Break through the barriers of healthcare cost management to reduce waste expense without jeopardizing quality.
In 25 years of providing waste management services, we’ve been able to identify two simple - yet incredibly difficult to overcome – cost management challenges that every healthcare organization faces. These are not the only challenges to effective waste cost management; however, they are frequently overlooked due to their simplicity, and significantly hinder a hospital’s ability to manage waste costs.
1. Accurately Identifying Waste Costs
How can an organization expect to cut costs if they can’t accurately identify the costs? Waste management within a hospital has both hard and soft costs. The cost for the actual disposal of waste is very transparent; however, there are soft costs, such as labor and facilitation that are tougher to grasp. Understanding all costs associated with the management and disposal of waste requires going well beyond the disposal vendor and onsite support invoices.
In order to properly identify waste costs, hospital management must (figuratively) dive into their waste streams and determine where disposal costs originate. Each time a plastic bottle or aluminum can is put into a RMW bag rather than a recycling receptacle, the hospital is paying unnecessary disposal costs (figure 30 cents per pound for RMW vs. 3 cents per pound for recycling). Improper waste stream management on a large scale is an enormous cost burden for a hospital. Understanding where waste should go, and where it actually goes is extremely important to identifying your costs.
2. Devising a Long-Term Plan
Without conquering barrier number one, you’ll stand very little chance against barrier number two; however, if you can accurately identify waste costs then you’ll have the ability to effectively develop a long-term plan for reducing costs and improving sustainability.
Devising a long-term plan will require definition of total waste cost in terms that everyone within the hospital will understand. Converting waste costs into a common denominator (adjusted patient day, cost per square foot, etc) and providing metrics based on that denominator will allow the organization to develop and execute their long-term waste reduction and cost reduction plan.
Overcoming these two challenges will allow a hospital to develop long-term purchasing strategies, training programs, and engineering controls that promote cost reduction, operational efficiency, and hospital sustainability.
How Not to Reduce Waste Costs
It is a common misconception in waste management that if you send a certain need or project out to bid you’ll receive the best price and ultimately reduce your costs. The idea itself is not flawed since it creates a competitive scenario where vendors shrink their margins as much as possible in order to win the bid; however, hospitals must be careful that their bidding process aims to reduce total waste disposal cost, not just per unit expense. This can be extremely costly if you select a vendor whose organization thrives on feeding their incinerators. With little attention to proper waste stream allocation, you’ll find that even though they provide lower per unit pricing, they are shipping more waste, and waste in incorrect streams, from your facility.
Also, it is imperative that quality does not suffer as a result of the bidding process. Often times, the lowest bidder may not have the capability to offer the customer-intimate services needed to provide a safe, compliant, and patient-focused healthcare environment.
Now that you understand these two simple, yet hugely important barriers to success, it's time to start working on waste cost reduction. Click below to download our whitepaper, and discover tactics for reducing waste costs and improving sustainability.
Above ground storage tanks (AST’s) are large steel cylinders that are used to store petroleum products, or other liquid material. Petroleum tanks require routine maintenance to ensure the integrity of the product is maintained, and to make certain that the tank and its contents are safe and compliant with local, state, and federal regulations. Storage tanks also need cleaning if the product is changed, which will prevent contamination between the old and the new product.
Cleaning of above ground petroleum tanks should only be performed by highly trained crews with the necessary experience and certifications. The following is a general guideline to follow when cleaning AST's:
Due to the inherent danger involved with entering and cleaning petroleum storage tanks, crews must be TWIC certified, have the proper insurance, and be up-to-date with all trainings and certifications. The crew should perform a daily on-site safety meeting covering all of the possible related safety issues. This meeting will be documented, and a representative from the client company should participate. The crew needs to obtain the necessary work permits from the client and go through OSHA's lock-out tag-out on the tank each day. The isolation of the piping and valves associated with the aboveground tank should have occurred, and tank ventilation should be in place prior to the crew arriving at the site. The crew should verify that all blinds and blanks are in place, and ensure that a safe and secure work area and decontamination area has been set up. A site specific Health & Safety Plan (HASP) needs to be prepared, followed, and maintained at the work site.
