Sustainable healthcare recycling and waste management framework highlights how tech can support net zero

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) has launched a new framework on sustainable healthcare recycling and waste management, highlighting the role of tech in helping the NHS to meet net zero.

The Sustainable Healthcare Recycling & Waste Management framework, created in collaboration with trusts including Barts Health, Greater Manchester Mental Health, Pennine Care and Bolton, provides NHS organisations with access to “carefully vetted vendors of innovative, sustainable waste management solutions”.

Three areas of technology are highlighted under the framework, including pyrolysis technology, which involves the heating of materials to a high temperature without oxygen, causing a release of energy which can then be used to heat the hospital estate. Also included are waste re-purposing solutions and tech, and technology microwave solutions to decontaminate medical waste without needing high-head incineration.

Emma Clyne, NHS SBS principal category manager – estates and facilities, said: “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.”

“Best practice waste management reduces waste, improves compliance and delivers significant cost savings from lower waste volumes. This plays a crucial role in minimising harm to the environment and increasing resource utilisation, reducing carbon generated from waste, and saving taxpayers money.”

Emma added that with procurement teams in NHS trusts often operating with “very stretched resources”, they can “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.”

In related news, NHS SBS recently announced a tender worth an estimated £150 million, for a procurement framework agreement of digital dictation, speech recognition and outsourced transcription services.

Elsewhere on sustainability, applications opened on the 31st October for SBRI Healthcare’s Competition 24: Delivering a Net Zero NHS for a Healthier Future, with early-stage innovations encouraged to apply to help “accelerate the development of greener innovations towards a more sustainable healthcare system”.