Intended for healthcare professionals


Environmental waste in health care

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 24 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1129
  1. Gabriel Scally, regional director of public health
  1. 1South West Strategic Health Authority, Taunton, Somerset TA1 2PX
  1. gabriel.scally{at}

    Must be reduced for the overall carbon reduction strategy to succeed

    In the linked analysis article (doi:10.1136/bmj.b609), Hutchins and White describe an audit of anaesthetic waste collected from six theatres in one teaching hospital in the United Kingdom and identify potential improvements in the management of such waste.1 Around 540 kg of solid anaesthetic waste was produced (about 2300 kg per theatre per year), 40% of which was potentially recyclable paper, card, plastic, and glass. Analysis of five sharps bins found that only 4% by weight was true sharps waste (needles and broken glass)—57% was glass and 39% was “other” (packaging, plastic, metal, and fluid).

    Last year’s World Health Assembly adopted a powerful resolution on climate change, which not only warned of the stark consequences for human health but also identified how the health sector should respond to the profound changes taking place in …

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