Business Waste Management Case Studies

As the UK’s leading total waste management (business waste recycling, recovering, hazardous waste, confidential storage and disposal) service provider, we take a huge amount of price in the professional services that we are able to provide for businesses, spanning all sectors and requirements.

From here you will be able to see a range of recent waste management projects and specific case studies that we have been able to help businesses with their waste needs.

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NHS Trust – Bath

We all know that it is increasingly important to be seen to be green, but can sustainability really boost the bottom line? In the case of precious metals recycling, the answer is a fervent yes – when the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust released 75,000 medical x-ray records from storage for recycling, it benefited financially by almost £22,000.

Like many x-ray departments, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust switched to digital photography some years ago but still maintains a large record of hard film. Adult radiology records must be kept for seven years; trusts store material themselves of employ storage companies to manage the process for them.

Bath chose to rent off-site storage space but manage the archive itself. As records reach their expiry date, they are highlighted for destruction, which helps to cut the storage costs and guarantee data security for the patients whose details are included on the records.

In 2012, three rooms reached their expiry date. Betts Envirometal was contracted to remove and destroy the film,  we were able to give back a healthy rebate of £4,499 from the silver embedded in the film and the trust also saved £17,500 in storage costs.

Paper and card were shredded and recycled for use in the fibreboard sector and with the silver removed, the film was processed, resulting in clean, washed PET plastic ready for re-manufacture. The combined effect of recycling equated to flying over 31,000km in short-haul flights.

Betts Envirometal General Manager explained that Storage companies often charge an exit fee per item, which gives the impression that the most effective option is to retain film indefinitely. However this practice can actually be in breach of the agreed retention guidelines set out by the NHS and as such when X Ray files have reached the end of their retention period, they should be released for destruction and not continually stored and since the material contains silver, it represents a real income to the waste producer, or hospital trust. The value of the silver can be used to offset storage costs and exit fees or, if they are savvy with contracts, trust FMs can avoid exit penalties altogether and factor rebates from precious metals into the annual budget.

The Betts Envirometal team thought the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS trust was particularly efficient in managing its records, which made it very straightforward to remove the film. Radiology Support Manager Morag Callow agreed that the trust’s storage system helped the process: “we made sure that each room was organised to contain records that expired at the same time. This took a little more staff time and work but ultimately resulted in greater cost savings”


NHS Trust – North

The project came into effect when the trust identified that they had an inventory of film that had passed its retention period. The trust needed to free up the space taken up by the incumbent X Ray files but unfortunately were unable to allocate man hours to remove identified files from the shelves to go for onward destruction. Betts in conjunction with the trust provided personnel to remove files from the trust site and take them for onward destruction at a Betts owned facility. Once all the film had been destroyed and the silver recovered, Betts were able to return a rebate to the trust. So in real terms the trust received a cost neutral solution backed up by a financial rebate that would have been put straight into the operational budget.

NHS Trust – South

This trust had an active archive management program that was created from scratch. Once the archive was created the trust quickly began to run out of storage space on site within the hospital.

At this stage the trust proceeded to look for an external partner to store these archive records in order to release some much needed clinical space. It chose a partner which had a depot locally.

The trust continued to store medical x-ray records with its chosen partner for over 20 years – at considerable cost. In total the trust was estimated to be spending approximately £45,000 pa to store records. However, from time to time, in managing its archive, it was required to destroy records that had passed their retention dates.

The trust would advise the storage company when it wanted files removed for destruction. Once advised , the company would remove the files from storage and send them back to the trust for destruction. In sending the records back, the trust would be charged a ‘Permanent withdrawal fee’ of £ 1.50 per file; at times the trust would be tasked to destroy thousands of files, but was being prevented from doing so because the ‘Permanent withdrawal fee’ made it cost prohibitive. This in turn meant that the storage company retained long term storage fees.

When Betts Envirometal initially approached the trust with regards to securing x-ray destruction contracts to enable silver recovery, it became apparent that the trust was experiencing difficulties in extracting its records for destruction from the storage company, as it was proving cost prohibitive due to ‘Permanent withdrawal charges’.

The trust authorised Betts to liaise with the storage company to see if a compromise to the ‘Permanent withdrawl fee’ could be found. However the storage company were not prepared to negotiate.

Betts Envirometal then offered the trust a more financially viable solution in managing its archive and storage requirements by utilising a proven Betts process. Betts would negotiate extraction of the entire archive from the existing storage facility.  The solution offered to the trust meant that annually it would save £25,000 on total storage costs alone, whilst ensuring a full and complete archive management system. On top of the annual saving Betts does not levy ‘Permanent withdrawal fees’ for files removed for destruction, as the destruction of files is undertaken on site, with operational cost recouped from the silver recovered from the medical x-ray film.

Even after operational costs have been covered, Betts Envirometal is able to deliver a financial rebate back to the trust for the remainder of the silver value recovered.

The trust have now placed the storage of all of its archive medical x-ray records into the custody of Betts Envirometal, which is able to deliver a fully operational ‘Cradle to Grave’ destruction process whilst delivering a 100% recycled material solution.


Multi-National Casting Company

This company has a number of sites throughout Europe which undertake  x-ray operations on items manufactured via a casting process for different industrial uses. Each of these sites has x-ray waste including used film, archive film and photographic fixer. All of these items are rich in silver content and therefore have an intrinsic value.

Each  site within the UK was running as its own business unit so was responsible for its own operations, including contracts to a range of silver recovery companieswhich arranged for the waste to be taken away by a different company to other sites within the Group. Typically, each site was being informed that the value of silver recovered from waste film and photographic fixer would cover the operational costs for the collection with no return rebate to the client site. For the year of 2009 this company received a total value for silver recovered  of £15,000 for all sites.

Betts Envirometal are the industry leaders in silver recovery and were made aware that this organisation was not realising a total financial rebate for precious metals recovered. Betts Envirometal felt that it would be able to deliver a more robust scaleable solution for all the companies sites while providing uniformity when dealing with x-ray operation waste streams.

Betts Envirometal approached the customer with a financial rebate model that allowed Betts to deliver strong rebates for waste film materials processed for silver recovery. Betts also offered to install new equipment that would help the business realise the true value of its x-ray film and photographic fixer.

On the back of the Betts Envirometal proposal, the group as a whole took stock of its estate and awarded Betts a three year contract for silver recovery. Betts has now been servicing the  estate for 12 months and in total has delivered financial rebates back to the customer for the sum of £ 95,000, which as an increase of 500% on the rebates the Group had been receiving from other multiple contractors.