Medical institutions expend volumes of resources for operations and patient care. US hospitals waste production exceeds 5.9 million tons annually. 33 pounds of waste per staffed bed per day is the average generated waste according to Practice Greenhealth.
management practices result in waste hauling reductions, recycling rebates, and
positive environmental impacts for the organization that recycles. Since
hospitals are the second largest generator of waste in the U.S., it is
imperative to instill sustainable practices into daily operations. Through
conscious disposal of waste, the medical institutions of Dallas can help the city realize Zero
Waste by 2040, while showing a positive impact on the bottom line.
If you missed out on Healthcare Waste Diversion Strategies Seminar, you can find the presentations by clicking below.
The brochure below provides guidelines that can be followed by almost any healthcare facility.
Click Here to view the Brochure.
Healthcare Specific Programs
Reusable Hard Cases for Surgical Instrumentation
Hospitals produce large volumes of blue sterile
wrap waste as a byproduct of surgical kits used in the Operating Room. Blue
wrap is not reusable and immediately becomes waste if a recycling program is
not available. Reusable hard cases for surgical kits eliminates blue wrap and results
in waste avoidance.
Case Study: Parkland Hospital implemented reusable hard cases in 2010. Since instituting the program, waste associated with wrapping sterilization kits has decreased by approximately 95%. Parkland also requires the vendor to provide FDA approved hard cases. This ensures the composition of the hard case can withstand the sterilization process.
Medical Supply Reuse and Donation
With rapidly changing technology, devices in hospitals quickly become "obsolete" and are subsequently replaced in medical centers. The packaging containing medical supplies "expires" even when the supply inside it does not degrade. Medical staff may order surgery kits and not use all of the material or replace some of it with more preferable items creating large volumes of landfill waste and negatively impacting financial bottom lines.
Case Study: One North Texas medical center partnered with Stryker for medical supply and device take-back. Between fiscal year 2012 and May of 2015, the medical center saved over $430,000 through Stryker's medical supply take-back program. An institutional policy was created for proper reuse of supplies and for donation of medical supplies that were not eligible for collection through the take-back program. Project CURE was designated as the recipient organization for excess medical supplies. The North Texas medical center donated over 100 pallets of material during the closure of an aging hospital.
Reusable Sharps Containers
When medical institutions use disposable sharps
containers, they pay a premium to have the plastic treated through regulated
medical waste (RMW). Reusable sharps containers allow hospitals to send the
full containers to a service provider who electronically empties, cleans, and
disinfects the containers before returning the containers to the medical
institution. The benefits of switching
to reusable sharps containers include:
1) RMW diversion savings
safety from reducing sharps injuries
3) decreased greenhouse gas emissions
from less plastic manufacturing, packaging, and transportation
Resources on Waste Reduction
These resources cover aspects of waste that are specific to the healthcare setting.
Health Care Without Harm
Local Recycling Collection
While local office supply, electronic or home improvement stores may offer year-round drop-off bins for recyclables (Click Here for a location near you), there are larger events offered throughout the year. Typically, there are restrictions to these events, but they may offer options to properly dispose of small quantities of HaRMs (hard to recycle materials).
DEA Prescription Take-Back Events
Join the conversation on producer responsibility for pharmaceuticals by getting involved with the Product Stewardship Institute. To see what other Texas communities are doing, click the Here.
The 2016 CleanMed
conference will be held in Dallas on May 17-19. This conference covers
various aspects of sustainability and is presented by Practice
Hospitals can participate in challenges to reduce waste, which can result in cost savings and public recognition for efforts.
HHI - Healthier Hospitals Initiative
EPA Food Recovery