Zero Hero

Enabling reuse over disposal to save money and waste

Trust: Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
Location: Redhill, Surrey
Name and role: Michael Brownjohn, Waste Manager

Circle image of Michael Brownjohn

What did Michael do?

Michael saw a real waste (pun intended!) in the waste bins getting thrown away due an easily fixable problem. He explained that the pedal function for opening the bins was the weakest part of the bins, and the part most likely to break.

He set up a collection and storage process, which when 20 bins were in storage would trigger a maintenance session, and new pedals would be installed. The bins are then advertised on the Trust's reuse scheme so teams can order them at no cost to replace any bins they need.

The trial of the new process had a big impact with around 198kg of plastic saved, this equates to around 594kg of CO2, that’s the equivalent of driving for 1,500 miles.

Why it matters?

For infection control purposes bins need a pedal function and broken bins ended up in landfill with a replacement bin costing as much as £192. This generated a lot of needless waste with the attendant carbon emissions, and added up cost-wise for the Trust too.

Why Michael is a Zero Hero

The cost savings on Michael's first trial of this new process totalled around £3,900. A replacement pedal only costs £12, and even adding in the man hours to replace x20 at a time it is significantly cheaper than buying replacement bins.

The carbon saving is also important, with around 198kg of plastic saved, this equates to around 594kg of CO2, that's the equivalent of driving for 1,500 miles.

Photo of out of use pedal bins piled up

Frequently asked questions

Roughly calculated, as production processes will vary, 1kg of plastic has a carbon footprint of 3kg.

Meet more Zero Heroes

Gemma Cheneler

Gemma has been turning waste training into green education.

Scott Hart

Achieving low carbon travel in a community setting

Nicky Deacy

Reducing direct emissions by eliminating Desflurane use