Watch a Triumvirate tank cleaning crew in action:
The tank cleaning crew should consist of a minimum of three people, and be equipped with all the proper PPE, a vacuum truck(s) for product removal, support trucks, pressure washers, confined space entry gear, rescue gear, and supplied air (SCBA) systems. The crew will set up the confined space entry equipment around the tank using the front manway as the entrance and exit for the tank. An approved and properly calibrated air monitoring meter should be used to evaluate the atmosphere in the tank, and the tank must be continuously vented throughout the cleaning process. The crew will enter the tank and work the recoverable product with squeegees to the vacuum truck hose placed in the center of the tank. Using the pressure washer, the crew will wash the interior floor and wall (usually to the first weld ring). Large above ground tanks are worked in quarters so as not to contaminate an area already cleaned. The vacuum truck will be used to remove the water rinse and sludge, and transport all wastes offsite for disposal or recycling.
It is imperative for petroleum and energy organizations to ensure that their product is being stored in a suitable environment, and that the safety of the people working onsite is never compromised. To learn more about tank cleanings, or to request a free tank cleaning consultation, click the button below.
Healthcare waste disposal expense is a burdening line item on every hospital’s balance sheet; however, it is imperative not to cut corners in regards to waste management to ensure the hospital’s compliance, and the safety of employees, patients, and the general public. Waste disposal is a necessary expense, and the majority of healthcare facilities stomach the expense without exploring cost reduction strategies. The following eight steps will help any healthcare organization reduce waste costs significantly and improve facility sustainability.
1. Determine the hospital’s baseline waste management cost.
The first place to gather this information is accounts payable. Through this process, practitioners will become familiar with matching costs with vendors, areas of operation, types of waste generated, amounts of waste generated, and ordering habits of managers. As a hospital delves into its accounts payable, administrators will learn that the hospital’s expenditures in waste management include both products and services. The next place to gather this waste cost information is payroll. Often, significant costs of waste management are borne by the hospital in the form of internal payroll costs. These “soft costs” are just as significant as accounts payable costs when evaluating the true baseline waste management costs of the hospital.
2. State the hospital’s baseline cost metric in terms of a denominator that is meaningful to the hospital.
Well-run hospitals understand a number of different performance and results indicators as defined by a single denominator. Whether a hospital orients its expenses by its gross revenue, square footage, adjusted patient days, or something else; in order to get a purpose on waste management costs - administrators must first define those costs in terms of the hospital’s key denominator. Once the hospital has developed the ability to express its waste management costs in terms of a denominator that is meaningful to key stakeholders, that hospital has developed a powerful tool that can bring costs down quickly, keep them down over time, and even continue to reduce the hospital’s costs.
3. Define quality outcomes for the plan.
As hospitals plan for consistent decreases in waste management costs over the long term, administrators need to consider what pitfalls lay in the road before them. By definition, as a hospital removes costs from its waste program, the hospital effectively removes resources from its waste program. As the hospital removes those resources, it must be certain that the resources it removes (and ultimately returns to the hospital’s operating budget) are either wasteful, or otherwise unnecessary to achieving the quality outcomes, as defined by key stakeholders. A complete stakeholder analysis is the first step in defining plan quality.
4. Define the hospital’s year one cost objective relative to the ambitiousness of the plan.
The paradox of sustainability stems from the fact that practitioners know that the word sustainable connotes long-term success and viability. However, in hospitals, the need for savings and performance improvement is immediate. Moreover, hospitals reward administrators overwhelmingly for current-term performance, in favor of long-term performance. A waste management plan that favors cost savings over the long-term above all else, will usually yield the greatest overall financial benefit to the hospital; however, hospitals need to balance this reality against the need for immediate impact, as well the need for quality. Successful administrators will need to satisfy skeptics who pose the false choice between cost and quality. A balanced plan will deliver high quality outcomes, immediate savings, and the ability to further reduce costs over the long term.
