Towards Zero-Waste Operating Theatres

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Committed to supporting the transition to a circular economy

Theatre staff are increasingly concerned about the number of single-use items used in the theatre environment which contribute significantly to the large quantities of waste we see every day.
Amelia Pickard, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, UHBW

Surgeons performing an operation


The UHBW and the Bristol and Weston Procurement Consortium are committed to supporting the transition to a circular economy.  They have a requirement for new solutions and alternative products that will support a transition to Zero Waste Operating Theatres.

The UK NHS disposes of around 600,000 tons of waste each year, around 133,000 tons of which is plastic. We know that operating theatres are the most resource-intensive area of the hospital, generating as much as 30% of hospital waste. Much of this waste volume is single use plastic (SUP), the majority of which is packaging.


We have identified a requirement for new and/or alternative medical devices, products and services that will support a transition to Zero-Waste Operating Theatres.

The outcomes we are seeking to achieve are:

  • Minimising the use of single-use items
  • Increasing use of reprocessing, sterilisation, cleaning technologies and other services
  • Eliminating unnecessary packaging
  • Reducing the quantity of packaging
  • Any necessary packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • Increasing genuine plastic recycling (zero export and zero incineration of recyclables)
  • Diverting recyclates and waste to an appropriate circular material flow for reuse
  • Eliminating residual ‘waste’ and waste to the landfill without resorting to incineration including waste to energy
Cover for joint statement of demands showing surgeons at work
Please visit our dedicated market consultation page for further information on this opportunity and how to get involved
Project contact
Sam Willitts
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