Specialist thermal heating machines which convert used PPE into reusable plastic blocks within one hour have been installed inside five NHS hospitals. The equipment, developed in Cardiff, allows hospital waste such as gowns, curtains and single-use masks to be turned into metre-long blocks on site. They are then collected, processed and redeveloped into a range of new products including school chairs and toolboxes. The machines have been developed by Cardiff-based company Thermal Compaction Group.
Matt Rapson, the firm’s environmental director, said: “We are taking what is designated as single-use plastic out of what is a very expensive waste stream for the NHS, reclaiming the plastics and engineering it back into an inert source of polypropylene which is then reused into multiple products.” The machines thermally compact polypropylene, a material widely used in plastic PPE.
St Woolos Hospital in Newport, Wales, Queens Hospital in Burton, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Harrogate Hospital and the Royal Cornwall Hospital are all using the machines. The company says 11 other NHS hospitals are due to receive the equipment, which reduces the physical size of the waste by 85%.