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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Grundon offers carbon savings to NHS trusts through new sharps service

The Business Magazine article image for: Grundon offers carbon savings to NHS trusts through new sharps service
George Cooke, Inpress Precision with Andy Stratton and Becky Lillywhite of Grundon
27 June 2024
George Cooke, Inpress Precision with Andy Stratton and Becky Lillywhite of Grundon

Bristol waste management company Grundon believe NHS trusts can make considerable carbon savings thanks to a new reusable sharps container service.

The service, developed with West Sussex-based Inpress Precision, specialist manufacturer to the medical and healthcare sector, uses Sharpak Zero™ reusable containers for the disposal of sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and scissors, or lancets.

Reuse saves an average 87 per cent of the carbon used within the lifetime of a container, thereby preventing millions of single-use containers being disposed of each year.

Trials at one NHS trust have demonstrated well over a tonne of CO2e savings in just eight weeks across two ICU units.

Andy Stratton, Commercial Manager - Clinical for Grundon, said the service offers a potential major win for NHS trusts as they work towards carbon emission reduction targets set out in the NHS Clinical Waste Strategy.

He said: “By 2026, trusts have been tasked with achieving a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions produced from waste management, a figure that rises to 80 per cent 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. This is where we can help.

“The hard facts are that, 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.”

The carbon-saving secret lies in the reuse process once the containers have left NHS premises. 

The Sharpak Zero containers, approved to UN standards, are collected in the same way, but on arrival at Grundon’s facilities are emptied using specialist equipment. 

The contents are weighed before being sent for high temperature incineration, the empty containers sanitised and inspected before being returned to Inpress Precision for quality checking and redistribution.

Each Sharpak Zero container is fitted with an identifying barcode to track the number of times it has been used. After 10 uses, the container will be granulated for reprocessing into new containers. After 10 cycles of 10 uses, the plastic is granulated again and used in other plastic products, so the plastic is never wasted, only borrowed.

A recent trial at Hammersmith Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, saw Sharpak Zero containers installed in two ICU units, which were 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 to disposal of its existing single-use sharps containers.

Andy said: “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.”

Each Sharpak Zero container is fitted with a patented VisiLOCK closing mechanism, eliminating the risk of contamination or needle-stick injuries, and approved to UN 3291 and ISO 23907:2019 Part 2. The containers are available from Grundon or via the NHS Supply Chain. 


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Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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