SRCL also revealed that 60% of the waste which is processed through its alternative technology is being used as RDF fuel. 

The company claims to be the largest clinical waste business in the UK, collecting material from around 70% of NHS trusts and has more than 20 energy recovery facilities sites throughout the country.

Talking at Sustainability Live, SRCL’s Lisa Algar said that environmental compliance was key to the business and that incineration had to play a part because this was often the only way clinical waste could be legally disposed of.

While Algar agreed that legislation was required for ensuring the waste was disposed of correctly, she argued that regulations were too stringent.

Talking to edie, she said: “You are talking about infectious waste, you are talking about needles, bits of bodies, things that many people don’t like to imagine,” she said.

“We work really hard with the EA around legislation and perhaps over-legislation.”

Algar said that the red tape surrounding segregation was “ridiculous”, explaining that there was a huge amount of segregation codes, making it a complicated process to ensure staff knew how to dispose of clinical waste.

“Correct waste segregation can allow you move waste up the waste hierarchy and it can allow you to become compliant when it comes to management.

“It can also result in some seriously significant savings when it comes to the amount you are spending on the disposal of waste,” she said.

Algar also acknowledged that conventional incineration was not normally associated with sustainability but explained that there were laws in place that meant certain clinical waste had to be dealt with in this way.

Conor McGlone

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