Medical waste disposal for surgery centers and large hospitals is arguably one of the most critical types of waste management in terms of protecting our environment. Administrators sometimes fail to realize that just a few small adjustments will significantly reduce the generated medical waste inside of a hospital, leading to a dramatic change in their impact on the environment.
Surgery Centers, and all health care related businesses, have different waste disposal requirements than other industry types. For example, the use of red bags is critical for identifying medical waste and ensuring that it is disposed of in accordance with local, state and federal law. Failure to do this will not only lead to fines, it could pose a public health hazard for an entire community.
There are a number of proven ways in which a hospital can save money with its medical and other waste disposal practices:
- Switching from disposable to reusable sharps containers. The New York City Department of Sanitation estimates that a 1,000 bed hospital that makes this change would save up to $175,000 per year and 34,000 pounds of medical waste.
- Using permanent waterproof mattresses when possible. The Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland Oregon switched out 95% of their disposable mattresses for permanent ones. The initial cost was large, but recouped in just one year. The savings in purchase costs are now $80,710 per year for this 341 bed facility, and they are contributing 16,350 pounds less of waste to the environment.
- Replacing disposable diapers with cloth versions. Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Region made a change from disposable to cloth diapers for newborns, resulting in a decrease in the amount of solid waste left in local landfills. Before implementing a change of this magnitude however, you need to address concerns related to infection control and infant skin care.
There is no real way of reducing medical waste generated by a hospital, short of cutting down on the patient load, but you can make a difference by switching the type. For example, you are always going to have to dispose of contaminated sharps, but switching to a type of container that can be sterilized and reused will help cut down on solid waste.
Effective medical waste disposal for hospitals not only addresses and removes these items from the facility, it looks for ways in which the hospital can save money and have a decreased impact on the environment. You can also try and use products that have been made using recycled materials to further help our planet. Even small hospitals can make a significant difference with simple changes in waste management and disposal.
Start by contacting MedWaste Management for more effective methods of medical waste disposal inside hospitals. Efficiency ensures that your management of medical waste is having a minimal financial and environmental impact.