NHS Grampian boosts recycling in bid to save £150,000 a year

Aaron Sutcliffe (third from right) has helped ditch nearly 450 small waste bins – around 1,300 black bags per week
-Credit: (Image: NHS Grampian)


NHS Grampian hopes to save £150,000 per year by recycling more clinical waste.

The eco-conscious health board is ranked second in Scotland for recycling but spends around £125,000 a month disposing of clinical waste.

Every tonne of waste recycled saves the health board £110 a year, and managers plan to boost productivity from 46% to a target of 70% by 2025.

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Aaron Sutcliffe, 32, an assistant domestic services manager inspired by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series, helped ditch nearly 450 small waste bins – totting up to 1,300 black bags per week – for new recycling points.

Mr Sutcliffe, originally from Manchester, joined NHS Grampian in 2016 as a domestic and was given an award for his sustainability efforts.

He transformed the way waste is handled in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary warehouse as well as two floors of offices.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “We all have a duty to take care of our planet and be as cost-effective as we can be. I was inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet – I love it – and we should all be doing our bit.

“Every single general waste bin I’ve ever checked contains recyclable materials and what we’re doing is trying to make it easier for everyone to think about recycling first. I’m really proud of myself and my team who go above and beyond to make my ideas work.

“We’ve found engaging with people is the most important bit – asking ‘we would like to’ and explaining we’re trying to make a positive impact on our sustainability goals.

“It’s a win-win for everyone as it means less bending to under-desk bins for domestics and it’s good for those sitting at desks to get up and about too.”

Waste manager Neil Duncan said: “Swapping lots of small waste bins for fewer recycling points helps encourage staff to recycle and it reduces the workload for our domestic assistants.

“But with more than 70 sites alongside hundreds of teams, there’s an opportunity for others to take a lead and make the changes in their areas.

“Aaron has plans to double what he’s achieved so far by the end of this year and this is commendable work which should be replicated across all areas. We’re really grateful to Aaron and his team for their commitment and enthusiasm.”