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Helping hospitals manage waste: New report and calculator from Resource Efficient Scotland

Hospitals across Scotland could benefit from increased co-operation in how they manage food waste, a new report produced by Resource Efficient Scotland has revealed.

17 Feb 14

Resource Efficient Scotland (RES) was launched in April 2013 to help businesses, the public sector and the third sector save money by using resources more efficiently. It is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Zero Waste Scotland.

It claims that collaborative investment in new systems and collections services could help health boards to meet the requirements of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which require them to separate hospital food waste for recycling from January 2016. 

The findings are from a report commissioned by Resource Efficient Scotland, in partnership with Health Facilities Scotland, to improve understanding of food waste collection requirements in NHS Scotland hospitals.  Conducted by the Organic Resource Agency (ORA) Ltd, the research involved a survey of 33 hospitals across six Board areas to determine the potential impacts and benefits that could result from changing food waste disposal to food waste collection or onsite treatment solutions.

The report, which has been shared with all NHS Scotland Boards, is complemented by a food waste calculator tool, which can be used by all hospitals in Scotland to identify the financial implications of changing food waste management practices.

At present, most hospital food waste is currently disposed of via sink macerators or, to a lesser extent, general waste collections.  The report identifies a number of options for hospitals to be compliant with the regulations, including recycling collections, reverse logistics, and on-site treatment or pre-treatment. 

It also highlights benefits of greater collaboration including:

  • Co-ordinating waste collection services within Boards;
  • Centralised purchasing of technology for multiple sites
  • Sharing practical experience and knowledge
  • Opportunities for collaboration with other NHS boards.
  • Opportunities  for hospitals to collaborate with other public and commercial organisations for the collection of food waste

Marissa Lippiatt, Head of Resource Efficient Scotland:

“The report and calculator together provide comprehensive guidance for health boards in Scotland to help them take practical action to improve their food waste management. This will help them to meet the requirements of the Waste (Scotland) regulations, which come into force for the NHSS from January 2016.  I welcome the ongoing relationship between RES and NHSScotland Boards, helping Boards to work towards the new waste regulations.

John Green, Chair of Health Facilities Scotland’s national Waste Management Steering Group said:

“In continually seeking to improve its sustainability performance, NHSScotland Boards value the ongoing partnership and support which has developed between Zero Waste Scotland / Resource Efficient Scotland and the HFS Waste Management Steering Group. In the last year, the benefits of that work are now being felt across the healthcare estate. Boards have actively engaged in and welcome the food waste calculator tool and this report which, in addition to further advice and support from RES and contractors, will be invaluable in further assisting their preparations for compliance with the challenging requirements in The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012.”

The report is available to download from the Resource Efficient Scotland website www.resourceefficientscotland.com.

Resource Efficient Scotland will be engaging with all NHSS boards throughout 2014 as they apply the findings to their properties and to support their endeavours to adhere to the new regulations.

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