Shetland processing 700 tonnes clinical waste from mainland

Incinerating clinical waste from health boards across Scotland is bringing around £8,000 a week into Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) coffers.

The SIC started taking in low grade NHS waste such as soiled dressings and swabs in mid-December to help ease a national backlog and by Friday (15 March) £105,207 had been received by the council for burning the waste.

This equates to around 730 tonnes, with the local authority receiving £143.95 per tonne in income.

All transport is organised and paid for by NHS Scotland.

Any new income stream is a welcome bonus at a time when Shetland Islands Council is faced with finding over £15 million in savings over the next five years.

The burned waste helps to provide hot water for Lerwick’s district heating scheme.

It is unclear, however, how long the SIC will continue to be given NHS waste from south to burn.

The link-up started when clinical waste firm Healthcare Environmental Services folded after the North Lanarkshire based company lost NHS contracts when it had run up a backlog of waste.

“NHS Scotland are dealing with this issue day-to-day,” an SIC spokesperson said.

“Various short, medium and long-term solutions are being explored at a national level. SIC is in regular discussion with NHS Scotland to coordinate this activity.

“Where possible, SIC will continue to assist NHS Scotland in dealing with clinical waste disposal, within our plant’s capacity and operating permit.”

Shetland Islands Council also burns low grade clinical waste from NHS Shetland and NHS Orkney.

It’s an ill wind ……

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