The introduction of recycling bins and collection for paper and card, plastics, metals and glass that would have gone to landfill via general municipal waste. Such schemes generate financial and carbon savings by optimising recycling rates and reducing general waste to landfill across the NHS.
The rationale is driven by avoided landfill-based costs and carbon. Landfill waste is more expensive than recycling, and currently much of the waste that is sent to landfill can be recycled. Landfill also has a higher carbon impact than recycling, as shown below.
Total Waste to Landfill
The ERIC returns dataset shows that 65,295 tonnes of Municipal Waste was sent to landfill in 2015.
DEFRA Digest of Waste and Resource Statistics was used to determine the expected composition of Municipal Solid Waste to landfill. This estimates that 25.6% of this waste stream could be recycled (i.e wet and dry), with 11.5% being ‘dry recyclable’ made up as follows:
|Paper and card||4.8%|
On the above basis c7500 tonnes of waste to landfill per annum could be dry recycled.
The estimated cost of establishing a dry recycling schemes across NHS England is c£2m. The costs are largely associated with reassigning and re-labelling existing bins and in relation to procuring new bins and any other infrastructure.
The financial case for investment is grounded in the cost differential between sending waste to landfill versus the lower cost of sending waste for recycling. The case study example used (from an Acute Trust) had contracted recycling rates of £50 per tonne, whilst their landfill costs were more than double at £114 per tonne of waste.
Using these figures – and assuming a 11.5% dry recycling rate (as above) – NHS England could save c£500,000 a year simply by diverting current waste flows from landfill to dry recycling. No reduction in total waste arisings is required.
The environmental business case for investment is grounded in the differential in carbon impact between waste sent to landfill versus waste that is recycled. Using DEFRA figures for 2015, these are as follows:
|Waste Type||Landfill – carbon conversion (kg CO2e per tonne)||Recycling – carbon conversion (kg CO2e per tonne)|
|Paper and card||490||21|
A full set of DEFRA carbon conversion data tables can be accessed here: http://www.ukconversionfactorscarbonsmart.co.uk/
Using these figures – and assuming a 11.5% dry recycling rate – NHS England could save c1500 tonnes of carbon per annum simply by diverting current waste flows from landfill to dry recycling. No reduction in total waste arisings is required.
- 7 Year investment lifetime
- 75% uptake rate
- ERIC returns 2015
- Digest of waste and resource statistics, DEFRA. See p30, Table 3.1 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/digest-of-waste-and-resource-statistics
- DEFRA carbon conversion factors 2015, see http://www.ukconversionfactorscarbonsmart.co.uk/