the use of single-use plastic and products containing unsustainable palm oil.

Endorsed by Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Transport Ken Skates, the Five Nations Care Forum campaign is calling on social care providers to join the battle to combat the increasing menace posed by single-use plastic. It said care homes procure a large amount of products and resources, and the Forum stressed that if they change the way in which they do this they can have a positive impact on the environment.

Care Forum Wales Chair Mario Kreft said: “Many of these things are not difficult to do. Small changes can have a big impact. It’s a tiny investment of time and effort when you consider what is at stake. We can also reduce the amount of plastic and particularly single use plastic that we use and step up our recycling efforts. We can significantly cut our use of fossil fuel by being more energy efficient.”

He said that plastic pollution is a problem that can no longer be ignored. He added: “The social care sector exists to serve the public good. It is an integral part of the rich and vibrant tapestry of our communities. It represents all that is decent about humanity. As the leaders of this vital sector we have the opportunity to demonstrate in a very practical sense that we also care about our planet.”

The campaign is highlighting how plastic is poisoning and injuring marine life and disrupting human hormones, littering beaches and landscapes as well as clogging waste streams and landfills.

According to the Word Wildlife Fund (WWF), palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, present in about half of all packaged products sold in the supermarkets. Mario Kreft said the Forum is also campaigning to encourage the social care sector to come together to increase demand for sustainable palm oil. It believes that cutting out the use of palm oil entirely may only serve to increase demand for other oils that can have an even more damaging effect on the environment.

He added: “We have a simple choice. We can either ignore the looming dangers, pretend they’re not there, and bury our collective heads deep into the sand. Or we can take action, and do our bit to help literally save the planet.”

Ken Skates said: “I’d like to applaud the sector for the work that it is doing to drive out the unacceptable overuse of plastics as well as considering how they’ll be able to drive out the use of palm oil that is unsustainably sourced.”

Last reviewed 21 December 2018