Case Study

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

"Introducing Sharpsmart sharps containers has brought all aspects of point-of-use, sharps safety and sustainability together. There's a financial benefit with Sharpsmart."

Donna Jones - Facilities Manager

The Challenge

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is a 370+ bed acute and community Trust providing district hospital and community services across the borough of Rotherham and the surrounding area to a population of over 246,000 people.

The Urgent and Emergency Care Centre (UECC) sees an average of 75,000 attendees per year. There are approximately 55,000 inpatients and 250,000 outpatient attendances each year. 

Met with a brief to reduce waste volumes and reduce their environmental impact, stakeholders at the Trust, the Environmental Management Group, Sharps Safety Group, and Facilities Management decided to trial the Sharpsmart system within seven wards across the Trust.

The Infection Prevention and Control team needed assurance of the efficacy of the decontamination process of Sharpsmart’s washline and the level of disinfection it could achieve with the reusable sharps containers.

The Sharps Safety Group were prioritising a solution that combined safe sharps disposal with aseptic techniques and strategies to protect patients from both sharps containers and procedure trays.

Clinical staff were already practising point-of-care methods but the sharps bins they had needed to be carried or put into unsafe places during procedures.

A trial period was crucial for overcoming those obstacles before a full rollout was possible.

Our Approach


The stakeholders behind the Sharpsmart trial were happy with the system and what it achieved – they gathered the results and feedback from all the groups and committees involved and sent the business case for approval.

The Director of Estates and Facilities submitted a proposal for the full implementation of the Sharpsmart system after being impressed with the results including the carbon footprint reduction it achieved.

Once given the go-ahead, the Sharpsmart team carried out a full site-wide audit and spent time liaising with each ward and department – helping them understand how the system could be used to best effect according to their specific needs and requirements.


The auditing process provided the necessary information for optimising container placement and the waste management process throughout the Trust.

As well as being hands-on to help them overcome any potential challenges arising during the transition, Sharpsmart provided training and education materials for staff to ensure they were informed and prepared.


Another important aspect of the rollout was defining a portering schedule that ensured the most efficient process of like-for-like collection and delivery of containers to departments – reducing movement frequency by collecting full containers and simultaneously dropping off clean ones.

The Solution

The implementation of the Sharpsmart system had an instant and ongoing impact on the Trust’s carbon footprint and waste reduction goals – staff were also educated on the best practices for waste management and segregation.

As well as making them safer, the pre-assembled delivery of the reusable containers saved clinical staff a considerable amount of time.

Being shown the efficacy of Sharpsmart’s robotic Washsmart system and the peer-reviewed research that verifies how it exceeds the requirement for decontamination, alleviated the concerns of the Infection Prevention and Control committee.

Sharpsmart also introduced solutions to enable clinical staff to carry out safer and more efficient point-of-care procedures that work in harmony with aseptic techniques and strategies – reinforcing the training for staff to use the combi-system when carrying out a clinical procedure.

There was a collaborative effort between Sharpsmart and the Health and Safety team to introduce an electric tug and design a trolley system to navigate the four floors, long corridors, and internal ramp.

Due to a private road being part of the portering route, the trolley system needed to be designed as a vehicle with functioning lights and indicators.

On top of the real-time collection and delivery schedule of the reusable containers, the Trust was also provided with a contingency stock to cover emergency situations.

The Outcome

The Trust has eliminated disposal-related sharps injuries and experienced measurable benefits for clinical areas, wards, estates and facilities since implementing the Sharpsmart system.

Sharpsmart’s consultative approach to waste management and auditing also helped to identify areas of nonconformance, highlight potential areas for training, and assist with waste policy outcomes.

Furthermore, the Trust has been able to reach its sustainability benchmarks – reducing its environmental impacts and reliance on single-use plastics.

A survey conducted for staff using the system received excellent feedback and enthusiasm with over 95% of respondents happy to recommend the system.

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust also became a Green Apple Environment Award winner due to the environmental benefits created by their implementation of the Sharpsmart reusable container system.

Across the Trust, the Sharpsmart system significantly reduced the site’s sharps container and disposal costs, as well as annually:

  • Reduced carbon footprint by 109.80 tonnes of CO2e – a 91% reduction.
  • Diverted 13 tonnes of plastic from high-temperature incineration.
  • Removed 1.3 tonnes of cardboard.