Carbon-saving reusable sharps container service launched

NHS Trusts can potentially achieve ‘major carbon savings’ with the launch of a new reusable sharps container service from Grundon Waste Management – the integrated waste management and environmental services specialist says.

The service, developed in partnership with Inpress Precision, a specialist manufacturer for the medical and healthcare sector, uses Sharpak Zero reusable containers. These save an average 87% of the carbon used within the lifetime of a container, thereby preventing millions of single-use containers being disposed of annually. A recent trial at Hammersmith Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, saw Sharpak Zero containers installed in two ICU units, chosen due to the high volume of sharps used. With staff training provided by Grundon and Inpress Precision, in just eight weeks the Trust saved 1.26 tonnes of CO2e, compared with  disposal of its existing single-use sharps containers.

Andy Stratton, Grundon’s Commercial Manager – Clinical, said: “We were extremely pleased with the trial results, and believe the reuseable sharps container service has the potential to generate real carbon savings for NHS Trusts. The benefits of this process are three-fold. Mostly importantly, we are saving carbon emissions, because we are no longer needlessly incinerating millions of single-use sharps containers every year. Secondly, weighing just the contents of the bins gives NHS Trusts a true carbon reduction figure because it does not include the weight of the bin, and lastly, cleaning and reusing the containers mean no plastic is wasted, in addition to dramatically reducing the amount of virgin plastic required to produce new bins each time.”

He continued: “The NHS Clinical Waste Strategy tasks Trusts with achieving a 50% reduction in carbon emissions produced from waste management by 2026, a figure that rises to 80% by 2028-2032. In particular, they have to reduce the average net cost of clinical waste management by 15% per tonne of waste by 2030. To achieve these carbon and financial savings, bold decisions will have to be made about adopting new technology and new ways of operating. Sharpak Zero reusable sharps containers are proven to reduce carbon emissions yet – most importantly for busy nursing staff – they do not require any changes to existing sharps container disposal routes, making the implementation easy to manage.”

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