Anaesthesia and the environment

We recognise that our actions have an impact on the environment around us and regards sustainability and climate change as a key strategic issue. You can read our statement here. The environmental task group was established in 2013 to lead on this issue. More about our environmental task group here.

In this section you can find our policy statement on the environment, details of the environment task group and latest news and information for anaesthetists concerned about reducing the environmental impact of their clinical practice. You can also read the special environment issue of our member magazine Anaesthesia News.

Environmental Statement

Together with the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland (CAI) we recognise that the professional actions of anaesthetists have an environmental impact and that this, in turn, may affect people's health and wellbeing both now and in the future. More.

What can you do?

‘Green anaesthesia’ is really just an extension of actions that you ordinarily take to reduce your personal impact on the environment. Find out more »

Facts and figures

• The NHS produces 3% of all UK carbon dioxide emissions
• The NHS has a carbon footprint of ~ 19 million tonnes
• 408,000 tonnes of solid waste are produced annually by the NHS (4% of UK total), 29% of which is solid waste
• Less than 10% of NHS solid waste is recycled
• The NHS can save £180 million annually by reducing its carbon emissions
• Approximately 2300kg of anaesthetic waste is produced annually per theatre
• 40% of anaesthetic theatre waste is potentially recyclable
• Only 4% of sharps bin waste is appropriate disposed of

Yale Facility Inhaled Anaesthetic CO2 Survey

Inhaled anesthetics are potent greenhouse gases, and waste is routinely vented off facility rooftops to the outdoor environment where emissions are currently not controlled. Project Drawdown, promoted through the Yale Department of Anesthesiology, aims to POOL ANONYMOUS DATA to benchmark facility-level inhaled anesthetic carbon footprints, as well as per-case averages, to compare and inspire performance improvement efforts.