Supporting the NHS to meet sustainability and social value objectives

  • 07/07/2022
  • Written by NOE CPC

The NHS is responsible for around 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions, as well as producing thousands of tonnes of waste a year. Dealing with waste and ensuring waste management is sustainable and diverts away from landfills as much as possible is a task that all organisations must keep on top of.

On 1 July 2022, the NHS in England became the first health system to embed net zero into legislation, through the Health and Care Act 2022. According to the Greener NHS Take Action plan, most NHS waste, if sorted correctly, does not end up in landfills. Ensuring waste is sorted correctly can help maximise what is recycled. NHS England encourages a split of 60% offensive waste, 20% waste sent for High Temperature Incineration (HTI), and 20% of waste sent for alternative treatment (AT), however many trusts still have unnecessarily high levels of HTI waste and are segregating low levels of offensive. This means that waste is not being treated as sustainably, or cost effectively, as it could be.

Jackie Williams, Senior Category Manager for Facilities Management at NOE CPC said: “Sustainability and cutting carbon footprints are at the forefront of future planning for the NHS. Many trusts have taken steps to employ sustainability managers and create green plans. Waste is a key area that needs to be carefully managed for the NHS to meet its aim of becoming carbon net zero by 2040 for the emissions the NHS controls directly.

“As we mark Plastic Free July, issues associated with waste and recycling will be at the forefront. Suppliers of waste management services are working to identify new and cleaner processes, utilising technology and best practice, and finding solutions to divert waste from landfills. This approach helps to underpin key NHS and national initiatives.”

We work closely with our suppliers to identify issues being faced by NHS trusts and align our support so we can help to resolve these issues.

Sharpsmart, one of the suppliers on our Total Waste Management Services II agreement, highlighted one of the main challenges facing NHS trusts was poor segregation of healthcare waste. There were several factors affecting this including a lack of awareness and resources. This was further impacted by the pandemic when waste was being labelled as infectious, and trusts now need to reinstate segregation practices and treat waste more sustainably and cost effectively.

There are many solutions available to address waste segregation including training and behavioural change programmes, reusable container services, and the sustainable treatment of clinical waste. We work closely with our suppliers to utilise their knowledge and expertise in clinical waste to develop systems and processes to change behaviours across the clinical setting and improve the segregation of waste. For example, Sharpsmart offers a revolutionary Non-burn Treatment solution for medicinally contaminated sharps waste which could previously only be disposed of via high temperature incineration, as well as metal recovery solutions. This option offers trusts a sustainable route to reduce costs around the disposal of metal devices and guidewires that would previously have been incinerated, to be segregated, sterilised, and sent for recycling. Customers can access these services through our Total Waste Management Services II framework.

NOE CPC has also utilised the knowledge of another of our suppliers, Uniscope, in encouraging trusts to maximise their recycling of waste paper and cardboard. They believe they can support trusts to ensure that 100% recycling of these products is achieved. As well as providing a range of units for trusts to segregate materials, they also offer tonnage and recycle rates which can be used within the organisation’s environmental management system through Uniscope’s zero landfill policy. Customers can access this resource through NOE CPC’s Total Waste Management Services II framework.

Following the introduction of the social value model, the minimum weighting of 10% on social value criteria in the procurement process is now a mandatory requirement. NOE CPC has embraced this approach and we now incorporate social value into our procurement activity. If you require support or guidance on utilising this approach or would like to discuss how our frameworks and services can help you meet your social value and sustainability objectives, you can get in touch with our Support Desk by emailing

Jackie added: “NOE CPC is committed to minimising the economic and environmental impact associated with our frameworks while enhancing the ethical and social impacts of our procurement activities. These include carbon emissions, waste generation, and resource efficiency.”

Our Total Waste Management Services II framework offers access to a breadth of suppliers with resources and knowledge to support your waste management to prevent waste, recycle and implement effective segregation. To find out more about this free to access agreement click here.

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