Barts Health NHS Trust joined RecoMed in May 2018. In their first year with the scheme, they
diverted 450 kg of PVC from costly clinical waste streams. That means 15,000 oxygen masks’ worth of PVC was sent for recycling rather than incineration or landfill. And as a result, the trust made substantial savings on waste disposal costs.
Why Barts Health got involved
The trust decided to get involved with RecoMed because anaesthetists and nurses were concerned at the huge amounts of single use plastic items going into the clinical waste bin. They recognised this was expensive for the hospital and damaging for the environment.
What happened next
The first step was for RecoMed to liaise with both clinical and waste management teams at the Trust to confirm which items were recyclable through the Scheme and to decide where to trial it. The decision was made to start with three different theatre recovery areas split between Newham Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital.
The waste management team then recommended a design for the pedal bins to best suit the trial area. RecoMed provided bins to meet the team’s specification, and the trial began.
Clinical staff were enthusiastic about the project, and quickly incorporated RecoMed into their routine. Key individuals helping spread the word and increase engagement included anaesthetists Jonny Groome and Stephen Whyte (co-founders of the Greener Anaesthesia and Sustainability Project (GASP)), Mehul Raithatha and Nav Kaur.
With the trial up and running, the waste team added RecoMed bins to their waste audit programme. By reporting on usage, they made a big contribution to keeping the bins free from non-PVC items – a critical factor in making the scheme workable.
The pace of change was fast. In just the first six months, the Trust saw 250 kg (or the equivalent of 8,300 oxygen masks) of used PVC saved from the clinical waste stream. As a result, Barts Health is now rolling the programme out to theatres across all five of its hospital sites.
Barts Health NHS Trust have been RecoMed participants for over a year. We’re proud to have three of our five hospital sites recycling used PVC masks and tubing that were previously disposed of as offensive waste. The scheme has also generated amazing support from our anaesthetic teams, helping the Trust become greener as part of our war on waste.”Neil Allen – Barts Health NHS Trust Waste and Environment Manager