Skip to main content
Home » Vaccines » Eco benefits of making sharps containers from recycled plastic

John Davies

Global Category Director, Vernacare

Amanda Haywood

Head of Product Development, PHS

New-look clinical waste containers are being made from up to 100% recycled plastic as suppliers seek to support a wide range of organisations in cutting their carbon footprint.

Clinical waste containers made from recycled plastics are helping companies reduce their carbon footprints. The use of recycled materials for the sharps containers means businesses could avoid the recently introduced Plastic Packaging Tax in the UK.

Fifth generation

The ‘fifth-generation’ Sharpsafe and Clinisafe containers are being supplied following a partnership between hygiene services provider phs Group and Vernacare, which produces the new-look containers.

Vernacare’s global category director John Davies says the penetration-resistant containers used for clinical waste from washrooms, hospitals, dentists and veterinary practices meet stringent safety regulations and are made primarily from recycled plastics, compared to virgin plastic used in previous models.

“The key point is that recycled plastic has a lower carbon footprint than virgin plastics because the amount of energy required to produce them is less,” says Davies.

The key point is that recycled plastic has a lower carbon footprint than virgin plastics because the amount of energy required to produce them is less.

John Davies

Making a difference

Phs’ head of product development, Amanda Haywood, explains that her group has switched its entire range of containers to recycled content containers produced by Vernacare.

“Because we are actively seeking ways to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our sustainability, it was an ideal opportunity for us to make a very big difference,” she says.

“We move a lot of sharps containers; we have contracts for government vaccination and testing stations, and a massive range of customers from dentists to tattoo parlours, so we saw this as a great way to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions on that particular service.”

Colour change

The containers have the same features and benefits, but the new model is grey with colour coded lids to denote the waste stream in accordance with the regulatory colour coding requirement, rather than all yellow.

Davies explains that this is because grey is the most efficient and cost-effective colour to produce in terms of design and toughness from recycled plastic. The body of the containers is made of at least 30% recycled content, and in many cases 100% recycled content.

That helps companies mitigate the impact of the Plastic Packaging Tax, which imposes a £200 per tonne levy on plastic products made with less than 30% recycled content.

Carbon footprint

With phs’ increased focus on corporate social responsibility and reducing carbon footprint, Haywood says: “Each company we deal with has their own internal corporate responsibility programme and everybody is challenged with reducing their carbon footprint so everything that helps our customers – and their customers – in that direction is very well received.”

Next article