June 19, 2024

Health Minds

Nourishing Minds, Elevating Health

A green horizon: The NHS and waste management

3 min read

Recycling old medicines in an effort to control healthcare waste

For practice managers, embracing effective waste management is not just a necessity but a strategic imperative, as it not only ensures compliance with environmental standards but also fosters cost savings, operational efficiency, and a commitment to sustainable healthcare practices

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on nhe

NHS Shared Business Services introduces the Sustainable Healthcare Recycling and Waste Management framework agreement, marking a significant stride towards achieving net zero targets.

Crafted in collaboration with healthcare stalwarts – Barts Health NHS Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – this initiative has garnered support from leading suppliers in sustainable waste management.

Within this comprehensive framework, innovative solutions take centre stage, featuring cutting-edge technologies such as Pyrolysis, Aerobic Bio-digesters, and Microwave Treatment.

Emma Clyne, NHS SBS Principle Category Manager for Estates and Facilities, said:

“Sustainability in healthcare waste management has moved from a ‘nice to have’ position, to a focal objective where trusts will be required to undertake work to implement the new guidance.

“For context, the clinical waste strategy says that every year, NHS providers produce approximately 156,000 tonnes of clinical waste – equivalent to over 400 loaded jumbo jets of waste – that is either sent to high-temperature incineration or for alternative treatment. This has a significant environmental impact and is associated with high running costs and carbon emissions.

“Best practice waste management reduces waste, improves compliance, and delivers significant cost savings from lower waste volumes. This plays a crucial role in minimising harm to the environment and increasing resource utilisation, reducing carbon generated from waste, and saving taxpayers money.

“Procurement teams at NHS trusts, as well as in the wider public sector often operate with very stretched resources. They struggle to find the resource and capacity for specialist research as well as the ensuing procurement.

“Our framework agreement offers an easily accessible and compliant procurement route with the very latest sustainable waste management offerings and sustainable management expertise obtainable.”

This initiative aligns with the NHS’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Published in March this year, the clinical waste strategy outlines the NHS’s strategic approach to transforming clinical waste management, aiming for a substantial 80% reduction in waste management carbon emissions by 2032.

The NHS’s strategic leap towards sustainable waste management not only reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship but also stands as a testament to collaborative efforts within the healthcare sector. The introduced framework sets the stage for a greener future, driving the NHS towards its ambitious net zero targets.

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