North East NHS trusts reveal number of disposable cups used in their hospitals
The NHS in England has purchased more than half a billion disposable cups over the last five years, new figures show.
Data obtained through Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association show that NHS trusts in England have purchased more than 600 million disposable cups since 2013.
There are rising concerns about the environmental impact of single-use throwaway items - and Greenpeace UK has said the figure demonstrate "just how out of control our relationship with single-use plastic has become".
Based on the latest population estimates, this number equates to 11 disposable cups for every person living in England.
Here are the responses from NHS trusts in the North East, revealing how many disposable drinking cups they have purchased over the last five years:
City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust - Yet to respond.
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust - 2,950,665 between 2013 and 2017.
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust - 2,210,300 between 2013/14 and 2017/18.
Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - 11,425,900 between 2014/15 and 2017/18.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust - 10,605,228 between 2013/14 and 2017/18.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust - 60,000 over the last 12 months.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - 3,082,500 between 2013/14 and 2017/18.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Yet to respond.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust - 1,035,650 between 2013/14 and 2017/18.
Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust - 95,500 in 2016/17.
A total of 223 NHS acute, mental health and community provider trusts were asked to supply information on the number of disposable drinking cups they had purchased in each year for the last five years.
Of those contacted, 196 responded, but six have been omitted from the data due to discrepancies within their responses.
Twenty seven trusts - including some large acute hospitals - are yet to respond and 16 said they did not hold the information requested.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: "We all know we're using far too much throwaway plastic, but these huge figures demonstrate just how out of control our relationship with single-use plastic has become.
"In the last five years the health service has used half a billion disposable cups - they can't all be captured and recycled, so it's time for the Government to step in and help suppliers find viable solutions."