Sustainable NHS Clinical Waste Treatment

Enabling the NHS to implement sustainable onsite clinical waste treatment that reduces waste management costs and environmental impact.

Our story

by Mariana WM

Previously known as Eurotec Environmental, Mariana WM specialises in reducing waste and energy costs through smart technologies that allow organisations to improve sustainability and compliance. We worked with Barts Health NHS Trust to open the UK’s first Sterilwave clinical waste processing facility at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London.

Historically, clinical waste is collected daily from hospitals across the country and transported – often 60 or 70 miles away – to be disposed of by incineration. Managing clinical waste this way is known to be an inefficient, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly process that creates an end product that is very difficult to dispose of. A significant amount of carbon is also produced during the transportation of clinical waste in heavy vehicles.

We implemented a pioneering waste-treatment process that would not only be kinder to the environment but create a more efficient and cost-effective way for Whipps Cross to safely dispose of around 80% of the clinical waste that they produce. This has delivered an 80% reduction in carbon miles, improved local air quality, removed any off-site non-compliance issues, and protected the hospital from the widespread capacity issues that frequently occur when a traditional merchant plant is unable to provide service.

Our facility at Whipps Cross uses innovative Sterilwave technology to safely process and treat clinical waste into unrecognisable small pieces before being microwaved at between 105 and 110 degrees for 20 minutes to sterilise the contents. This ground, sanitised waste is called flock – a treated waste product that is completely safe and inert. This can then be disposed of as a refuse derived fuel (RDF). The process produces zero emissions – something that is unique in waste processing – and we reduce the hospital’s carbon footprint further by ensuring the end product is used in waste-to-energy plants.

Our pioneering clinical waste treatment facility at Whipps Cross University Hospital opened in 2016. Today, we also operate clinical waste processing at West Middlesex University Hospital and are looking to expand our service to support other hospitals across the UK.

Our advice

Think about capacity – Issues with capacity and incinerator site shutdowns are common in the clinical waste sector and expensive to rectify. By creating guaranteed waste processing capacity onsite at a guaranteed price, organisations and institutions can plan and budget more effectively.

Think about compliance – Transporting clinical waste comes with a huge range of risks, an accident that spills clinical waste can be hugely costly – both in terms of public relations and financial outlay – while incorrect processing can lead to a range of compliance issues. Onsite processing can give hospitals more control over the proper treatment of waste.

Understand waste emissions – From carbon miles to the carbon produced through incineration or environmental damage caused by sending waste to landfill, transforming your waste processing can have a hugely positive impact on your overall carbon footprint. By considering your waste process, from beginning to end, you can visualise the scale of potential carbon savings.

Hospitals and other organisations can reach out to Mariana WM to find out more about onsite clinical waste treatment.

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Duchess of York visits Whipps Cross facility