Wigan PPE firm partners NHS trust as it recycles face masks for hospitals re-use
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The innovative idea could see personal protective equipment waste transformed into items such as: operating theatre clogs, plastic bed pans, medical scrubs and even prosthetic finger joints.
Globus Group is one of the largest British manufacturers of PPE, with a facilities in Golborne and its headquarters based in Manchester and has been a partner supplying NHS England and NHS Scotland for over 25 years.
Every year six billion items of PPE, equivalent to 28,000 tonnes worth, including around one billion masks, are distributed in the NHS for use by doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the UK, and the majority of which is not recycled.
PPE waste can end up in landfills which is bad for the environment and can also be harmful to our wildlife, if disposed of incorrectly.
Hospitals’ plastic waste has increased dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic as PPE usage has soared.
At Imperial College Healthcare, over 9.8 million type IIR surgical face masks were used across a 13-month period during the pandemic.
This new collaboration will run for 18 months where it will develop a new pilot scheme to explore how to efficiently collect used single-use plastic facemasks across the trust’s five hospital sites.
It will also evaluate the potential for the plastic materials to then be processed and the raw materials repurposed into new products for use in the NHS.
Director of strategy, research and innovation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Dr Bob Klaber, said: “This partnership with Globus Group is one of the first to address the growing issue of plastic waste in hospitals across the NHS, arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"With increased PPE usage becoming the new normal in hospital settings, managing waste is a problem that isn’t going away.
"It’s more important than ever that across healthcare we’re doing everything we can to reduce our environmental impact.
“The project will explore the feasibility of efficiently collecting and recycling masks used in our hospitals.
"If the proof of concept can be demonstrated and shown to be effective then the model could be adopted more widely.”
Globus Group CEO, Haraldur Agustsson, said: “As a longstanding and trusted manufacturing partner to the NHS, we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues to deliver the sustainable, net zero future we all want to see.
"Sustainability, environmentally green materials and recycling projects to deliver a circular economy approach sit at the heart of Globus’ future strategy and we’re proud to be working with Imperial on this project.”
Imperial College Healthcare launched its Green Plan in 2021 with targets to reduce waste and achieve net zero carbon in line with the wider NHS net zero 2045 target.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic the company has stepped up to produce one billion medical masks and 300 million FFP respirators per year for healthcare trusts across the UK, and the company announced in January, its commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2027.
Globus will ensure all of its European-made products launched after 2024 are net zero and will develop and implement a robust product life cycle management process with more than half of its customers.