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Waste in the NHS - Key Facts

The NHS produces up to 600,000 tonnes of waste per annum - more than 1% of all domestic UK waste. One third of the waste produced in the UK originates from the construction industry.

Irrespective of its disposal method, waste has the potential to pollute land, air and water. But there are options to reduce waste, and all waste does not have to be disposed of: it can be reviewed for its resource value and potential.

NHS organisations have some degree of control with regard to waste, but this is reliant on cultural/operational factors i.e. the enthusiasm of staff towards recycling schemes etc. However, due to increasing awareness of waste and recycling issues, legislation, and financial benefits (landfill tax is currently £56/tonne and planned to rise by £8/year until 2014) it is likely that there will be a continued improvement.

Saving Carbon Improving Health - the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy indicates that every NHS organisation should monitor, report and set targets on its management of domestic and clinical waste.