Written by Josh Glover
13 Mar 2024

How Sharpsmart Benefits Waste Managers

Waste Managers deserve something that makes life a little easier, wouldn’t you agree?

We talk a lot about the importance of hospital waste management and without Waste Managers at the forefront of the healthcare waste industry, it would be a lost cause.

Let’s take a brief look at a Waste Manager’s day-to-day before exploring some of the biggest challenges and how Sharpsmart can help ease the burden of waste management within your facility.


1 / A Waste Manager’s day-to-day.

2 / Biggest challenges faced by Waste Managers.

3 / How Sharpsmart benefits Waste Managers.

4 / A doubled offensive waste output within 5 months.

5 / Simplify your waste management process.

6 / Blog summary (skip the reading…)


A Waste Manager’s Day-to-Day


Waste Managers play a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of waste management and disposal with unpredictability largely defining the job.

Key responsibilities encompass managing operational processes, developing and implementing a waste policy in alignment with the HTM 07-01 and the NHS Clinical Waste Strategy, and providing resources for effective and correct waste segregation.

Other key areas include collecting accurate data for ERIC reports and ensuring compliance with the duty of care.

Beyond these tasks, a Waste Manager's day-to-day involves leadership and motivation, training staff in proper waste management, assessing and managing risks, and staying up to date on any regulatory or legislative changes.

We wrote a blog recently that explored what NHS Waste Managers do in a bit more detail than we’ve included here.

And in a line of work where no two days are ever the same, it comes with its challenges…



Biggest Challenges Faced by Waste Managers


The challenges (and rewards) of the Waste Management profession could be an entire blog of its own, or perhaps even a book if you speak to the right people… But for this case, let’s just take a couple of the biggest challenges faced by Waste Managers.

As with most waste-related issues, these mostly come down to a lack of awareness amongst clinical staff due to inadequate training dedicated to the safe and correct management of waste.


Incorrect Segregation Leading to a High Carbon Footprint

If you’re a regular reader of our content, you might be thinking something along the lines of “Gosh, all you ever talk about is waste segregation not being done right”, and you’d be kind of right – but there’s a good reason.

When offensive waste is incorrectly disposed of and treated as alternative waste or waste for high-temperature incineration, it increases your facility’s carbon footprint by hundreds of kilos of CO2e per tonne of waste treated.

Waste overtreatment is by far the biggest problem we see within the healthcare industry and it’s mostly due to waste being put into the wrong bins.


Bin Mismanagement Making Correct Segregation a Chore

The problem here is that the healthcare environment is a busy one. If you’re a clinical staff member who’s run off your feet and rushing between patients with some rubbish in hand, the last thing you’ve got time to do is hunt down the correct bin or read a 100+ page document to make sure it is.

Bin mismanagement is one of the lowest-hanging fruits to fix to drastically improve segregation and reduce your carbon footprint.


Lack of Enthusiasm for Waste-Related Subjects

Now this may seem like an odd challenge but hear us out… Most people just don’t care about waste – and more often than not when they do, it may be that they care about recycling, but waste streams such as offensive are still secondary. A lack of enthusiasm or care about waste disposal makes it difficult to instil better practices throughout a facility.

Being passionate about waste isn’t everyone’s bin bag, but what people ARE passionate about are things like making healthcare safer, being environmentally responsible, and saving money – these things enable an enthusiasm around waste management to be built in a way that resonates.


If you’re someone who’s really into reading about challenges (it’s nothing to be ashamed of…), our recent blog on the most common healthcare waste challenges faced by Clinical Staff was written just for you!


How Sharpsmart Benefits Waste Managers


Sharpsmart does waste management a little differently than most – we adopt a partnership approach and work closely with clinical and domestic staff within the four walls of your healthcare facility.

We don’t believe that non-conformance fines are the most effective way to address compliance issues – we actively work side-by-side with you to help you meet your targets and objectives, as well as those set out by the NHS.

