pools of waters shaped like map of world within rainforest

April 20, 2023

Stericycle Celebrates Earth Month and our Commitment to Sustainability

April marks Earth Month, including Earth Day on April 22.

This year’s Earth Day’s theme continues to build on last year’s campaign, ‘Invest in Our Planet’, which focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and citizens to do their part. At Stericycle, we believe in doing our part to help protect the environment. We deliver essential services that help protect the public from harmful waste and help our customers in the healthcare industry make progress towards their sustainability goals, including reductions in carbon missions and reduction in single-use plastics.

Hospitals, long term care facilities, dentists, clinics, labs and other UK organisations generate thousands of tonnes of clinical waste annually while providing essential care, wellbeing and beauty services. On average, NHS providers produce an estimated 156,000 tonnes of clinical waste every year from secondary care alone with an estimated carbon impact of around 100,000 tonnes of CO2e per year. Through improper waste disposal and incorrect segregation of clinical waste, healthcare organisations can inadvertently cause harm to surrounding land areas, waterways and communities through improper waste disposal. They can also potentially increase the volume of waste heading to landfills if they do not have proper waste segregation practices aimed at increasing the recycling and reuse of materials.

Earth Day is not just one day at Stericycle. All year Stericycle offers our customers services and solutions that drives innovations and help protect the environment, people and public health. Below are a few of our environmental stewardship and sustainability-related global accomplishments from 2022:

  • Treated 1.5 billion pounds of medical waste, helping to protect the public from potentially infectious material. 
  • Shredded and recycled 1 billion pounds of paper—helping to safeguard our customers’ confidential information, which is the equivalent of the amount of paper that could be harvested from approximately 9 million trees. 
  • Helped our customers divert 101 million pounds of plastic from landfills through the use of reusable sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste containers rather than single-use containers. 
  • Incinerated 38 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste prior to disposal, helping to keep active pharmaceutical ingredients out of waterways. 

Nationally, the UK Government is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% from 1990 levels by 2050. While the newly published NHS Clinical Waste Strategy stresses the individual responsibility for managing waste sustainably to help reach its target of net zero for direct carbon emissions by 2040, and net zero for indirect carbon emissions by 2045.

We’re here to help.

Our network of sites help reduce road miles that waste travels and each of our bio systems re-usable sharps containers prevents 600 single-use containers from being incinerated. Our facilities also use steam that we generate on-site to power our automated wash lines - making us self-sufficient when it comes to washing and treating our reusable containers, helping our customers reduce their scope 3 emissions and powering them towards a net zero operation.

Visit our Corporate Responsibility Overview to learn more about our commitment to safeguarding our planet, everyday.