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Latest news

We're always working on new projects to help the Trust minimise its impact on the environment. On this page you can keep up-to-date on the latest news.

You can also read our Green News newsletter, and keep updated on what we're doing for Climate Week.


Sustainability Report 16-17

For a full report on the work of the Sustainability Team for the year 2016-17 please see the Annual Sustainability Report, which highlights the achievements that have been made under 9 key action areas - Energy, Waste, Water, Buildings & Land, Journeys, Procurement, Models of Care, Adaptation and Culture.

Sustainability_Report_2016-17.pdf

Carbon Trust Standard for Waste

Carbon Trust standard logoOur achievements in improving the way we manage our waste has been awarded the coveted Carbon Trust Standard for Waste. We are only the second NHS Trust (and the first outside of London) to achieve this.

The award follows an audit by the Carbon Trust who recognised our commitment to improving the Trust’s environmental sustainability, and our work to develop programmes to reduce, reuse and recycle more of the waste we produce. Projects include:

  • the first NHS Trust in Europe to switch to reusable sharps boxes in 2004
  • diverting all our waste away from landfill since January 2011
  • breaking down our food waste in special ‘digesters’
  • recycling paper, plastic and metal from our healthcare processes
  • baling our cardboard on-site to generate an income
  • reducing the amount of waste we produce in relation to the number of patients we see.

You can see more information about the Carbon Trust Waste Standard.

HSJ award shortlist

We were shortlisted in the Environmental Sustainability category of the Health Service Journal Awards 2014 for our OHPAT – Moving Care Closer to Home project.

Rather than patients having to come to hospital for treatment, the project aims to administer parenteral antibiotic therapy (usually antibiotics given by injection or intravenously), at home or in outpatient departments.

As well as improvements in patient care and financial savings, the project is helping to save over 420 tonnes of CO2 a year through avoiding patient visits to hospital. The project also helps eliminate over 12,000 travel miles annually (almost 4 tonnes of CO2 per year).

We were 'highly commended' at the awards ceremony in London in November 2014. You can find more information on the HSJ Awards website.

Meeting cost and environmental targets

James Dixon, Waste and Sustainability Manager at Newcastle Hospitals, was quoted in a Guardian newspaper article about the 'circular economy' and meeting NHS cost and environmental targets.

You can read the full story on the Guardian website.

We’re a national recycling star!

Gold award logoWe have been awarded a Gold Star in the national recycling stars scheme.

The highest honour is only awarded to organisations that recycle and/or recover over 95% of their waste. As we send all the black bag waste that we don’t recycle to an Energy from Waste facility rather than landfill, we scored very highly in the awards. Following the introduction of green bins for mixed recycling at the RVI, we increased our recycling rate by 20% in just six months. The same bins are being rolled out in the Freeman Hospital in 2013.

At the awards event, a number of delegates voiced how impressed they were with our work so far, particularly given the unique challenges of recycling in a very large acute NHS Trust.

Thermal insulated pipework

Miles of pipework run throughout our hospitals, most of which gives off wasted heat. With thermal insulated pipework, we can trap this escaping heat saving thousands of pounds in wasted heat energy and saving hundreds of tonnes of carbon dioxide from generating this heat in the first place.

Thermal pipesOur Estates Team have started to insulate our pipework to reduce these losses and help save money and carbon. Insulation (like that pictured) will be placed in ducts and voids where our pipe work sits.

While this requires significant investment, we have demonstrated that the payback period is very short. Another good example of a 'spend to save' scheme that will reap dividends in the future.

Renal Unit wins national green award

Staff on Ward 31 at the Freeman Hospital helped the Trust win the National Green Nephrology Award 2012.

The ward carries out around 150 dialysis sessions a day, and each session generates plastic bottle waste and cardboard. This recyclable waste was all being thrown away as general waste.

In March 2011, we installed a large cardboard baler to recycle the cardboard from Ward 31, and the whole Freeman Hospital. Then in November 2011, we were able to crush and recycle all the used plastic dialysis fluid bottles.

Since the project started we have crushed and recycled 5.11 tonnes of plastic bottles, and baled and recycled 87.63 tonnes of cardboard, saving over £7,000 in disposal costs. This also reduced our carbon footprint by over 46 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide.

The judging panel said they recognised “the outstanding contribution of the Newcastle Hospitals’ Renal Unit in improving the environmental sustainability of kidney care”.

A cheque for £500 was awarded to the Renal Unit. This is to be used for investment in further green initiatives. 

Food waste digested at Freeman

The leftover food from patient meals and staff/visitors in the Freeman Hospital restaurant, averages half a tonne a day - the weight of six average UK men!

Food waste digestorPreviously, we macerated this waste before flushing it down the foul sewer, using a lot of water and putting pressure on our sewerage network. We have now invested in two food waste digesters that act like mechanical stomachs to digest the food.  Food waste goes in, a little warm water is added, and then special bacteria break the food down into a grey water that is sent to the sewer.

These digesters will pay back our investment in less than two years as they are helping us to save £14,000 a year in water and electricity bills. We have reduced our water-use at Freeman Catering by 7.7 million litres a year - the equivalent of three Olympic swimming pools.

Treated clinical waste diverted from landfill

Since the 1 July 2012, we have been diverting all of our treated clinical waste away from landfill disposal to energy recovery. Our orange bag waste is sent to a facility in Walker where it is shredded, then heat treated to kill the harmful bacteria and make it safe. The resultant material used to go to a landfill site, but it is now sent to a local cement kiln and used as fuel.

All of our waste (clinical and non-clinical) is now ultimately diverted away from landfill - a fantastic environmental achievement.

On average we produce 2,000 tonnes of general waste, 1,500 tonnes of clinical waste and 700 tonnes of recycling each year. As all of this is now diverted from landfill we are saving almost 1,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

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