Rutherford Research and University of Exeter tackle single use plastic in the NHS

Rutherford Research and University of Exeter tackle single use plastic in the NHS

Scale-Up member Rutherford Research is working with circular economy experts from the University of Exeter to provide solutions to the NHS to help it achieve its ambitious target of being the world’s first net zero national health service.

The company has been awarded a Small Business Research Initiative Award (an NHS programme of competitions which invites companies to come forward with their ideas and new technologies for known NHS challenges) to develop ‘Revolution-ZERO’.

With the PPE and medical textiles industry forecast to grow, sustainable solutions are needed to tackle the vast amounts of single-use plastic being incinerated or going to landfill.

Revolution-ZERO can displace single use plastics with zero carbon, zero waste, high performance medical textiles and PPE, which at the end of clinical life can be repurposed for other uses or recycled. It’s estimated this has the potential to save the NHS £28m whilst providing a more effective service that prevents the negative environmental impact of PPE and other surgical textiles.

Rutherford Research is working with circular economy expert Professor Peter Hopkinson from the University of Exeter to build the business model to take this product to scale in a sterile surgical environment tackling logistics, decontamination and sterilisation, evaluation, and assurances whilst delivering a high value service for the NHS.

The team received bid writing support from the Scale-Up Programme in order to craft this successful bid.

Dr Tom Dawson, Founder, Rutherford Research, says: “Our reusable medical textiles will bring huge benefits to the NHS principally cost and carbon savings as well as improved usability and effectiveness. Our initial target is orthopaedic units as they have one of the highest environmental impacts from single-use plastics but Revolution Zero can be used across the NHS for staff and patients as well as related and wider markets – so the potential is huge.

Writing funding bids is complex and highly competitive, having the support of SETsquared’s Scale-Up to help us build this successful bid has been invaluable.”

The company is also currently closing a seed investment round and already supplies eight NHS Trusts, several GP practices and has a pending research and development contract with NHS Wales.

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