Article Text

Download PDFPDF
952 Bin it Right, Treat the Earth with Delight! A QIP project for sustainable bins and waste habits
  1. May Ko1,
  2. Katy Rose1,
  3. Katherine O’Byrne1,
  4. Shehzar Alam2,
  5. Jonathan Lei1,
  6. ShunMay Yeung1
  1. 1St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Imperial College London, UK


Objectives In 2020, the NHS set a new ambition ‘To deliver the world’s first net zero health service’ in response to climate change which contributes to common paediatric conditions through air pollution.1–3 Even though most of the direct emissions might be out of control by an average paediatrician, many indirect emissions can be influenced. Our project outlines processes to reduce waste-associated carbon footprint within a single large, tertiary paediatric department and highlight common pitfalls.


  • Plan: The engagement with the Trust’s Paediatric Green Group was important to align our aims with the trust’s wider visions. Discovery of our trust’s ‘Beyond Rubbish Playbook,’4 which was pivotal in providing our project’s standards for appropriate waste segregation.

  • Do: The initial project included two-staged inspections of all general paediatric services (excluding PICU and paediatric A&E). Firstly, quantitative data on number of bins in each area, appropriate labelling of bins, compliance of waste held was gathered. The team also assessed whether bins’ locations were in line with best practice. Repeated inspections for compliance were carried out over two-week period to gather trends. The data collected were checked independently and validated by a different team member. Consensus was achieved through discussions among the team, referencing trust’s guidelines and seeking guidance from Trust Green Team experts; disagreement was minimal.

MethodResults were analysed using excel multiple excel functions. As seen in figure 1, overall waste content compliance is poor (37.2%). Other common themes were inappropriate type of bins available, contamination of domestic waste with surgical masks, contamination of recycling bins with coffee cups and paper towels. We also found that many bins lacked clear labelling and thus relied on staff understanding of bin bag colours to segregate correctly. When bins were labelled, these were of basic style without details about what can and cannot be placed in them.

  • Act: Our results were presented to the Green Team as well as to our peers to raise awareness of pitfalls. Appropriate adjustments were made, and alternative bins sourced. We are liaising with trust’s Green team experts to improve design of bins’ labels for more sustainable and effective waste disposal. The effects of these interventions will be reassessed in 3-month time and data will be available for this stage of the project at the conference.

Abstract 952 Figure 1

Percentage of waste content compliance for each bin type

Conclusion Our project aims to highlight common pitfalls in waste disposal and explores effective methods of data collection for others to follow.


  1. NHS England and NHS Improvement. Greener NHS campaign to tackle climate ‘health emergency’. 2020.

  2. Salas RN, Shultz JM, Solomon CG. The climate crisis and COVID-19 – a major threat to the pandemic response. N Engl J Med 2020;383(110): e70.

  3. Belesova K, Heymann DL, Haines A. Integrating climate action for health into covid19 recovery plans. BMJ 2020;370: m316.

  4. Beyond rubbish: helping our staff put waste in its place (2022). Available at: February 2, 2023).

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.