The Stericycle team was in a celebratory mood last night after being declared the winners of the Best Use of Design and Technology in a Waste Management Facility Award at the Let’s Recycle 2019 Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management.
The Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management are considered the most prestigious event in the environmental services calendar and were held at the five-star Landmark Hotel in London on May 9th, 2019.
The team won the award for its work delivering the Bio Systems Sharps Management service at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. The award is given to companies and organisations using technology or equipment which enhances the way waste management work is carried out and minimises the impact on the environment.
Let’s Recycle said in the award category criteria “A modern approach to waste management is essential as the UK looks to meet recycling and landfill diversion targets. The way facilities are designed and operated is more important than ever.”
Stericycle is dedicated to finding sustainable, environmentally-friendly and compliant recovery options for all the waste we handle. Recycling is always our preferred method and over a third of the waste we collect is recycled. However, where waste requires special treatment to protect human health and the environment, we try to make these treatment processes as sustainable as possible, so they are neither harmful to the environment or deplete natural resources.
The Bio Systems Sharps Management is one of these sustainable services. Instead of putting sharps in single-use containers which are then incinerated, Stericycle provides reusable containers that are collected, emptied, disinfected and resupplied to the hospital. The containers can each be used up to 600 times after washing and disinfection.
In the short time the Bio Systems Sharps Management service has been in place at Salford Royal Foundation Trust, it has delivered tangible benefits for the organisation, its staff and the environment.
Benefits for the Trust
- Clean replacement containers are supplied daily, which means there is no waste build-up around the site
- Stericycle’s Bio Systems service offers estimated cost savings of between 10–20 per cent over the total costs involved in using single-use sharps containers
- Waste is processed with a full and robust audit trail
Benefits for the Trust’s staff
- The introduction of Bio Systems has meant a significant improvement in the safety of staff at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. It has removed all risk from out of the sharps process as not only does a Stericycle service technician handle the full containers, but replacement ones are provided already in the format for which they are going to be used
- Having a fully managed service with dedicated Stericycle technicians means staff are freed up to carry out other duties
Benefits for the environment
- For each Bio Systems container used, up to 600 single-use containers are prevented from being incinerated. This is equivalent to running two small cars for a year (based on a typical 1200 bed NHS trust) and is instrumental in the reduction of greenhouse gases.
- Additionally, as containers are reused, bulky packaging waste from the purchase of single-use containers, is also eliminated
It is the second award the Bio Systems Sharps Management service has received and follows on from recent success at the HSJ Partnership awards. However, whilst we are incredibly proud of the Bio Systems service, we are even more proud of our Stericycle staff – without them we would not be able to consistently offer NHS trusts such a smooth-running, efficient and sustainable waste management facility.
As we approach World Day for Safety and Health at Work, it’s a good opportunity to focus on a workplace injury that is largely preventable. The European Agency of Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 1 million needlestick injuries occur every year. Sharps injuries can happen when needles are improperly or carelessly disposed of, instead of being placed in sealed sharps containers.
According to NHS Resolution between 2012 – 2017 there were 1,833 incident claims for needlestick injuries and the cost to the NHS is equivalent to 125 band 5 nurses for one year. There are legal requirements on employers to take steps to prevent healthcare staff being exposed to infectious agents from sharps injuries.
A needlestick injury can be avoided by following simple guidelines and recognising that appropriate waste segregation is vital to the safety of staff, patients and any persons in contact in a health or social services where sharps are used.
Our Senior Bio-Systems Business Manager Amie Marsh has put together some top tips for reducing the risk of receiving a sharps injury:
- Ensure sharps containers are assembled correctly
- The colour of the lid should match the colour of the base label. The lid should be securely attached as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Sharps containers should be located at the point of patient care This is to ensure staff can dispose of the sharp safely and immediately after use, directly into the sharps container. Staff should not carry around any used sharps away from the point of patient care.
- Temporary closure activated When not in use, the temporary closure on the disposable sharps unit should be selected to ensure the container is secure whilst in situ.
- Sharps waste only Only sharps waste should be disposed of in the sharps containers. For non-sharps waste select the appropriate bagged waste stream.
- Permanently lock when full Once contents are at the fill line (usually three quarters full) the container must be permanently locked and disposed of. DO NOT overfill a sharps container, this can lead to an increased risk of sharps injury and the spread of infection.
- Use the handle When carrying a sharps container, always use the handle.
- Dispose of containers safely Sharps should be disposed of safely into a sharps container with the sharp-end disposed of first and always facing away from you.
To find out how we can help you reduce sharps related injuries in your facility, contact a member of our specialist team today.
