An experiment has found that an NHS waste landfill is the cheapest way to recycle waste.
The experiment, led by the University of Nottingham, involved spending £430,000 to install a waste management system in the north-west of England.
It found the system is the most efficient way to collect and recycle waste, saving £500,000 a year.
The study found that the waste collected from the landfill was more than half the amount it would have been had the system been run on conventional waste collection methods.
The team also found that waste collected was less harmful to people’s health, with nearly 70 per cent of the waste being treated.
Dr Steve Taylor, a lecturer in waste management at the University’s Department of Applied Science and Technology, said: “The waste we get from the NHS wastes are typically a combination of metals and chemicals and can contain bacteria.”
The problem with waste is it can be difficult to clean, and it’s extremely hard to treat.
“This waste disposal system is a great way to do both.”
The research was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The researchers used a large scale trial of waste collection in two sites in Nottinghamshire.
Dr Taylor said: “”The study shows waste management systems are the cheapest and easiest way to deal with waste that is collected from a landfill.
“He added: “In some cases the waste will be the same as the amount of waste that would have otherwise been collected from landfill.
“There are other ways of managing waste, such as collecting waste from a river, but the cost and difficulty of getting rid of waste is one of the reasons we have seen the NHS spend so much on waste management schemes.”
The University of Oxford has previously been awarded a £2.5m grant to study the impact of waste management on local communities.
The research involved measuring the impact on local residents of a waste collection system, the amount collected and the amount used.
Dr Matthew Wilson, director of research at Oxford University’s Institute for Sustainable Communities, said the study showed waste collection is an effective way to reduce environmental pollution and waste.
“While it may seem that we do have an obligation to get rid of all waste, there is a huge range of alternatives to using landfill,” he said.
“We think there are a range of ways we can improve waste management.”
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