Waste not want not

Waste is a key component of our environmental impact  – and our carbon footprint.

There are lots of ways you can reduce waste, help create a calmer and less cluttered space – and cut costs and carbon at the same time.

Reducing waste at work

Reduce, reuse and recycle

When it comes to waste we first want to reduce what we create in the first place. Always ask yourself the question, do I really need this? Stock check to avoid items going out of date and any duplication of stores.

Can items be reused rather than binned? For example the wheelchair service at SCFT have wheelchairs repurposed so they can be used again, saving thousands of pounds and reducing the waiting time for patients.Can you find the item you need already within the Trust? For example at SCFT there is a reuse network called Warp It for staff to use to offer unwanted items no longer needed, or claim items they may need from another team.

While some single use plastic is unavoidable, we also encourage you to source alternatives if you can. Check out this blog for an inspiring example from Sussex Partnership.

As a last resort, we recycle what we can. Check what your Trust is able to recycle, often this will as a minimum, plastic bottles, cans, paper and card.

Check it before you bin it

Make sure you’re confident with how to segregate healthcare waste; recycle where possible and use the offensive (tiger bag) waste stream for all non-infectious bagged waste. If in doubt, check your Waste Management Policy.

Strictly confidential

Only use confidential waste bins for confidential waste. No magazines, catalogues, non-confidential meeting notes etc – these should be recycled because it costs a lot more to get rid of confidential waste.

Get paper savvy

Only print when you absolutely need to; then print double-sided, in black and white, and check that you’re using recycled paper – if not ask your team leader to buy recycled next time.

When you’ve got any single sided print outs use a bulldog clip to make a notebook out of non-confidential scrap paper and use for your ‘to-do’ lists.

Trusts are working towards removing single use plastic from catering operations by 2021/22 through the NHS Plastics Pledge.


To check out the guidance on waste and recycling for your Trust click on the relevant link below.

Reducing waste at home

Reducing waste, reusing and recycling in that order are key whether at work or at home.

We have listed five ways you can reduce the waste you create in the first place:

Have a letter box de-clutter

No one likes junk mail, so take a stand and have yourself taken off distribution lists. You can do this by contacting the Mailing Preference Service and Royal Mail.

Only buy what you really need

Food waste is a huge problem in the UK, every year we throw away £12.5 billion worth of good food, costing the average family almost £60 a month. Find out useful tips on the storage of food, recipes and advice on portioning and meal planning at Love Food Hate Waste.

Do a stock check of cupboards, fridge and freezer before doing a shop so you don’t duplicate items and you use up  things about to reach their use by date.

Go through your wardrobe and see what you have that you haven’t worn for awhile, or that you may be able to revamp. It’s cheaper than buying new clothes and much better for the environment.

Get shoes and boots resoled or re-heeled to give them a new lease of life, often the soles go while the rest of the shoe is perfectly fine.

Can someone else make use of what you don’t want?

If you have decent items for disposal consider giving them a new home by sending to charity, contacting your local Furniture Re-use Network or advertising in your local paper or websites like Freecycle or Freegle.

Have a DIY clear out 

Donate left-over paint to your local re-use charity. To find your nearest scheme visit Community Repaint.

Community Recycle is a scheme established by companies operating within the external school environment sector. The initiative collects, coordinates, and donates overstocked, unsellable items, returned goods and second-hand equipment to schools across the UK. It’s a great scheme that ensures goods, that would otherwise be left in storage or even go to landfill, are put to good use in the community, saving schools money and brightening up school grounds across the UK.

The types of materials typically include Polycarbonate sheets, Shade sails, Post pads and outdoor furniture items.

Community Recycle