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Energy-from-waste can help NHS to meet carbon targets

Energy-from-waste facilities can play a bigger role in dealing with residual waste not suitable for recycling for National Health Service Sites, according to Scottish-based waste management training consultancy WamCal.

Speaking after the publication of the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy, published on 27 January, WamCal project manager Alastair Rogers told MRW that the strategy was encouraging but missed out reference to the role that EfW facilities can play in dealing with waste.

The NHS has pledged to increase its recycling and reduce its waste to comply with legislation (see MRW story).

Rogers said that currently most NHS sites are sending certain clinical wastes, such as anatomical waste, for high temperature incineration. But he said that such waste can be sent for energy recovery: Some of the embedded energy contained within them can be recovered and either used to contribute to the energy needs of the hospital or returned to the national grid reducing our dependence on carbon-based energy generation.

He said that using EfW will be financially viable for the NHS and cut down on waste.
Rogers said: At the moment clinical waste in yellow bins are picked up by third party contractors who take the waste to be sterilised and then place it in landfill. If, for example, it costs a hospital £450 per tonne on average to pay that third party contractor to collect the waste and £300 per tonne to send the waste to their own on-site EfW plant, this could save them £150.

This is a particularly relevant and topical issue, given the recent revision of the Waste Framework Directive which now acknowledges  that incineration for energy recovery within facilities with a minimum defined efficiency rating is classed as recovery rather than disposal, thus contributing to the European Union and Government-derived targets for waste recovery.

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