The NHS’s sprawling network creates a diverse and complex set of waste streams. How do hospitals manage their waste and what developments are helping fight the constant budgetary battle?
The NHS in England spent £87 million on waste in 2014/15. Though a vital part of the healthcare system is dealing with this material safely, the sustained stress on healthcare and welfare budgets caused by austerity mean that every penny counts. The domestic waste – trays of uneaten food, discarded cards and flowers, newspapers, bottles and boxes – are easy enough to deal with. The most expensive and most complicated part of waste from hospitals is the clinical waste.