HEALTHCARE WASTE IN STOCKHOLM IS IN SAFE HANDS

The Coronavirus is putting severe pressure on medical services in Stockholm, which also means that the amount of contagious waste from hospitals is sharply rising. Thanks to tight collaboration between Region Stockholm and Stena Recycling, the situation is being handled safely and securely, without risks to the surroundings.

“We saw the needs coming and acted early to secure resources,” says Jesper Holmqvist at Stena Recycling, responsible for colla-boration with Region Stockholm. “We have now increased the pick-up intervals at several hospitals in Stockholm. Despite the pressing situation, everything is going as it should and we have the capacity to handle even larger volumes.”

Stena Recycling has had an agreement with Region Stockholm for several years for the collection and treatment of all waste from the hospitals in the region. As the Corona crisis began to escalate, Stena Recycling’s task force put together a contingency plan with a few measures to stay ahead of events and to ensure the safe handling of future waste. Three critical points are decisive for this: access to packaging, smoothly functioning transport and the capability for destroying waste at approved plants. 

“Packaging is in short supply in some parts of the country, but we have managed to secure supplies and have ample stock for covering the needs of Stockholm’s hospitals,” says Jesper Holmqvist. “In terms of logistics, we have ensured that our carriers place the highest priority on the infectious waste. We also have a backup solution in case that several drivers should become ill. We have even received assurances from the destruction facility that they are taking their societal responsibilities and adapting their processes to take care of larger amounts of waste.” 

Eva Öhrn is head of sustainability for the St. Göran hospital and responsible for waste management. Here’s how she sees collaboration:

“Stena Recycling has been very professional. Every week we have phone meetings to review the situation and see if any additional actions need to be taken. In between these meetings, we have phone contact as necessary. Stena has also notified us that at short notice, they can increase the number of transports from the hospital if needed. They have also told us about how the supply of materials has been secured as well as the alternative recipients of our infectious waste should problems arise.” 

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR HOSPITALS THAT WASTE MANAGEMENT IS PROPERLY PERFORMED?

“It’s very important. There are legal requirements, but also logistics concerns. Our recycling station is not dimensioned for handling larger volumes of contagious waste, so we are completely dependent on the waste being collected according to schedule. Also important in the context is frequent and regular dialogue between Stena Recycling and the hospitals.” 

Thanks to close collaboration, management of healthcare waste in Region Stockholm is carried out under safe forms. 

“Our top priority right now is that everything continues to flow flawlessly so that the hospitals can fully focus on their core mission,” says Jesper Holmqvist.

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