NHS launches new waste management framework

The NHS Shared Businesses Service (NHS SBS) has launched its inaugural waste management framework designed to help the NHS reach net zero.

NHS Waste management frameworkThe ‘Sustainable Healthcare and Recycling and Waste Management’ framework was launched today (2 November), in collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and  Bolton NHS Foundation Trust alongside a range of suppliers of waste management services and technologies.

The framework aims to give NHS organisations and the wider public sector access to vetted vendors of waste management solutions – such as pyrolysis technologies, on-site bio-digesters and food recycling management – with the ability to purchase them compliantly and cost-effectively with the intention of speeding up the reduction of carbon emissions.

Emma Clyne, Principal Category Manager at NHS SBS, commented: “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.

“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 new framework arrives following the NHS’s Clinical Waste Strategy – published March 2023 – which outlines the organisation’s commitments and directions towards eliminating waste and converting it into a resource.

The strategy set a target of a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from waste by the year 2026 alongside a 15 per cent reduction in the average net cost of clinical waste management per tonne of waste by the year 2030.

These targets precede the NHS’s overarching goal of achieving net zero direct emissions by the year 2040, and net zero indirect emissions by 2045.

Waste management in the NHS

The NHS SBS procurement framework includes a number of ‘state-of-the-art’ technological solutions to drive the organisation’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions.

The output from the process of pyrolysis – whereby material is heated to high temperatures without oxygen to generate energy – will be used to heat hospital estates under the new plans.

Plans to reduce food waste are to be accelerated by on-site aerobic bio-digesters, while the NHS SBS also plans to mitigate the need for high-heat incineration of medical waste by using microwave treatment as a means of decontaminating the waste.

Emma Clyne added: “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.

“Procurement teams at NHS trusts, as well as in the wider public sector often operate with very stretched resources. They 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 covers a wide array of lots including hazardous waste, bins, food recycling management services and clinical healthcare waste. Barts NHS Hospital Foundation Trust also has its own range of individual lots to serve the organisation, including cardboard, residual commercial and household waste and feminine hygiene products.

The lots within the framework are to be provided by the following suppliers within the waste industry:

  • Acumen Waste Services Ltd
  • Bagnall & Morris (Waste Services) Ltd
  • Bergmann Direct Ltd
  • Biffa Waste Services Ltd
  • Bywaters (Leyton) Limited
  • Catalyst Waste Solutions Limited
  • Fresh Start Waste Services Ltd
  • Globechain (UK) Limited
  • Greenzone Facilities Management Ltd
  • Grundon Waste Management Limited
  • Independent Safety Services Limited
  • Keenan Recycling Limited
  • Mission HERU Ltd
  • Mitie Waste and Environmental Services
  • Personnel Hygiene Services Limited
  • Pro Health Solutions Limited
  • Ricardo-AEA Ltd
  • Ramco (UK) Limited
  • Rentokil Initial UK Ltd
  • Restore Datashred Limited
  • Ricoh UK Ltd
  • Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd
  • Sharpsmart Ltd
  • Shred Station Ltd
  • Shred-it Limited
  • Shredall (East Midlands) Limited
  • Sitemark Ltd
  • SRCL Ltd T/A Stericycle
  • Sust-N Limited
  • Tradebe Healthcare National Ltd
  • Veolia ES (UK) Limited