Like many industries, the healthcare sector is striving to implement more environmentally friendly facilities, products, and practices. Hospitals generate immense amounts of waste from the products they use and the people they treat. While much of this waste is infectious or hazardous, hospitals can minimize some nonhazardous forms of waste. From greener bathrooms to sustainable medical supplies, here are three ways to reduce waste in hospitals.
Minimize Trash in Bathrooms and Cafeterias
Bathrooms and cafeterias are two of the simplest places on which to focus sustainable efforts. Because these areas are common across a variety of businesses, you can borrow tried-and-true practices from other industries and facilities. Common solutions like air dryers in the bathroom and washable dishes in the cafeteria can eliminate a lot of trash. Another solution is to invest in energy-efficient appliances that save water and electricity in your facility. You can also examine food waste in your cafeteria. If possible, donate excess food instead of throwing it out. You can also look into compost options for kitchen waste that you can’t donate.
Invest In Sustainable Medical Devices
When it comes to surgical instruments, diagnostic devices, and other medical tools, hospitals must balance both sanitation and sustainability. Review the instruments your hospital staff uses. Are there any disposables that you can replace with reusable equivalents? What kind of sanitation practices can you introduce to allow surgeons, specialists, and nurses to reuse equipment more easily? When you must use single-use tools, prioritize sustainability in your medical device design. Look for clean, non-infectious plastic options such as PVC, which you can recycle and reuse multiple times without sacrificing functionality.
Stock Patient Rooms With Reusable Items
Patient rooms are another common source of hospital waste. One of the best ways to reduce waste in hospitals is to analyze your current products and practices and look for ways to introduce reusable or recyclable products. Are your patient gowns and bedsheets washable? Can you reuse bedpans, syringes, or measuring containers? Even items like reusable food trays can reduce the amount of trash coming out of patient rooms. Additionally, hospitals can get used or refurbished equipment like beds, tables, and imaging devices to lower costs and reduce waste from other medical facilities.