Colleagues from the RCHT lead improvements in sustainability

A nurse from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has helped to inspire new initiatives around the recycling of sterile plastics
Three weeks ago, Staff Nurse Hannah Rutter contacted the Sustainability Team to ask if our hospitals could recycle some of the sterile plastics most frequently used on wards.

“Hannah got in touch via our sustainability email address in February, saying she’d started a plastics recycling mission”, explains Heather Walker, Sustainability Lead for RCHT. “Hannah wondered whether sterile plastic items could be recycled as part of the hospital’s plastics recycling collection.”

“Hannah provided a photo of the types of items she wanted to recycle”, Heather continues. “This was sent to Mitie to check with SUEZ, the waste management company that take our recycling, to see if it was possible. They were able to confirm the clean plastics could go into the recycling collections at the hospital.”

For Hannah, reducing and recycling the amount of plastic used on a day to day basis is something that she tries to maintain in her daily life, and this attitude has carried across to her work at the RCHT.

“Even though I’m making changes to reduce my plastic waste, I continue to recycle plastics at home”, Hannah explains.

“Recently however, I’ve felt more could be done around the way we recycle our sterile plastics within work. This includes things like caps, clean washed bottles and empty ampoules. I started a Quality Improvement project and reached out to the sustainability team to see if RCHT could collect plastic within their recycling.”

“Since the start of the project, the whole AMU team have gotten really involved with plastic recycling”, Hannah continues. “It’s been really great to see everybody get behind the project and work so hard to push the initiative forwards. There’s now a real hope that it can be cascaded across other areas of our hospitals.”

“Hannah will continue to give us feedback on the AMU QI project as it develops”, Heather concludes.

“Creating improvements in sustainability benefits everyone, and we’re so fortunate at our hospitals to have such engaged colleagues with brilliant ideas who are really leading by example.”

If you have any ideas or initiatives around sustainability, please contact rcht.sustainable@nhs.net. We also have a section on the intranet where colleagues can let us know their Sustainable Suggestions.

Added on 19 March 2021, in News - General News