Managing waste is one of the many challenges that hospitals face on a daily basis. Operating a hospital is similar to operating an entire city, only it’s contained in a single building. Some of what is generated by a hospital is sure to be garbage, but much of it will be recyclable. Here are some key hospital recycling ideas along with some tips to help your facility reduce waste.
Common Hospital Recyclables
For a hospital that is not currently placing an emphasis on recycling, big strides can be made simply by collecting things the hospital already uses which happen to be recyclable. Some likely candidates include:
– Glass bottles
– Plastic containers
– Aluminum cans
– Office paper
– Steel cans
The above list is only a partial accounting of the recyclables that are likely being used in a typical hospital. It is important to remember, however, that some of the materials used by a hospital may need to be handled in a specific manner when they are no longer needed. For instance, paper that contains personal patient information might need to be destroyed, or plastic containers may have held substances that prevent them from being recyclable. Each hospital will need to develop a specific plan for how each individual type of waste is to be recycled or thrown out.
Steps to Reduce Waste Effectively
In addition to identifying things that can be recycled instead of sent out with the garbage, there are also steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of waste your hospital generates each day.
- Make changes to cleaning procedures. Cleanliness in a hospital is of utmost importance. However, traditional cleaning practices sometimes generate far more waste than is necessary. Try switching to concentrate cleaning solutions that can be mixed on demand in reusable drums to reduce waste. Also, it is a good practice to opt for reusable mop heads instead of disposable models.
- Employee sharing. In big hospitals, there tends to be a lot of redundancy between departments in terms of office supplies. Rather than buying way more than is realistically needed, try setting up a space in the hospital where used items can be left and picked up by other departments. Things like binders and folders are perfect for this type of exchange. This is an approach that can reduce spending in addition to cutting down on waste.
- Fine-tune ordering practices. This is a big one that is frequently overlooked in the battle against waste. Ordering practices should be consistently reviewed to look for opportunities to cut back on purchasing without impacting the day-to-day operations of the facility. It’s likely that over-buying is currently leading to product spoilage and other kinds of waste that are simply not necessary.
Involve a Variety of Departments
One of the keys to a successful hospital-wide recycling program is to make sure voices are heard from all departments. If a new policy is simply put into action without sufficient input, it won’t be accepted with open arms. Also, the people who work daily in various departments will have insight that is not held by those in managerial roles. Take the time necessary to collect as much input as possible, so the end result can be a more effective recycling policy.
As the saying goes, ‘that which gets tracked gets done’. In other words, if you are going to make meaningful progress on a recycling program, you need to have a way to track changes and monitor progress. You may be able to do this by recording how much waste is hauled away by your garbage company, or you may come up with other metrics to use for this purpose. Rather than expecting dramatic changes overnight, look for signs of progress and aim to get better month after month, year after year.
Trust Vulcan For Your Recycling Equipment
If your hospital needs to purchase equipment or supplies to help implement or improve a recycling program, Vulcan Wire is ready to serve you. Vulcan offers a range of baling wire and tools that can help you bundle your recycling. With a variety of quality products at competitive prices, there is no need to look elsewhere.