5. Define the hospital’s ten-year cost curve.
Once a hospital has defined its quality requirements and near-term cost reduction demands, it has the luxury to model the shape of a long-term cost reduction curve. The steeper the curve in year one, the fewer the savings a ten-year plan is likely to deliver. At this point in the process, hospitals can analyze the trade-offs and make the choices that most appropriately meet the needs of the hospital.
6. Develop plan support among key stakeholder groups.
The biggest managerial conundrum facing hospital administrators is how to bring about constructive and lasting change in large, complex organizations. Initiatives that achieve top-decile results must modify waste disposal behaviors within the hospital. Accordingly, absent-minded disposal decisions and outmoded disposal methodologies must give way to more progressive, leaner methodologies of managing purchased commodities and the waste created by those commodities. If executed correctly, these plans can achieve superior quality outcomes, exceptional cost performance, and improved socialization among key stakeholder groups.
7. Execute the plan.
This step is not rocket science, but it is the most critical of all. A hospital’s response to waste management costs is driven largely by the need for the hospital to make a serious shift to change in order to survive. Success is far more likely if the hospital executes well.
8. Measure the plan’s effectiveness and make adjustments to accommodate changing conditions.
Continual improvement is the process by which organizations frequently review their procedures, aiming to correct errors or problems. The focus of continual improvement is to identify problems before they occur, which will save time and money later on. Since the hospital has already defined its cost and quality objectives, it is able to measure execution against plan objectives. If the execution fails to meet the plan, the change agent must make the necessary adjustments to ensure stakeholder satisfaction and economic goals.
What to do next.
This eight step plan is a great baseline to follow to reduce healthcare waste expense. Tactics such as waste diversion, total waste management, and recycling will help your organization save costs and become a more sustainable hospital. Innovative healthcare waste cost-saving programs, like GreenPrint, will lower expenses substantially in both the short and long-term, while also increasing employee education, and making the facility “greener.”
This eight step plan was taken from our Whitepaper “The Cost of Waste Management in Healthcare” which was written by our internal Healthcare experts. Download the full Whitepaper to learn more about healthcare waste cost reduction.
Whether you are a newly-established company that has not yet formed an EH&S department, a mid-sized company with in-house or outsourced EH&S personnel, or a large company with a well-established EH&S department, environmental, health, and safety can be swept under the rug in terms of company priorities.
Facility size, employee count, and life-cycle stage can vary from one organization to the next, but one common thread twines many of these situations together: compliance isn’t the company priority.
Because regulatory compliance is not necessarily a tangible asset, the costs of maintaining it are often hard to validate at a corporate and user level. From small colleges with biology and chemistry departments to renown research universities; from one-facility hospitals to entire healthcare networks; from new-venture biotechs to research companies entering the development phase; from single-facility manufacturing companies to multi-location conglomerates – EH&S departments often struggle to raise top-of-mind awareness about the invisible. Researchers are focused on their work, and corporate is focused on the overall success of the organization.
When do facilities start to care about compliance? When the invisible cries out.
One instance: when safety or health is threatened. A researcher isn’t wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and a chemical injury happens; faulty equipment mismanages an explosive chemical, and BOOM; an unlabeled chemical is mixed with an incompatible counterpart and a fire results in an employee injury. It is then that compliance – or the lack of it – becomes a real, hard tangible. Then, or when the aforementioned rug is picked up by a regulatory inspector, and shaken for all it’s worth. How much, you ask? Inspection violations range from written warnings to millions of dollars.
In 2011, OSHA fined an Illinois company $1.2 million for allowing five employees without proper PPE or training to remove asbestos-containing materials from its facility.
In 2012, a utility company in New Jersey was forced to pay the federal EPA and state DOJ $150 million as a settlement to cover pollution control technology that would resolve violations in three of its power plants against the Clean Air Act (CAA).
So, you see, there are two kinds of compliance costs.
