NeedleSmart is collaborating with the NHS, facilitated through the NHS Supply Chain innovation route, to drive a campaign forward to minimise single-use plastics and associated packaging. As of April 1, and as part of the Government’s recycling policies, all plastic packaging must contain 30% recycled material or be subject to a levy of £200 per ton.
The NeedleSmart technology is also part of an innovative program to reduce and eradicate 100,000 needlestick injuries (NSI), which affect all healthcare workers across the NHS. This initiative alone will help save the NHS and its trusts more than £127 million each year.
The Knowsley-based company has designed and developed a range of products, including the NeedleSmart Pro (NS PRO) a world-first in safe needle destruction and disposal. The ground-breaking technology is being pioneered in a partnership with the Innovation Centre at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and piloted with a number NHS trusts across England as part of the NHS’s carbon reduction and sustainability programme.
In the UK alone, using the NeedleSmart technology purely in relation to the COVID vaccination program would have saved the NHS 15,132 tons of CO2 annually.
NS PRO destroys a contaminated hypodermic needle in a sealed chamber in just six seconds. The NeedleSmart device heats the needles inserted into the chamber to 1,300 degrees celsius, which will kill potential harmful pathogens, viruses and bacteria adhering to the needle. Within seconds, the needle is compressed into a tiny cold ball and released from the NS PRO device as a safe sphere of metal at the tip of the syringe.
This not only safely destroys the needles, converting them into safe clinical waste and allowing for recycling, but also hugely decreases the amount and level of clinical waste disposal, along with the huge carbon emissions associated with disposing of that clinical waste and its incineration. Previously, the entire needle would have had to be disposed into a plastic sharps box, which carried a limit on how many intact needles could be disposed of.
Now the clinical waste can be split into two parts, with the molten metal ball part of the clinical waste recycled as safe waste and the plastics recycled into the system. This represents a huge advancement for the NHS – which is one of the UK’s biggest producers of carbon – in reducing its carbon emissions and recycling its clinical waste.
NeedleSmart aims to offer the use of a 96% recycled cardboard clinical waste box (when NS PRO is used) as a viable alternative to the current single-use sharps bins.
The Government plans to add a plastic tax of 20% per ton on single-use plastic packaging as of April 2022, meaning the NS PRO and its clinical waste box presents a real reduction opportunity in this tax levy to the NHS.
NeedleSmart CEO and smart MedTech disruptor, Cliff Kirby, said,“By adopting the NS PRO device, the NHS will enjoy a whole host of efficiencies in cost-savings and reduction in carbon emissions, in addition to crucial safety aspects.
"Using the technology means we can reduce the carbon emissions that the NHS produces by 95%. Using the NS PRO to safely dispose of the needles and put these into our biogenic carboard disposal boxes has major savings. The use of the NS PRO offers substantial savings to the NHS and the environment. "
NeedleSmart has recently achieved FDA approval as a Class II medical device, making it the first UK company to achieve FDA 510(k) approval (Class II for Sharps Needle Destruction Device (NDD)) and allowing the MedTech disruptor to expand into the US market and other global territories.