If you haven’t heard of Earth Day it is a global awareness day celebrated each year on April 22nd. According to estimates, over 1 billion people in 192 countries take part in a variety of events and activities held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. People march, sign petitions, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Organisations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures.
This is an important day for us because we are passionate about minimising the effects of waste on the environment and as well as working to do this every day it is an integral part of our plans for the future. We aim to create long-term practices that respect the environment and are continuously putting effort and investment into new and innovative technologies to address the challenge of sustainably managing healthcare waste.
Most of Stericycle’s received waste inputs (and process waste outputs) are either re-used, recovered or recycled. As a resource management company, we handle over 150,000 tonnes of a wide and diverse range of clinical waste each year. Here are some of the ways we reuse, reduce and recycle it:
Our Bio Systems sharps management service provides healthcare organisations with reusable containers that are collected, emptied, washed, disinfected and returned. For each Bio Systems container used, up to 600 single-use containers are prevented from being incinerated. This is equivalent to running two small cars for a year (based on a typical 1200 bed NHS trust) and is instrumental in the reduction of greenhouse gases.
The incineration process
During clinical waste incineration ash, lime and steam are created. Each of these by-products can be reused or recycled:
- Ash is collected by approved contractors for various other processes.
- Waste lime is collected for reuse by third parties.
- Steam produced by the process is either used to generate electricity or in local heating schemes.
Steam produced by Stericycle’s on-site waste-to-energy incinerator is also used to power the Bio Systems wash-line making it a self-contained, self-sufficient and sustainable service.
Alternative treatment process
Alternative treatment is the heating of waste to disinfect it, as an alternative to incineration.
As part of the alternative treatment process the disinfected waste is shredded into flock. Flock can be used as a fuel source and is sent to energy-from-waste plants or cement kilns. Since the beginning of 2014 99 per cent of the flock created from our clinical waste treatment plants has been used in this way.
However, we are not just dedicated to finding sustainable, environmentally friendly and compliant recovery options for all waste we handle, we have also looked at how we can improve our administrative procedures. In May 2018 we became a paperless organisation with the launch of our Stericycle e-consignment notes. This has reduced paper waste for us and our customers and contributes to our overall reduction in energy consumption.
Earth Day reminds us that environmental action is something everyone can and should take part in whether it is picking up litter you see on the street or being a company that uses sustainable waste disposal methods, we all can make a difference.
Hot on the heels of our success at this year’s HSJ Partnership Awards for our work delivering the Bio Systems sharps management service at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, we are delighted to announce that Stericycle has been nominated for another award.
This time Bio Systems has been shortlisted for the best use of design and technology in a waste management facility in the Awards for Excellence and Recycling in Waste Management.
We’re incredibly proud of the Bio Systems service which is helping the NHS meet it sustainability targets and improves its green credentials. It is also improving staff safety and is more cost-efficient.
A good example of this is Colchester Hospital where we have been providing the Bio Systems Sharps Management since 2016. The unique end-to-end service includes collection, transportation and disposal of all sharps, as well as replacement of the reusable containers.
Scott Yearling, deputy logistics manager at Colchester Hospital believes there are many benefits to having this service in place. The Bio Systems reusable containers, which can each be used up to 600 times after washing and disinfection, have led to financial savings for the hospital because they have eliminated the cost of continually paying for new single-use containers.
Since 2016, the number of needle stick injuries at the hospital has reduced drastically, which Scott attributes to a combination of staff training and the Bio Systems Sharps Management service.
Our success with Bio Systems is testament to the hard work has gone into developing the service and yet again this has been recognised by being shortlisted for another award.
Stericycle Vice President UK and Ireland
There can be no better way of celebrating our 30th birthday and three decades of providing healthcare waste management services to over a million customers than with a HSJ partnership award. Stericycle has just won an HSJ Clinical Support Service award for its work delivering the Bio Systems Sharps Management service at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. The award recognises providers and commissioners of clinical support services in the NHS that have improved efficiency, quality and value through service redesign or innovation.
It was a fantastic and timely reflection of the hard work and investment that Stericycle has put into making the collection, transport and treatment of clinical waste safe, cost-effective and sustainable for the last 30 years
Since Stericycle was first founded in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1989, it now has a presence in 22 countries managing healthcare waste services at over 650 locations worldwide. Stericycle employs 25500 team members, has a fleet of 6300 trucks and serves over 1,000,000 customers in the specialist disposal of clinical, infectious, hazardous, pharmaceutical, chemical, sharps, dental and veterinary waste.
