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Volume and cost of chemical treatment cut dramatically


With public services such as the NHS under constant financial scrutiny and subject to regular budget cuts, suppliers need to follow suit with cost savings of their own or risk losing contracts altogether.

For hazardous waste management specialist Tradebe, the answer lay in its chemical supply.

Tradebe is a multinational waste management business and the largest hazardous waste disposal company in the UK. One of its specialist areas is infectious clinical waste, picking up material from source and shredding it before undergoing a physio-chemical treatment process.

Until recently, it was using 200 litres of 12.5% sodium hypochlorite to treat every 1,000kg of waste. Due to the nature of clinical waste and the potential for neutralisation because of materials such as fabric and body fluid, sodium hypochlorite was required in very high volumes.

As part of its continuous improvement strategy, Tradebe’s engineering and project manager Dameon Ward began an investigation to find a more cost effective method of physio-chemical treatment. Working with Airedale Chemical, Ward began a series of research projects to explore alternative products to cut the volume of chemicals required while still retaining the high efficacy levels of its treatment process.

Because not all clinical waste collected is consistent and varies in its make-up, a chemical was needed that was resistant to varying biological loads. Some loads may be ‘low bio’ while others contain offensive waste such as that from a care home, with a high concentration of body fluids, so the chosen product needed to be effective on all loads.

The Airedale Chemical team of chemists provided data, research and information about alternative substances, focusing on a product which fulfilled all the criteria to treat infectious and hazardous waste successfully without requiring such bulk application.

Peracetic acid (PAA), an organic compound often used in industrial disinfection, came out as the best solution. Tradebe switched from sodium hypochlorite to PAA and immediately reduced the amount of product required by 85%. It now requires only 30 litres to treat 1,000kg of waste. This in turn meant a 48.5% cut in chemical costs, which Ward described as “a lifeline” when working with everdecreasing public sector spend.

Chris Chadwick is sales director of Airedale Chemical and account owner for Tradebe

  • Tradebe

    Volume and cost of chemical treatment cut dramatically

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