Is Green Treatment of Medical Waste a Possibility?
The greenhouse effect has been a hot topic this election year, and environmentalists have been speaking out strongly about climate change. Recycling, reusing, and sustaining have become a norm in households, schools and businesses, but little attention has been given to hospitals. Yes, specialized medical waste disposal for hospitals is necessary to protect the population from infectious disease, but there are systems that can also make it less hazardous to our planet.
Infection control is a challenge when attempting to reduce waste in a hospital and put recycling standards into place. Obviously there are hundreds of pounds of garbage generated in a hospital each day that simply cannot be recycled. This means that the medical community needs a different set of standards in order to help reduce waste and protect the environment.
Selecting Medical Waste Disposal Products that Are Environmentally Conscience
When a hospital team strategizes effective medical waste disposal in their facility, they have a higher burden than most. Not only are they looking at the safety of the environment, they must take into consideration the safety of the patient, health care workers, and the general population. This is especially true with bio-hazardous and infectious waste items.
One popular solution is in disposable plastic bags for general medical waste disposal, and the red plastic boxes for sharps. Red plastic bags can be transported using plastic carts on wheels, with lids and gaskets that prevent any spillage. These carts are easily transported to a medical waste disposal facility where they can be emptied and sanitized before being returned, the same way sharp boxes are. This eliminates the need to also dispose of boxes or tubs that were used in the transportation.
The waste inside of the red bags and sharps boxes are melted down until rendered innocuous, allowing it to be safely disposed of at a designated landfill.
Formulating an Environmentally Conscience Strategy for Medical Waste in a Hospital
Hospital administrators and staff should be evaluating their current procedures and protocols when it comes to medical waste, looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary waste. Training staff to recognize the difference between recyclable waste and medical is a start, along with ensuring that containers are in place to dispose of both where needed.
Create teams comprised of members of all areas in the hospital, including nurses involved in bedside care, surgery professionals, intake areas and your radiology department. Have them walk through the steps of their typical procedures to help identify where mistakes may be made in disposing of items that are deemed recyclable. With that knowledge you can make the appropriate containers more readily available where needed.
Staying in line with OSHA regulations while still being environmentally conscience is challenging in a hospital setting. Challenging, yet still possible. With the help of reusable containers, different sized bags and placement of recycling containers in accessible locations, you can keep a hospital in compliance and the future of the planet as priorities.