Dealing with waste is a monumental challenge for hospitals. Healthcare waste practices are still in their infancy, and the options for recycling are limited. According to a study by Practice Greenhealth, hospitals create over 5 million tons of waste annually in the United States. Moreover, hospitals generate over 29 pounds of waste per bed.
Medical waste disposal is a significant challenge for hospitals. Although they partner with waste disposal services, it still isn’t enough. Hospitals often have to follow state guidelines while also adhering to regulations set by the CDC and OSHA. Therefore, developing a comprehensive policy that streamlines the management process and reduces waste is a strenuous task.
Regardless, some hospitals are devising new methods to reduce medical waste efficiently. The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a plan to help hospitals streamline their waste management, and many hospitals are developing their waste management policies following the WHO’s system.
How are Hospitals Reducing Waste?
Hospitals are utilizing numerous methods to reduce medical waste. These include:
Utilizing Reusable Products Instead of Single-Use Products
Hospitals have to maintain sanitary conditions. However, that doesn’t mean that compromising on managing waste. Some hospitals are finding reusable products that can be disinfected and sanitized before use again. For instance, some sharps containers are available on the market designed for multi-use purposes. Hospital staff can clean and disinfect these containers after every use, allowing them to reduce some waste.
Some medical waste can’t be recycled, such as chemotherapy agents and pharmaceutical waste. Hospitals are creating separate containers and training staff to dispose of materials in the appropriate container. Red bags don’t generally require incineration to dispose of, while chemotherapy waste does. Therefore, separation helps the recycling process and allows for more efficient waste management.
Using Hand Dryers Rather than Paper Towels
Most hospitals have more non-hazardous waste than hazardous waste. Therefore, appropriately disposing of the non-hazardous waste is essential. Hospitals are reducing the trash they create by removing paper towels and opting for hand dryers in washrooms.
Hospitals are also posting signage throughout their facilities, highlighting the appropriate container for a specific purpose. For instance, all patients and visitors must dispose of recyclable items in containers intended for recycling.
Conducting Waste Audits
One of the most successful ways to ensure implementation is by following through with reviews. Hospitals are creating task forces dedicated to making sure waste management processes are working as intended. Conducting waste audits also allow the hospitals to assess how they can further reduce the waste they generate and helps them highlight inefficiencies in their current system.
Partnering with Waste Disposal Companies
Most healthcare facilities, including hospitals, are partnering with waste disposal companies to help them with their waste disposal needs. If you seek a medical waste removal company in Denver, CO, Medical Systems can assist you.
Medical Systems specializes in pharmaceutical waste management and provides waste disposal services like medical waste removal, biohazard waste removal, and biomedical waste disposal.
Contact them today for your waste disposal needs.