Tackling plastic waste on the wards
27 April 2021
By Hayley Carmichael
In healthcare creating some degree of waste is unavoidable, but we can choose to handle our waste differently to minimise the impact on the environment.
A personal choice to do something about a problem...
Chelsea Stark, a support worker with Sussex Partnership, is a keen advocate of recycling. She’s taken the initiative at Mill View to ensure that pharmaceutical packaging is able to be recycled rather than end up in general rubbish.
“I think I might annoy people with how into recycling I am really, but it just breaks my heart to see waste go to waste that could have another use and save on resources and things just rotting away in landfill or getting incinerated. Plastic just hangs around forever, it is scary. I have 8 recycling bins for different things at home. I have even just bought a wormery so I can recycle my dog’s poo into compost!”
“When I saw just how much was not being recycled on the wards I knew I had to do something. At home I take my own medication packaging, like blister packs, the foil part, to Superdrug who will recycle it for you. It has to be a Superdrug with a pharmacy counter though. So I thought, why not do something like that for work as we get through a lot of medication.”
Chelsea double checked with the Pharmacy Team and got permission to place recycling containers for pharma waste on the wards. As of end of April she will have a collection point on every ward at Mill View, ensuring that they are placed in locations for safe-guarding of patients. She has determined to collect these each week and take them to Superdrug to be recycled.
At the same time, Chelsea has become a Care Without Carbon Envoy, and the team are supporting her to look into formalising a recycling arrangement with Superdrug to upscale the possibility of recycling pharma waste.
Chelsea’s determination to create positive change is a real inspiration. She herself is inspired by the Brother’s Make duo from Dorset, who collect type 2 plastic waste and repurpose it into things like plant pots. “I send them all my type 2 plastic now, knowing it will go to good use.” You can check out what they do with it here.