A YORK-BASED veterinary group has launched its first major environmental project by recycling PPE used in practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

VetPartners is trialling zero waste boxes for PPE at 130 of its largest sites across the UK.

The boxes are provided by TerraCycle and all types of PPE can be disposed of in the boxes as long as they are not contaminated with animal, pharmaceutical or liquid waste.

Once full, the boxes, which are themselves recyclable, are collected and quarantined for 72 hours to ensure they are Covid-safe, before the contents are separated into their individual components for recycling.

Dr Hannah James, who is overseeing the project, said: “To protect our colleagues and clients, we’ve strengthened our PPE policies in practices.

“The initial response from practices has been really positive. Lots of vets and nurses had been contacting us with concerns about the environmental impact.

“Many people at VetPartners are incredibly passionate about sustainability, so I think the Zero Waste boxes will be well received.”

If the trial goes well, the group, which has its headquarters in York, will roll out the boxes to more practices to help them recycle their PPE.

Among the practices trialling the boxes are Beechwood Vets in Leeds, Westway Vets in Newcastle and Minster Vets in York.

The initiative is part of wider sustainability goals at VetPartners, which is preparing to launch its first sustainability strategy, setting out a series of five-year targets to be more environmentally friendly.

The VetPartners strategy will be launched at the end of this year, and one of its key aims is to reduce the amount of waste produced and ensure more is reused or recycled.