Shetland Islands Council is incinerating hundreds of tons of NHS clinical waste from health boards across Scotland – including the Highland and Grampian – to help ease a national backlog.
The authority not only earns £144 per ton of waste processed – generating more than £35,000 in the last month – but it also goes through their waste-to-energy plant in Lerwick – providing hot water for the town’s district heating scheme.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Since mid-December NHS Grampian, NHS Highland, NHS Orkney, NHS Tayside have all produced 62 loads of clinical waste, totalling 269 tons.”
“The quantity disposed of to date amounts to less than 10% (by weight) of the total waste incinerated, and is ‘orange bag’ waste, consisting of soiled dressings, swabs, disposables, etc.”
The win-win situation for the council comes as a result of the collapse of clinical waste firm Healthcare Environmental Services based in Lanarkshire.
Health boards across the country terminated contracts with the firm amid concerns over the capability of it to conduct disposal works, and eventually it folded – at a cost of hundreds of jobs.