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NHS Grampian assistant manager receives award for work to help environment

By Kyle Ritchie

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One of NHS Grampian’s assistant domestic services managers is being recognised for single-handedly saving the organisation more than 1300 bags of rubbish every week.

Aaron Sutcliffe (32), who is originally from Manchester and now lives in Elgin, joined NHS Grampian in 2016 as a domestic and has been promoted three times since.

He has now accepted a Green Star Award for his efforts to reduce the health board’s impact on the environment.

Aaron Sutcliffe and his team alongside Neil Duncan at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Aaron Sutcliffe and his team alongside Neil Duncan at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

His passion for removing general waste bins in favour of fewer recycling stations started when he looked after Ashgrove House in Aberdeen.

He has since gone on to transform the way waste is handled in the warehouse at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as well as two floors of offices in the hospital’s Yellow Zone and at Foresterhill Health Centre.

In total, so far, he has helped colleagues ditch nearly 450 general waste bins which equates to more than 1300 black bags every week.

Aaron said: “I’m really proud of myself and my team who go above and beyond to make my ideas work.

“We’ve found engaging with people is the most important bit – asking ‘we would like to’ and explaining we’re trying to make a positive impact on our sustainability goals.

“It’s a win win for everyone as it means less bending to under desk bins for domestics and it’s good for those sitting at desks to get up and about too.

“We all have a duty to take care of our planet and be as cost effective as we can be.

“I was totally inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet – I love it – and we should all be doing our bit.

“Every single general waste bin I’ve ever checked contains recyclable materials and what we’re doing is trying to make it easier for everyone to think about recycling first.”

Aaron was presented with a certificate by waste manager, Neil Duncan, who says getting the organisation’s 16,000-strong workforce on board with recycling is not as simple as it may sound.

Neil said: “Swapping lots of small waste bins for fewer recycling points helps encourage staff to recycle and it reduces the workload for our domestic assistants.

“But with more than 70+ sites to review alongside hundreds of teams, there’s an opportunity for others to take a lead and make the changes in their areas.

“Aaron has plans to double what he’s achieved so far by the end of this year and this is commendable work which should be replicated across all areas.

“We’re really grateful to Aaron and his team for their commitment and enthusiasm.”

Every tonne of waste that is recycled rather than put into general waste saves NHS Grampian £110.

The organisation currently spends around £125,000 every month disposing of clinical waste alone and it’s estimated recycling more of this could save the health board at least £150,000 per year.

With the second highest overall recycling rate of all health boards in Scotland at 46 per cent, they also have an ambitious target to reach – 70 per cent by 2025.

NHS Grampian’s Green Star Awards were introduced this year to help recognise the fantastic work colleagues are doing to support the NHS Grampian Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy which has been implemented.

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