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Recycling project revealed for region made PPE

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By Fiona Reid
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Recycling project revealed for region made PPE

USED facemasks made in Dumfriesshire are to be made into new NHS products, including disposable syringes and prosthetic finger joints.

Imperial College Healthcare and leading PPE manufacturer Globus Group, which owns Alpha Solway in Annan and Dumfries, are teaming up on the new recycling project.

They will aim to recycle the millions of PPE items which are discarded in hospitals and beyond back into brand new products, like theatre clogs, medical scrubs and plastic bed pans.

Every year six billion items of PPE (equivalent to 28,000 tonnes), including around a billion masks, are distributed in the NHS for use by doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the UK, the majority of which is not recycled.

Now Imperial College Healthcare and Globus will look into ways to tackle this problem.

This new collaboration – which will run for 18 months – will see the development of 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 recycled and repurposed into new products for use in the NHS.

The project is co-funded by Imperial Health Charity, with the long-term aspiration of scaling up circular economy initiatives across the Trust’s hospitals and eventually rolling it out to tackle waste across the rest of the NHS.

Dr Bob Klaber, from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This partnership 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.”

Globus Group CEO Haraldur Agustsson added: “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. Innovation is baked into the Globus DNA and we’re proud that this collaboration marks another positive step in the growing issue of PPE waste.”