Leading corporate services provider, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), has launched its inaugural ‘Sustainable Healthcare Recycling & Waste Management’ framework agreement, which it says is designed to help the NHS meet its stringent Net Zero targets.
It has been developed in collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, and ‘suppliers of pioneering sustainable waste management services and technologies’. NHS SBS says it gives NHS organisations and the public sector access to ‘carefully vetted vendors of innovative, sustainable waste management solutions’, such as pyrolysis technology, on site bio-digesters, and food recycling management, ‘with the ability to buy them compliantly, cost-effectively, and at pace’.
The NHS’s Clinical waste strategy, published in March 2023, sets out NHS England’s ambition to ‘transform the management of clinical waste by eliminating, reusing, and processing it in the most cost-effective and sustainable way’. It aims to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions produced from waste management by 2032 – ‘by increasing sustainable, environmentally-friendly waste management methods’.
“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,” explained Emma Clyne, NHS SBS Principal Category manager – Estates and Facilities, at NHS SBS.
“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.”
The NHS SBS procurement framework agreement includes:
- New ‘state-of-the-art’ technological solutions like pyrolysis – heating material to a high temperature without oxygen, which releases the energy trapped inside it, which can then be used to heat the hospital estate.
- Aerobic bio-digesters – a form of on-site accelerated composting which can significantly reduce food waste taken off site.
- Microwave treatment, using a heat source to decontaminate various types of medical waste, which can then be managed without high-heat incineration.
Emma Clyne added: “Procurement teams at NHS Trusts, and across the wider public sector, often operate with very stretched resources, and 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.”
The framework runs from 23 October 2023 - 23 October 2025.