Posted on 11-October-2023   by Daniels Healthcare

Decoding NHS England’s 20-20-60 Waste Segregation Targets

NHS Englands 20 20 60 Waste Segregation targets

The NHS Clinical Waste Strategy has been created to make a step change in NHS waste management practices and to help reach the NHS targets of net zero for direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2040 and 2045 respectively.

A focus of the strategy’s goals is to reduce the waste requiring energy-intense, high carbon treatment and to manage other healthcare waste in more sustainable ways.

Understanding the 20-20-60 split

Clinical waste is classified based on its dangerous characteristics and the procedures for its treatment and disposal. By 2026, NHS providers need to achieve the new clinical waste segregation targets of 20:20:60. This means:

  • 20% HTI (High-Temperature Incineration);
  • 20% AT (Alternative Treatment);
  • 60% OW (Offensive Waste).

Waste that presents the greatest potential for harm to the environment or human health necessitates high-temperature methods in its management. Waste with a lower risk can be managed using alternative treatment approaches, such as sterilisation.

It is crucial to distinguish clinical waste from offensive waste in healthcare settings. Offensive waste lacks hazardous properties and can be managed or disposed of similarly to regular municipal waste, which might involve conventional waste-to-energy (EfW) treatments.

Due to the infrastructure and energy requirements associated with HTI and AT, the management of clinical waste incurs higher costs and results in greater carbon emissions compared to the management of offensive waste. Therefore, achieving the 60% OW target by minimising the items that end up in clinical waste will reduce both the financial and environmental burden.

Addressing and improving waste segregation

Identifying and streaming waste correctly, at the point of production, will be vital.

While the NHS target of 100% of Trusts having a dedicated waste manager by the end of this year will go a long way towards meeting the segregation targets, the responsibility to ‘understand and adhere to compliance requirements’ applies to all NHS staff – clinical and non-clinical. Therefore, education and training are key.

This year’s updated HTM 07-01 document details the environmental benefits of the safe management and disposal of healthcare waste, It also presents opportunities for cost savings, safer working practices and reducing carbon emissions related to the management of waste.

NHS England has also developed an interactive waste planning tool to be used to create a five-year plan of improved waste segregation.

Regular audits and engaging staff awareness sessions will also contribute to monitoring and achieving the targets.

Breaking down waste goals

Daniels Healthcare doesn’t just supply clinical waste containers; far from it. We also deliver a wrap-around, targeted care package for front-line staff, waste managers, procurement leads and data managers.

As the leading supplier of sharps and clinical waste containers in the UK & Ireland, the Daniels Healthcare team provide accurate, ongoing and genuine support to NHS Trusts.

From improving understanding of compliance and sharing best practices to ‘boots on the ground’ audits and in-person training, our highly experienced and dedicated team offer a range of free services, resources and advice to help NHS teams meet their targets.

A collaborative approach to success

You can find us at this year’s Infection Prevention Society annual conference in Liverpool on stand 5 where our team will be on hand to provide face-to-face guidance and practical demos to help you to segregate and manage clinical waste effectively.

If you’re not attending IP2023, contact our Customer Support Team on 01865 371841 or by email to request an audit, book training, or access our downloadable point-of-use posters. Alternatively, you can contact your Local Area Manager.

In the meantime, here are three quick and easy things you can do now:

  1. Ensure everyone can easily follow the colour-coding guidance for all your clinical waste by downloading and displaying with waste segregation posters at the point of use/disposal.
  2. Watch and share these short videos on WIVA™ and SHARPSGUARD® lid colours to help remind the person handling the waste which container to use.
  3. Review the placement of bins to ensure suitability and easy access. For example, place domestic waste bins, not clinical waste containers, under sinks for easy disposal of paper towels.

Finally, you can read more about how Daniels Healthcare is supporting the NHS meet its wider net zero goals and localised Green Plan targets here.

This is a post published by the Daniels Healthcare communications team.