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Zero Waste Scotland joins forces with NHSScotland to tackle disposable waste

A project aiming to look at maximising the lifespan of a variety of single-use products procured by NHSScotland’s National Procurement is gathering momentum and will be present at the P4H (Procurement for Health) event at Edinburgh’s EICC on Tuesday 12 March 2019.

Zero Waste Scotland is working in collaboration with National Procurement – a division of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) - to examine viable waste reduction solutions that can help drive multiple benefits for the environment, patients, public and the economy.

Taking a collaborative approach to deliver the greatest impact for Scotland, a steering group, which includes NSS, ZWS, SEPA, H&I Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, will work to guide and support the delivery of feasibility, modelling and development of business cases for more circular products and services.

The work is focusing on low risk products initially, covering furniture, IT equipment, walking aids, small medical devices and single-use devices. So far, there have been several supplier engagement workshops, with suppliers being key to re-thinking the typical supply of products and finding new circular solutions which save carbon and create more economic wealth in Scotland.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“This project could deliver a substantial change to the healthcare sector and its use of products. An analysis of the lifecycle of these five project groups within NHSScotland will shed light on how alternative models can keep them in service for longer. A circular approach to goods and services aims to redesign products for longevity, repair and reuse, removing unnecessary waste whilst maintaining high safety and infection control requirements.

"This is a truly fantastic collaboration between National Procurement and ourselves. We welcome these partnership opportunities to overcome our greatest challenges to achieving circularity, and will help position Scotland at the forefront with economic benefits for all.”

The scheme will examine how items that may only be used for a finite period could have a greater life. In the circular economy, products are redesigned or maintained so they can be used again and again instead of thrown away. This collaborative approach will move away from a linear model of disposal to achieve a shared ambition of transitioning towards the circular economy.

The initiative sets out to gain better value from products currently in use. NHS Scotland spends around £2.3bn on goods and services every year with the vast majority procured through National Procurement. By keeping products like furniture, IT equipment, walking aids, small medical devices and single-use devices in use for longer, NHS Scotland could buy less and therefore free up money to be spent elsewhere.

Martin Street, Director Strategic Sourcing, National Procurement, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), said:

“We are delighted to be working with Zero Waste Scotland to help look at the potential solutions to develop more sustainable and circular methods of procurement for the £2.3 billion of goods, services and works that NHS Scotland procures on an annual basis. It is vital that we work with our supply base to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits and ensure we take a leading role in this.”

In parallel we are engaging the supply chain, through workshops and other events.

Zero Waste Scotland will have a presence at the P4H event, in Edinburgh 12 March 2019. Head to our stand to find out more and see how you can get involved.

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