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Routes to net-zero | How we’re supporting NHS greener goals
It’s more important than ever to ensure that waste is being segregated into the correct container, especially the disposal of clinical waste, to reduce carbon emissions.
This year has been fairly momentous when it comes to understanding just how all 212 English NHS Trusts will help accomplish the NHS’s commitment to reach net zero carbon for emissions by 2040.
In 2020, the NHS became the first health system in the world to make such a pledge, and in January this year, all Trusts completed their localised net zero strategies, known as ‘Green Plans’, which was a significant milestone on the roadmap to net zero.
Each document sets out the carbon reduction initiatives already underway locally and plans for the subsequent three years. Several trusts are already planning to go ‘further and faster’ than the national ambition.
The NHS has correspondingly published a ‘Net Zero Supplier Roadmap’ which states that it will not buy from suppliers who do not meet its carbon zero commitments by the end of the decade. With 60% of the NHS carbon footprint calculated to come from its supply chain, there is also another momentous opportunity for suppliers and Trusts to work collectively to innovate, modernise and streamline products, services and support.
While the target dates may seem a way off, the ambition and changes required to reach the goal, mean a continual focus and drive to take steps to reduce carbon, waste and environmental impact at a local, national and supplier level.
Not ‘wasting’ a quick win
Waste is a key area that needs to be carefully managed for the NHS to meet its aim of becoming carbon net zero by 2040 for the emissions the NHS controls directly. Reducing the production of waste and switching to low-carbon alternatives is a common priority listed in Trust Green Plans.
One of the main issues to address, which has a cost-free and quick resolution, is the poor segregation of healthcare waste. The pandemic increased waste labelled as infectious, and Trusts now have the opportunity to reinstate more efficient segregation practices.
Segregating clinical waste ensures that the waste is handled, transported and disposed of safely and effectively and ensures that the legal requirements to segregate waste are met. Improved segregation has been proven to save money and reduce carbon by reducing incineration emissions.
There are many solutions available to address waste segregation including staff training, point-of-use guidance posters, and the use of a standardised colour-coded container system.
How Daniels Healthcare is working with NHS Trusts to reduce waste
As a key supplier to the NHS, Daniels Healthcare provides a range of products and free support services that can help Trusts to reduce waste and emissions:
- Providing guidance posters next to the containers to make sure people put the right waste in the right container.
- Working with procurement teams to standardise clinical waste containers to make it easier for front-line staff to identify the correct container by sight.
- Offering free audits to understand how clinical waste is being managed.
- Quickly identifying issues around incorrect waste segregation.
- Developing tailored reports on how waste segregation can be improved.
- Carrying out ‘bin sizing’ exercises to ensure that sites have the correct container.
- Delivering CPD-accredited sharps safety awareness education course which includes waste control and the safe handling of sharps and the proper disposal of clinical waste.
- Creating a new lid design which increases usable capacity, therefore reducing the number of containers used.
- Seamlessly transitioning Trusts to the new SHARPSGUARD® eco containers made from at least 40% recycled content.
For more information on posters, to request an audit, or to book training, contact our Customer Support Team on 01865 371841 or by email info.healthcareUK@mauserpackaging.com. Alternatively, you can contact your Local Area Manager.