Barts Health details green achievements and plans

Barts Health NHS Trust has released its sustainability achievements to date and outlined plans to become a greener and more sustainable trust, including its new Whipps Cross redevelopment, which is planned to be carbon-neutral from day one.

The trust noted ‘big strides’ have been made over recent years, but also outlined plans to go even further.

Since 2007, the trust has reduced its carbon emissions by 39 per cent; highlighting changes such as 40 per cent of its patient transport fleet being hybrid.

Rob Speight, Director of sustainability, Barts Health, said: “We’re making progress. But we need to do more, in particular around our indirect carbon emissions.

“Indirect carbon emissions are those that come from medical, surgical imaging and radiotherapy equipment and services, dressings and more. So not activities you’d usually think would produce carbon. Right now, ours are 210,000 tonnes per year and swamp our direct emissions, those that come from activities like patient transport, energy use and waste 3:1. We have to change this.”

In terms of reducing waste, the trust noted the role of its clinical waste treatment plant at Whipps Cross: “This plant processes all of the hospital’s clinical waste on site, which dramatically reduces their final waste output and reduces the amount of waste going to incineration. It also saves approximately 26,000 miles in transport every year, which in turn, means fewer carbon emissions.”

Rod added: “Another big improvement we’ve made in reducing waste is around bulk waste. We’re work[ing] with partners to reuse and repurpose big waste items like sofas and tables. And anything we can’t reuse or repurpose, we give to charities or healthcare systems in other countries, rather than send them to landfill. Altogether, this means that every year, we stop 80 tonnes of big waste items going to landfill and we save thousands every year.”

The trust also highlighted other achievements including, replacing 9,000 light fittings with LED lights, improving cycling facilities, and reverse vending machines units that recycle ~2000 empty plastic bottles every year which equates to around 15 tonnes of HDPE plastic being recycled.

On its plans for the future to be more green – aside from making the Whipps Cross redevelopment carbon-neutral – the trust aims to publish a new ‘Green Plan and Active Travel plan’ shortly and also invest in Newham Hospital, which it will de-carbonise completely from burning fossil fuels.