NHS England has published its updated Health Technical Memorandum, HTM 07-01: Safe and Sustainable Management of Healthcare Waste.
Authored in collaboration with Mott MacDonald, the best practice document has been revised to reflect environmental legislation and regulation, and innovation within the sector, and align to the NHS’s commitment to Net Zero. The HTM will apply to all healthcare organisations in England, and reflects key principles in sustainable healthcare waste management – specifically that of the circular economy, environmental protection, improved social outcomes, and reduced carbon emissions.
Healthcare provision is a significant contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint. In 2019, it was estimated to be almost 5% of UK carbon emissions. “This is a step-change in waste management policy for healthcare waste services,” said Dan Jacobs, Waste and Resource Management team leader at Mott MacDonald. “Since the last revision in 2013, we have seen a real shift in thinking in terms of Net Zero and sustainability. The healthcare sector has a huge role to play in creating a more sustainable and greener society by minimising waste and reducing consumption.”
“We want to move the conversation beyond compliance,” explained Sushant Daga, the business’s principal Waste Management consultant. “With this guidance, we are trying to instil different cultures and better workforce behaviours when it comes to healthcare waste, so that segregation and material recovery are improved, and more sustainable forms of waste treatment promoted.”
Mott MacDonald says that alongside an increased focus on sustainability, the guidance includes key lessons learned from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with principles that will allow for business continuity planning in the event of future pandemics, and to provide greater resilience within the sector.
“Our aim is to deliver a sustainable healthcare system that is more resilient in the long term by ensuring that the system can deal with fluctuations in waste volume,” said Sushant Daga.
Mott MacDonald has been providing logistical support on waste management to the NHS since 2018.