Hospital waste streams are large and complex. One estimate suggests that the nearly
5,000 hospitals in the U.S. produce more than 7,000 tons per day and spend $10 billion annually in disposal costs. In terms of materials purchased and discarded and in terms of dollars spent, waste is one of the indicators of inefficiency. Prevention and reduction of hospital waste is key for any hospital beginning or continuing its environmental sustainability journey. This can lead to significant cost savings and reductions in environmental and health impacts. High performing hospitals can manage waste streams so that the portion of RMW is as low as 8 percent, recycling is 40 percent, solid waste at 50 percent, and hazardous waste under 2 percent. The portion of the waste stream diverted from disposal through recycling and other means varies, depending on hospital size and location, management techniques, and available local markets for different streams. Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E), a program of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, catalyzes a culture of environmental health and sustainability across Maryland. In 2013 and 2014, MD H2E conducted online surveys of Maryland hospitals regarding sustainability practices, including waste prevention and management. Additionally, MD H2E surveyed hospitals for the amount of waste generated in 2013 and for a baseline year. This paper will (1) provide background on the types of hospital waste, (2) present a brief history of hospital waste management in Maryland, (3) present the results of the 2013 and 2014 surveys as they relate to waste management, and (4) identify trends and opportunities for hospital waste prevention and management. . .
Click HERE for the full article, and check out page 5, table 3 of “examples of waste prevention strategies in the OR” which highlights single-use device reprocessing programs.