Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

At the Royal Cornwall Hospital staff and patients have been using up to 10,000 masks a day – compared to around 300 per day in 2019 – all destined for incineration. RCHT Care Group General Manager and avid environmental champion, Roz Davies, has been determined to find a solution. Working with recycling machinery manufacturer, Thermal Compaction Group (TCG), the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is believed to be the first in the UK to be sustainably recycling surgical masks.

The SteriMelt technology melts single-use polypropylene plastics. These blocks are then later converted into new products such as bottles, bins and toolboxes, beginning a cycle of continual reprocessing, a circular economy.

The mask recycling scheme is being piloted in three areas at the Royal Cornwall Hospital to get staff used to segregating masks from other clinical waste, to decide on the most efficient method before rolling it out right across the Trust’s three hospitals in Truro, Hayle and Penzance.

The Trust has made a short video to show the recycling unit in action.

Contact: Caroline Chick