OUR SITES: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare | Sustainable Action Planning | NHS Forest | Mapping Greener Healthcare | Carbon Addict

Disposing of bicarbonate canisters in general rather than clinical waste – Renal Unit

By: Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust


-280 kgCO2e

: used bicarbonate canisters (Bi-CART) weighing 100g/canister were being put into clinical waste for disposal, which was thought to be an unnecessary expense as disposing of clinical waste is much more costly than disposing of general waste.

Approach: The canisters are now being put in general waste. Results & discussion:

Cost: £498/year in Heavitree unit.

Environmental: The carbon cost of sending the plastic cannisters to landfill increased by 280 kgCO2e/year in the Heavitree unit. Some bicarbonate cannisters (e.g. manufactured by Baxter) can be recycled. Whilst recycling (at a cost of £233.23/tonne) is a more expensive way of processing waste than general waste (at £128.23/tonne), it is cheaper than clinical waste processing (at £350.oo/tonne) and is better from an environmental perspective.

Social: None identified for this project.

Heavitree haemodialysis unit, RD&E

The project was part of the renal team's efforts in the Green Ward competition run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare's Green Ward competition

Olivia Bush, olivia.bush@sustainablehealthcare.org.uk