Medical Waste Removal and Other Ways for Hospitals to Be Green

Kermit the Frog wasn’t lying when he said, “It’s not easy being green.” People associate being green with costing a lot of green. However, creating a “green” hospital may be easier than you think and in the end, it can save you a lot of money. There are three major areas to focus on: medical waste disposal, cleaning chemicals, and the building itself.

Proper medical waste disposal is possibly one of the biggest concerns. Studies show that U.S hospitals alone produce over 6,600 tons of medical waste a day. More than half of the waste isn’t even hazardous waste. It’s made up of paper, cardboard, food, glass, and plastic. Many of these items can easily be recycled and reused. Teach your staff to separate any recyclable items and purchase specific containers for them. When it comes time for choosing medical waste services, you should only be choosing companies that practice environmentally-safe procedures. These medical waste services can reduce the amount of waste in landfills and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and emissions. A company that uses an incinerator is by far the worst to choose because it releases carcinogens into the air. Carefully research your companies.

It’s surprising to learn that most hospitals use toxic chemicals every day to clean the hospital. Many cleaners contain bioaccumulative toxins, or PBTs, that can pollute the environment and be dangerous to your own health. It’s not difficult at all to find green cleaning products for industries. One simple web search can take you to thousands of places to buy these products. Not only are many of these products free of dangerous chemicals, most are made out of recycled material too. It’s a double win for going green! You don’t have to immediately throw out all the products you own, just slowly start to integrate more and more better products over time. Going fully green is not a process to be done over night.

Lastly, it’s time to make changes around the hospital building. According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, about 30% of the health industry’s energy can be reduced by switching to more efficient energy sources. The Energy Star program actually does free energy audits for health care facilities. They can provide you with plenty of information and advice about ways your building can save. There are also simple steps that employees can take such as turning off machines not in use and checking hot water systems for leaks. One hospital in Boston has actually banned the use of latex gloves and 75% of the building is exposed to natural light. Can’t make more windows? Then switch to energy efficient lighting instead.

A lot of small changes can add up to make one big difference. Imagine how great the world would be if every person and every industry made an effort to go green. With better medical waste disposal, toxic-free cleaners, and improvements to the building, your hospital can be on the right path to a greener future.

Open chat