Tons of waste from hospitals and other healthcare settings are needlessly sent off to be burnt or disinfected each year, because it has been wrongly classified as “hazardous”. This is the finding of Low Carbon Europe’s sustainability Team, when they delve into waste disposal arrangements within client premises.
The NHS has a tendency to be “over-cautious”, treating rubbish as potentially infectious or dangerous “just in case”, “let us adopt a belt and braces approach”. Other issues include a lack of different bins to help staff separate waste correctly, or a general lack of understanding in knowing what goes where.
It has been estimated the NHS could save £7m a year if 20% of hazardous waste was re-classified as offensive waste, which may be unpleasant but does not pose health risks.
Low Carbon Europe recommend that waste management should form a key part of the strategic Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP).
There are also real opportunities to increase levels of recycling and Low Carbon Europe works with our Clients to achieve improved recycling rates. For example, a client Trust increased its recycling rate from 1% to 60% in two years after appointing Low Carbon Europe to provide it’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Service (SEMS).