Written by Robert Linklater
03 Aug 2023

Our Carbon Reduction Plan

Sharpsmart’s commitment to sustainability is nothing new. When it comes to sustainable healthcare waste management, we’re not jumping on bandwagons – we invented the wheel. Well… We invented the world’s safest reusable sharps container. Pursuing waste management solutions that reduce environmental impact has been part of our core brand focus since our founding, centring around greener products, waste reduction initiatives, and industry-redefining processes. Our sustainability transformation strategies aren’t limited to driving the carbon reduction goals of only our own business, but are affecting the entire UK healthcare industry. And now, we’re committing to achieving net zero emissions by 2040, and we’ve created our carbon reduction plan to show you how we intend to do it.


TOPICS WE WILL COVER: 

1 / Our sustainability playbook

2 / Our initiatives for carbon reduction

3 / The challenges we’re expecting

4 / The 7 key pillars of our carbon reduction plan

5 / Our targets and milestones

6 / Our transparent progress monitoring

7 / Our partnerships and collaborations

8 / Our contribution to healthcare industry sustainability

9 / Achieving net zero together 



Our Sustainability Playbook
 

Our sustainability playbook is made up of three core goals that everything else has been built upon to drive our route to Net Zero:


Net Zero Carbon Emissions
 

We’ll strive to reduce our internal carbon emissions to net zero by cutting our energy/fuel use, switching to low-carbon energy sources, and offsetting any residual carbon emissions.

 

Zero Waste to Landfill
 

We’ll strive to eliminate and/or divert all waste into the most sustainable outlets through the redesign of our products/processes and collaborating with forward-thinking partners.

 

Build a Sustainable Value Chain
 

Our vision is to provide all of our customers with a true circular economy service by driving change within our supply chain and taking a whole value chain approach to sustainability. 



Our Initiatives for Carbon Reduction
 

Before jumping in, it’s worth pointing out that this list is by no means an exhaustive one and over the coming years as we edge closer to our 2040 target, we’ll be developing and executing new strategies and initiatives for reaching Net Zero.

  • Implementing more digital – Streamlining our processes and using less paper across all business operations.
  • Introducing efficient vehicles – Prioritising electric/hybrid company cars and using waste collection vehicles that can handle more capacity.
  • Improving our systems – Ensuring that every new purchase and upgrade is more efficient and designed to improve carbon reductions.
  • Adopting renewable solutions – Fitting solar panels onto our rigid vehicles to use energy from the sun to power our tail-lifts.

Over the past year, we’ve already replaced a huge proportion of our fleet with more efficient vehicles and replaced the boiler systems at two of our processing plants with industry-leading carbon-efficient solutions.
 

How Will All of This Impact Our Service?
 

As we mentioned at the outset of this blog, sustainability isn’t a new concept at Sharpsmart, it’s one of the key foundational elements our solution was built upon, and a large part of the Sharpsmart Difference. We’ll continue doing what we do best: making healthcare safer – just with even more efficiency and a commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2040. That being said though, we’re not blasé about the challenges we expect to face along the way… 



The Challenges We’re Expecting


The ambition of achieving net zero emissions comes with its own unique obstacles and challenges that we’ll need to face head-on and overcome. Our ongoing investment, strategic growth plan, and increasing customer demand will result in:

  • Future projects to enhance our operations.
  • Expanding our transport fleet and staff resources.
  • Innovating our processing and treatment solutions.
     

We’ll need to undertake the predicted growth within our business in a responsible manner to continue reducing our carbon impact, as well as exercising due caution in other areas whilst we’re working towards achieving our sustainability goals



The 7 Key Pillars of Our Carbon Reduction Plan
 

Across the Sharpsmart business, we’re taking steps to reduce our environmental impact across seven key pillars underpinning our Net Zero Together Strategy.

  • Workforce
  • Digital Optimisation
  • Travel, Transport and Maintenance
  • Facilities and Maintenance
  • Supply Chain and Stock Management
  • Processing and Treatment
  • Clinical Site Services
     

You can learn more about these seven key pillars in more depth by looking at our carbon reduction plan



Our Targets and Milestones
 

Our ultimate Net Zero target as an organisation is to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. To continue our progress toward achieving Net Zero, we’ve set some realistic milestones that demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement and progress towards carbon reduction:

  • Achieve a 5% reduction in CO2e produced from gas consumption over the next 12 months.
  • Achieve an overall 10% reduction in CO2e by 2025 through improved processing and transport efficiencies.
  • Achieve a further 25% CO2e reduction by 2030 through the exploration of alternative fuels and sustainable waste treatment.
     

We’ll be documenting and publishing our progress with these milestones in future reports, leading us nicely into our next section on transparency. 



Our Transparent Progress Monitoring
 

We offer total transparency and visibility of the CO2 generation across our business and related services. To monitor and measure our progress, we’ve partnered with SmartCarbon – a company specialising in carbon tracking. We’ve also established an in-house data lake to capture, monitor, measure, and report on our carbon reduction progress. Our data lake allows for the centralisation of our data enabling analysis and action based on real-time data. 



Our Partnerships and Collaborations
 

Our carbon reduction plan will see us continue our active collaboration and partnerships with waste management providers, supply chains, end-of-life recycling facilities, energy-from-waste outlets, and the NHS to drive sustainable outcomes. Furthermore, our partnerships with external auditors and consultants ensure our compliance with regulations is met whilst we continually improve waste management practices and work towards achieving Net Zero together



Our Contribution to Healthcare Industry Sustainability

Given the emphasis we’ve always put on sustainability, we’ve ensured our Carbon Reduction Plan extends its impact beyond our own operations – contributing to the overall sustainability of the healthcare industry. We’re proactively working with the NHS within the four walls of the organisation and many of its Trusts to provide education and training for better waste management practices. By improving areas such as waste segregation and supporting the healthcare industry’s reuse and recycling initiatives, we’re driving positive change and setting an example for other waste management providers. The Sharpsmart approach to waste management goes beyond traditional waste collection – we undertake on-site audits, staff training, and waste stream optimisation to maximise resource recovery and minimise waste sent for carbon-intensive treatments. 



Achieving Net Zero Together


At Sharpsmart, we’re dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and our Carbon Reduction Plan represents a pioneering effort in healthcare waste management, driven by our commitment to sustainability. Our comprehensive approach encompasses initiatives such as digital optimisation, efficient vehicles, renewable energy solutions, and transparent progress monitoring. We’re committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2040, and through continuous innovation and a partnership approach, Sharpsmart is leading the way in waste management practices and contributing to a greener future in healthcare waste management. These ambitious targets require bold collective action, and by working with our customers, employees and supply chain we believe we can achieve Net Zero, together.

 

Net Zero Together
 

 

Header Style: 
Robert Linklater

Robert Linklater

As our sustainability expert, Robert monitors and reports across operations to maximise business impact whilst reducing our carbon footprint on our route to Net Zero.