There’s a lot more to the Sharpsmart Difference but that’s a well-rounded overview – we can help you combat the biggest waste management challenges with practical and lasting solutions, including:


Transform Staff into Waste Experts to Improve Segregation

We’ll begin by conducting waste audits and speaking to frontline staff to find out where the key challenge areas are and then work out a tailored approach to overcoming them – this usually involves working with Facilities Management teams to conduct training sessions for ALL clinical and domestic staff.

We’ll get staff engaged with the training through team huddles, waste quizzes, e-learning packages, and the installation of educational materials throughout your facility – our blended learning approach is a tried and tested method that has achieved great results!

The result – trained and upskilled staff with an increased awareness and enthusiasm of correct waste management and segregation practices.


Strategic Bin Placement for Effortless Waste Sorting

Off the back of our waste audits and walkarounds (which we like to call “ward walks”), we’ll map out the most optimised strategy for bin placement throughout your facility to make correct segregation second nature so it’s effortless for the person producing the waste.

Going back to our earlier example of the search for the right bin, it’s far more convenient when the right bins are in the right places based on the most common waste types produced in each area.

We’re also big fans of Tetris so optimised bin placement is a blast.


Turn Waste Management into a Broader Cause

Passion and enthusiasm are contagious qualities that can rub off on others – regardless of the subject matter, even if the subject is waste.

Every member of the Sharpsmart team has a passion for what they do, understanding that waste management transcends the disposal of waste and does impact other important areas such as safety and sustainability.

We package our services and solutions in a way that resonates and inspires others to take action to improve waste management for the betterment of the healthcare industry and the planet!


And the best part is, you don’t need to take our word for it…


A Doubled Offensive Waste Output within 5 Months


“We have found Sharpsmart to be an efficient and friendly company to work with. The staff are very knowledgeable about waste disposal and management and how the service can be optimised to make service improvements.”

Monique Bradford, Facilities Manager at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The results of Sharpsmart’s waste consultancy and guidance on waste segregation and bin placement, and support with domestic and portering training include:

  • Increased staff labour efficiencies throughout the Trust.
  • Improved use of Sharpsmart’s portable reusable sharps containers.
  • Offensive waste output increased from 35% to 77% – exceeding the 20-20-60 waste split outlined in the NHS Clinical Waste Strategy.


You can read the full case study here if you like.


Simplify Your Waste Management Process


By partnering with Sharpsmart, you get much more than a waste collection service – you gain access to a team with a wealth of hands-on industry experience and a network of valuable connections within the healthcare industry.

We work with your teams within the four walls of your facility to train clinical staff and empower them to manage waste safely and efficiently.

If you’d like help with your waste management or would like more information on waste education and consultancy, please get in touch.




Blog Summary


Welcome to the short version of our blog, here is our breakdown of problems faced on a daily basis by Waste Managers and how Sharpsmart can help you solve them.


Transform Staff into Waste Experts to Improve Segregation

Problem: Incorrect Segregation

Issue: Overtreated waste significantly increases carbon footprint and is mainly due to improper disposal into wrong bins.

Solution: Conduct waste audits, engage frontline staff and implement a tailored blended learning approach to empower all clinical and domestic staff to foster a heightened awareness of proper waste management and segregation practices.


Strategic Bin Placement for Effortless Waste Sorting

Problem: Bin Mismanagement

Issue: Challenges for healthcare workers to segregate due to not having access to the correct bins for disposal at the point of generation.

Solution: Conduct waste audits and devise a customised strategy for optimal bin placement to simplify segregation and enhance convenience for staff.


Turn Waste Management into a Broader Cause

Problem: Lack of Enthusiasm

Issue: Apathy towards waste disposal poses a challenge in instilling better waste management practices throughout a healthcare facility.

Solution: Cultivate enthusiasm by connecting waste management to broader concerns such as healthcare safety, environmental responsibility, and cost savings to encourage a mindset shift that drives positive action with waste management seen as integral to safety and sustainability.


Has this bite-size version made you wish you’d read the whole blog? Click here to head back to the top…

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Josh Glover

Josh Glover

Content Specialist

As a natural storyteller driven by curiosity, Josh aims to educate and engage through informative and thought-provoking content; working towards a safer and more sustainable healthcare system.