How to Operate an Environmentally Friendly Hospital

There are many ways that hospitals can change their operations to protect the environment. Some of these ideas can even save the hospital money as well as reduce health risks to employees and patients. These are all great reasons to make some adjustments in the operation of a health care facility.

Hospitals generate a huge amount of paper waste. Computer information technologies are in place in almost all U.S. hospitals at this time. Much information can be viewed online without being printed in a hard copy format. Policies can be put into place requesting that staff reduce printing hard copies when possible.

Recycling measures can also be put into place as an Eco-friendly measure. Paper, glass, and plastic are all materials that can be recycled just as many individuals do at home. Practicing recycling at a hospital is based on the same concept but on a larger scale.

There are many products available that can be adopted by hospitals to reduce waste. Reusable sharps containers could actually save a hospital thousands of dollars. A source at estimated that a hospital with 1,000 beds which used disposable sharps containers rather than disposable containers could save close to $200,000 and reduce waste by 34,000 pounds. Reusable towels and gowns are additional products that can heavily reduce waste.

Hospitals have a large amount of medical waste that requires expensive disposal methods. Often, non-medical waste ends up mixed with medical waste. Incineration is one of the major types of disposal methods. This method of disposal is very harmful to the environment. Hospitals should investigate alternative methods of waste disposal methods that are less harmful to the environment. Examples include chemical treatment and autoclaving. Careful attention should be given to the separation of medical and non-medical waste material.

Cleaning products and disinfectants can be toxic in many ways. Careful attention should be paid to selecting the safest products possible. The global awareness of Eco-friendly products has resulted in a large selection of environmentally friendly commercial products. Purchasing personnel should be trained concerning the environmental advantages of these products.

While hospitals are extremely busy dealing with broken bones and illnesses like acute coronary syndrome or MS and many more, thinking about the planet should also be a priority as a healthy planet helps breed healthy people. These ideas are only a springboard to the possibilities that exist to make a change toward environmentally friendly practices. Savings in operating costs as well as environmental benefits should motivate this industry to make eco-friendly changes. Many hospitals have already begun instituting some of these changes with positive results.

Thank you to Emily Jacobson for this guest post which I hope our medical community followers enjoyed.

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