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Nitrous oxide project

Nitrous oxide project

The NHS has now committed to achieving net-zero direct emissions by 2040, this specifically includes anaesthetic gases. Nitrous oxide confers the largest carbon footprint of the anaesthetic gases within the acute sector, accounting for at least 75% of the total anaesthetic gas footprint.

The Association of Anaesthetists’ Environmental Committee and 2% Working Group are addressing ways that all NHS acute sites could reduce their use of anaesthetic gases, including both nitrous oxide and Entonox in order to achieve net-zero direct emissions by 2040. 

Our environmental champions will form a key part of this national project, and we will look to them to lead on the project in their own hospitals. In brief, in order for our environmental champions to carry out this project, we provide: 

  • A ‘How to guide’ – how to run the project – assessing manifold usage, clinical usage and waste etc.
  • Information from nitrous oxide manufacturers on how much nitrous oxide they supply to your hospital.
  • Support from ourselves for issues that arise.
  • Data management from the Greener NHS team – a proposed database via the Greener NHS for data to be inputted.

If you are interested in the project, please contact

Further resources:

Piped Nitrous Oxide Waste Reduction Strategy

Recent efforts within NHS Lothian to reduce the total contribution of theatre nitrous oxide has revealed that wastage from piped manifold systems is a far more significant problem than that of persistent clinical usage. NHS Lothian’s lean approach can be adopted to address piped nitrous wastage oxide at any acute site. The project lead for NHS Lothian advises that once a nitrous oxide mitigation project team is established at an acute site, they should first discuss their investigative approach and draw on the Lothian methodology as an exemplar and not an absolute standard. An audit and analytics sheet has been included at the end of this document to facilitate investigation.

Download the document

Environmental champions meeting 27 January 2021

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