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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Over 200 walking aids recovered for recycling

Published on:


July 2022

A partnership between NHS Forth Valley and Clackmannanshire Council, which commenced on 18th May 2022, has already seen over 200 walking aids recovered to be recycled or given a new lease of life for others who need them. The response has been amazing with some 300kgs of goods handed in at Kelliebank Recycling Centre, providing a significant saving against the cost of buying replacements.

The initiative, which began in Falkirk in January 2021 before being rolled in Stirling and then Clackmannanshire, encourages local residents with unused walking aids to hand them in at their local recycling centre to be recycled or refurbished. To date, 2500 patients in Forth Valley have benefitted from a refurbished walking aid. 

This innovative new return and reuse pathway was developed by Nicola Blair and Aileen Kelly, who identified there was no clear pathway for patients to return walking aids once they no longer required them. This was frustrating for patients, their families and for local NHS staff, with walking aids frequently discarded in clinical areas causing clutter and congestion. Many others ended up in landfill sites adding to the burden of waste.

A partnership with the Joint Loan Equipment Service (JLES) and Clackmannanshire Council means patients can return walking aids they no longer required for recycling. Items returned have included zimmer frames, pulpit walkers, gutter frames, elbow crutches and walking sticks.

JLES then organise the collection, safety inspection, decontamination, refurbishment and return of suitable walking aids via NHS Forth Valley’s Central Services Department (CSD) so that they can be safely reused for other patients.

Clackmannanshire Council Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Councillor Wendy Hamilton, said: “My thanks go first of all to everyone who has returned a walking aid using this fantastic initiative. Not only have you done your bit for others who need support to live well in their community, you have also helped save vital equipment from a landfill. 

“Thanks also to my colleagues at Kelliebank who have sorted through and arranged for the return of this equipment over and above their day jobs. Finally, none of this would have been possible without the innovative idea from local NHS Forth Valley physiotherapists Nicola and Aileen who have worked hard to make this important recycling scheme a reality.”

Nicola Blair, Highly Specialist Physiotherapist, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We really appreciate the support of colleagues in local councils who have helped us get this recycling scheme off the ground. It’s great to see so many walking aids being returned and reused as this not only avoids waste but also helps save much needed NHS funds.”

If you have a walking aid that you no longer need, you can hand in at Forthbank Recycling Centre in Alloa for recycling.