Specialist waste requires a specialist approach and Stericycle has a proven track record in supporting local, national and international companies across both the public and private healthcare sectors.
In the UK, Stericycle is now one of the leading healthcare waste services provider, offering over 25,000 customers, including the NHS, an unrivalled infrastructure of waste treatment facilities, transfer stations and a comprehensive fleet of specialist vehicles.
However, it is not just Stericycle’s growth over the past 30 years that we are proud of, but our ever-evolving environmentally responsible and sustainable waste management methods.
As a waste business, it’s only natural that we are concerned about the environment and Stericycle’s treatment and disposal methods are based on industry regulations as well as best practices for the appropriate management of each waste stream.
Recycling is always Stericycle’s preferred method and over a third of the waste we collect is recycled. However, medical and hazardous wastes which can contain chemicals, certain viruses or other harmful substances require special treatment to protect human health and the environment. Where we can we make these waste treatment processes as sustainable as possible so they are neither harmful to the environment or deplete natural resources.
Our Bio Systems Sharps Management for which we won the HSJ Clinical Support Service Award is one of these sustainable services. Bio Systems is a safer and more sustainable alternative for sharps waste. Instead of putting sharps in single-use containers which are then incinerated, Stericycle provides reusable containers that are collected, emptied, disinfected and resupplied to the hospital. The containers can each be used up to 600 times after washing and disinfection.
In the short time the Bio Systems Sharps Management service has been in place at Salford Royal Foundation Trust, it has delivered tangible benefits for both the organisation and its staff.
We hope to continue providing, delivering and innovating these award-winning methods of sustainable, safe and cost-effective waste management services for many more years to come.
Vice President UK and Ireland
We are delighted that our Bio Systems Sharps Management service at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust has been nominated for an HSJ Clinical Support Service award in the HSJ partnership awards 2019. The award recognises providers and commissioners of clinical support services in the NHS that have improved efficiency, quality and value through service redesign or innovation.
Bio Systems Sharps Management is a unique service that has transformed the sharps disposal process. Instead of putting sharps in single-use containers which are then incinerated, Stericycle provides reusable containers that are collected, emptied, disinfected and resupplied to the hospital. The containers can each be used up to 600 times after washing and disinfection.
Working with Salford Royal Foundation trust, we introduced Bio Systems via a phased approach to ensure a smooth transition from single-use containers, with several trials operating in heavy usage areas within the hospital, such as Accident & Emergency, CCU and busy wards. Over a year, Bio Systems was introduced to all areas of the hospital. Staff were fully trained on how to use the containers and ancillary equipment during each phase of the implementation process.
In the short time the Bio Systems Sharps Management service has been in place, it has delivered tangible benefits for the trust and its staff. Eliminating single-use containers has created financial savings, as well as drastically lowering the CO2 emissions the process generates.
As the containers of sharps are removed from the site regularly and clean replacement containers are supplied on a daily basis, the trust no longer has a backlog of waste building up on the site. The introduction of Bio Systems has also meant a significant improvement in the safety of staff at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, as a Stericycle service technician handles the full containers. This has the added benefit of freeing up hospital porters to carry out other duties.
Being shortlisted is a fantastic acknowledgement of the hard work and investment that together with NHS trusts we are putting into making clinical waste management more sustainable and cost-effective. The winner of all the HSJ Partnership Awards will be announced at a black-tie event on 20th March and you can find out more about Bio Systems at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust here.
Vice President UK and Ireland
Re: Clinical Waste Capacity Issues
In light of the media reports and political statements that have emerged since 4th October 2018 concerning a clinical waste supplier – and the clinical waste market in general – I am writing to reassure you that Stericycle is fully committed to performing all of its contracted services to its customers.
As a long-standing, global provider of clinical waste services, we have the necessary resources, capacity and expertise to maintain services throughout the UK and Ireland to our usual high standards of service and compliance.
Stericycle is working closely with the government, regulators and other responsible suppliers to identify:
- sufficient disposal capacity to process the backlogs of clinical waste
- sufficient disposal capacity to meet ongoing Incineration and Alternative Treatment requirements
- robust contingency arrangements for any supply failure in the coming months
Stericycle has stepped in to help resolve such situations before, so we are sharing our experience and expertise with all stakeholders to ensure that compliant solutions can be found which will sustain the clinical waste market into the future.
Stericycle will treat all service requests fairly and responsibly. We will find solutions that work for all waste producers. In return, we ask that all our customers work in partnership with us during this time.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the current situation, please call Customer Service on 0333 240 4400 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and they will do their best to help you.
Vice-President, Stericycle UK & Ireland