Gail O. Guterl discusses “Greening the OR” in Advance for Nurses (03/28/12):

Not only are hospitals reducing waste by turning toward reusable equipment, they are also recycling more effectively and eliminating or reducing harmful products and chemicals being used.

There is also a burgeoning trend toward sterilizing one-use equipment (usually done by an outside vendor) and reusing them.

The OR is definitely a good place to start because it generates about 20-30 percent of a hospital’s waste, according to Healthcare Without Harm (HWH,, an international organization working to make healthcare greener.

A 1990s estimate put U.S. hospital waste at 2 million tons a year.

Implementing only one initiative can deliver big savings.

The OR at Metro Health Hospital, Wyoming, MI, saved $75,000 in 2010 by reprocessing single-use devices. …