Dotmed News reports that, like other areas of health care, there is no denying that the operating room is in need of some greening. Health care facilities produce more than 6,600 tons of waste per day and nearly 5 billion pounds annually. The operating room and labor-and-delivery suites make up 70 percent of that waste.

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland is a facility that takes proper waste segregation seriously. In February 2012, they started a campaign to reduce trash and medical waste and reported a 200,000 pound decrease in the amount of waste produced each month, which was a 17 percent drop in the five months since it began.

By implementing a reprocessing program for their medical devices, both Yale-New Haven and Johns Hopkins reduce waste and achieve cost savings by sending products such as laparoscopic instruments to Stryker Sustainability Solutions and the company reprocesses them and sells them back to the hospital for about half the price.

Yale-New Haven has a similar program, but it wasn’t an immediate hit. “Initially, there was significant push-back because many physician leaders did not trust used products,” says Yale-New Haven’s DeVito. But some physician leaders at Yale-New Haven are passionate about the initiative and they vouched for the integrity of it, which helped the program grow. “Establishing physician leaders and showcasing their use of reprocessed products was essential to further the reprocessing program,” says DeVito.

Yale-New Haven saved over a million dollars from reprocessing medical devices in 2013, making it their most profitable initiative.

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