Single-Use vs Reusable Sluice Equipment


Costs are rising across the board including big jumps in the cost of electricity, national insurance rises and ever-increasing fuel prices. This leaves the care sector facing a tough choice between finding savings while maintaining acceptable levels of care or increasing the cost of their services to cover these increases.

One possible solution that has multiple benefits is making a switch to reusable sluice room equipment rather than relying on single-use equipment.


While there are larger upfront costs to reusable equipment it’s important to think about the life cycle and long-term costs associated with single-use equipment. A reusable bedpan will cost more than a single-use, disposable bed pan but over the life of the reusable one, it will work out cheaper. This is especially true when it comes to heavier patients/residents who may need to use multiple single-use items for comfort. This is why we so often hear about “cheaper” single-use solutions blowing budgets.

Washer disinfector machines, such as our Compact Superior range, have a very similar set-up cost to macerators; however, we offer the option to lease or finance our range of washers. This means making the switch to high-quality reusable equipment and washers is easier than you think and won’t occur a large upfront cost.

In years gone by washer disinfector machines would use large volumes of water during each cycle and their energy efficiency was poor. With our latest range of washers, this isn’t true anymore. Our washer disinfector machines have seen a drastic drop in their overall energy consumption and minimise the use of water to maximise the savings for the utility budget and the environment. We care for the environment and care about saving you money.

In the early days, reusable sluice room equipment had to be hand washed and when automatic washer disinfectors came around, they were slow to run through the cycle. This meant staff had to spend time cleaning, taking them away from their frontline care duties and a slow cycle meant you needed lots of reusable equipment to cover peak time. Our latest machines have reduced the washing and disinfection cycle, cutting down the time staff spend in the sluice room and the number of reusable items needed to cover peak periods. This helps your organisation to save money in terms of staff time as well as reducing the amount of reusable equipment you need to store.

Reusable sluice room equipment also has a fixed cost to it, once you’ve bought the equipment the only ongoing cost you have to pay is staff time, water and electricity usage. With the cost of raw materials increasing and fuel becoming more expensive it’s always a guessing game of how much your next order of single-use items is going to cost. This makes planning your ongoing costs much more difficult.


When it comes to reusable equipment there are also time savings to be had which means your team can spend more time on frontline care.

Typically single-use equipment needs to either be ordered on a frequent basis if you don’t have the capacity to store large volumes or you order it infrequently and have to find the space to store it and have your staff unpack it. This isn’t something you have to worry about when it comes to reusable equipment.


Single-use sluice room equipment can take up a lot of space, especially when ordering large volumes in bulk. Then, as your stock runs down you then have an empty space just going to waste.

With reusable equipment, you know exactly how much space you need to dedicate to storage.


Single-use equipment by its nature needs to be replaced as it’s used. As a care home manager or hospital facilities manager you don’t want to constantly keep checking your stock to see when you might need to reorder, as running out of sluice room equipment isn’t an option. Recent events including Insulate Britain blocking major roads, petrol stations running out of fuel and protests over fuel prices slowing traffic can all impact when your next delivery of single-use items arrives.

On the other hand, while reusable sluice room equipment needs to be replaced it’s less time sensitive. After a wash, you might notice that a few bedpans or urine bottles will need replacing shortly, giving you time to order the new ones and have them arrive before recycling the old ones.


With improvements to how single-use products are designed and made there is now less impact on the environment than there used to be however there are still downsides to using single-use products.

While single-use products are made from recycled cardboard they still require a lot of energy to produce. Environmental audits reveal the energy needed to recycle the cardboard in the first place, to form it in the right shape and then finally deliver the product to you, the full energy lifecycle of a single-use item is bigger than you might think. It is simply better for the environment to reuse.

Once the single-use item has been disposed of in either a yellow waste bin or by a macerator you might think the process is over. While the card used in the single-use item itself is biodegradable, the glue holding everything together can take many years to break down and leave behind chemicals in the soil. Reusable equipment just sends the waste into the sewerage system like a regular toilet.

Time to rethink?

If you’re rethinking your current sluice room and waste disposal process and want to see how much you can save by moving to reusable equipment then get in touch with our friendly team. We can give you a no-obligation quote on the cost of reusable equipment as well as advise you on the number of each product you need. With our leasing and finance options, it doesn’t have to come at a great upfront expense either.


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If you would like to speak with a member of the team at Stanbridge, please feel free to contact us using the details below, or alternatively complete the contact form on this page and we will get back to you shortly.


Stanbridge Ltd
Unit 78, Powder Mill Lane

Tel: 01689 806500

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