Queen’s Hospital in Burton has unveiled its brand new sterile plastic recycler, which can melt polypropylene sterilisation materials such as surgery scrubs and trays into neat plastic blocks, reducing waste and saving money.
The Sterimelt machine made its debut on the 22 March, which also marked NHS Sustainability Day, a day that highlights the important role that sustainable development can play in health service delivery.
The Sterimelt is a great innovation and the Burton Hospitals Trust is only the second organisation in the world to own a machine.
The process begins with surgical items processed through the Trust’s Sterile Services Department. During this, the tray is wrapped in polypropylene wraps to maintain the sterility of the instruments during transportation and storage.
Approximately 59,000 surgical wraps (16 tonnes) are used by the Trust annually. The Sterimelt process removes contamination so that the resulting plastic can be sold.
This means that the hospital not only saves the money it would cost to dispose of the materials, but can also generate additional income.
The Trust has a Sustainability Management Plan, which the Sterimelt will play a large part in. The Trust also has plans to introduce a plastic baler and cardboard baler which will crush these materials into cubes that can be recycled.
Natalie Roddis, Waste and Sustainability Officer said, “The installation of the new Sterimelt machine is an exciting development for the Trust. It will help to reduce the amount of waste that we produce, whilst also contributing to a circular economy. “The processed blocks from the Sterimelt machine will be reintroduced into the supply chain for use in the manufacturing of new plastic products – reducing the natural resources and raw materials used. Successful operation of the machine has relied upon great team work across our Estates and Facilities department and we are hoping to develop recycling at the Trust even further in the future.”
Thermal Compaction Group, who developed the machine, commented, “Our partnership with the Trust came to fruition after we were shortlisted for the Lord Carter innovation award at the Hospital Innovation Exhibition in London. The Trust’s Head of Facilities James Chadwick attended our exhibition stand and was quick to see the potential benefits to the Trust, both financial and environmental.”