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Think, Act, Save

We’re becoming “ecosmart” and getting greener by the week as more and more of our municipal waste is being recycled or reused.   To add to our green credentials a new housekeeping tool is being rolled out to more of our major hospital sites setting new standards for emissions and waste management thanks to the Corporate Greencode scheme piloted at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.   Both will contribute to the HEAT target all public bodies have to meet to reduce Carbon emissions by three per cent year on year, under our Carbon Management Programme the Board has its own target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2016. The impact on the environment is already reducing steadily at our largest sites because we compact and bail waste for transport to our waste management contractor’s Glasgow operation, reducing the number of vehicle journeys.   “If you only see one bin for municipal waste in your workplace, that’s not the end of the story, in fact it’s only the beginning,” says John Green, one of our Health and Safety Managers, the Board’s Waste Management Officer, and newly appointed Chair of the National Waste Management Steering Group for NHS Scotland.   John added: “Environmentally we are in a far, far better place than we have ever been before.    “We have made a huge leap environmentally. More buildings are being brought in under this contract with currently more than 100 pick-up locations already established, covering hospitals, health centres and other sites.” “The system has been piloted at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary over the past year, so in addition to GRI the priority sites for rollout now are 
  • Stobhill Hospital & New Stobhill
  • Victoria Infirmary & New Victoria
  • Gartnavel General Hospital          
  • Royal Alexandra Hospital 
  • Southern General Hospital           
  • Inverclyde Royal Hospital  
  The GRI was chosen for the pilot because it is a major acute hospital and most of the environmental and sustainability issues facing other sites will be found here.   Financial and environmental targets are being achieved by investing in new equipment such as boilers and exhaust ventilators, replacing less environmentally friendly machinery, cutting energy bills and reducing the impact on the local environment.   The “housekeeping” also covers simple actions to deal more quickly with spillages, and waste from various units is being more efficiently dealt with thanks to an improved water filtration process, plus waste battery collection bins have been placed on eight areas on the site.   Ian Powrie, Sector Estates Manager and Chair of the Corporate Greencode Environmental Management Team, said:   “The Corporate Greencode covers every part of how the hospital functions and staff can play their part by ensuring that confidential, domestic and clinical waste is put into the appropriate bags.   “The savings are obvious, it costs around four times more to dispose of clinical waste compared to the domestic version.   “And in terms of environmental energy and emissions everyone can contribute to this in the workplace by turning off lighting, PCs, printers and photo-copiers when they are not in use.   “Leaving computers and printers on overnight and at weekends costs hundreds of thousands of pounds annually.”

Changing work habits - ways to contribute and save day-to-day:

  • turn off vehicle engines rather than have them idling,
  • stop unnecessary printing of documents 
  • drop waste in the correct bins or bags. Using the wrong bin hampers recycling efforts and incurs costs too.