The first: maintaining compliance regularly – keeping equipment functional and up-to-date, having plans and permits, implementing and maintaining a thorough health and safety program, ensuring initial and regular training for employees, et cetera. The second: the aftermath of incompliance. Proactive compliance is much less costly than retroactive compliance. Not only in terms of money, but in terms of health. Worker safety. People’s lives.
Increasing proactive compliance decreases the cost of compliance exponentially.
Let’s clarify, though: understanding the importance of proactive compliance is just the start of an ongoing process. It’s easy to say, “Yes, we should be more proactive” - but how do you convince the people that matter? Key stakeholders and environmental health & safety budgets will range depending on company size, but a few themes ring true for all:
- No one wants to pay more than they have to
- Noncompliance puts health & safety at risk
- People connect more strongly with concrete examples than hypothetical situations
- Plans that cover the short-and long-term and are budgeted are more successful
Use these truths to convince your key stakeholders that increasing your compliance budget is not a “want” but a “need.” Find instances of hefty fines, threatened health, injuries, and fatalities for similar companies that failed to uphold EH&S compliance.
Next, highlight instances within your organization where these (and maybe more) instances of noncompliance exist. In order to do so, you need to perform a gap analysis of your facility. Utilizing EH&S compliance software, like Triumvirate’s ADVISE, allows you to understand your current compliance standing by collecting inspection information with an iPhone. The software can then graph that data in a report, showing you visually where your highest instances of risk stand. You might also consider having a compliance consulting team visit your facility to perform a mock audit. Having a team tour your facility puts your employees on the spot, allowing you to gauge their inspection preparedness, and it identifies specific violations present in your machines, PPE, programs, and records.
In order to effectively persuade your key stakeholders of an increased compliance budget, you’ll need to present them with a short-term and long-term plan. Let reacting to those immediate instances of noncompliance shape your short-term plan, and systematic changes to prevent similar risk in the future constitute your long-term plan. Plan out what your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly benchmarks will be, and let these standards become the instruments to measure facility compliance.
Whether you’re a large healthcare institution, a small research & development venture, an industrial manufacturing powerhouse, or somewhere in-between, outsourcing environmental, health, and safety operations has immense benefits for your organization. Outsourcing EH&S allows an organization to focus on its goals, while leaving the demanding safety, compliance, and health tasks to environmental experts.
Here are six benefits of outsourcing EH&S that are applicable to all organizations, regardless of location, size, and scope.
1. Ensures Federal, State, and Local Regulatory Compliance
Choosing to outsource EH&S ensures that your organization will remain compliant with all federal, state, and local regulations. An environmental service provider will be ahead of the curve on all regulatory compliance matters, mitigating the risks associated with non-compliance for your organization. Compliance services can range from full program development and execution; to planning, document preparation, and permitting; to compliance audits. A quick audit by a qualified EH&S team can pinpoint any compliance concerns and provide the proper solutions to ensure compliance moving forward.
2. Maximizes Cost Savings and Boosts Efficiency
Staffing an entire EH&S department can help your organization maintain compliance and safety; however, it comes with substantial costs. The cost for building a multi-employee EH&S department at your facility may not be worth the value when you consider the amount of resources required – which include constant training, a myriad of different equipment and tools, and employee compensation. Not to mention the battle with inefficiencies as an internal team grows and learns. Outsourcing EH&S allows you to invest in a well-trained team of experts, equipped with all the tools and resources they need to get the job done – plus you don’t need to worry about their compensation. The cost savings experienced by outsourcing can be invested elsewhere to help business growth.
3. Expertise for All EH&S Occasions
Just like any other department, internal EH&S professionals are occasionally presented with instances they have never seen or experienced before. Chances are, if you’re outsourcing EH&S, your provider will have a team member capability of handling any situation. Having an expert team of EH&S professionals at your service helps make certain that your organization is covered in all situations; routine or emergency.
4. Ensures Employee Safety
Employee safety must be a priority for all organizations. There is no margin for error when dealing with the safety and well-being of employees, and for an organization with minimal or no internal EH&S staff, safety is often neglected (see also: jeopardized) in order to keep costs down. Outsourcing EH&S can ensure that employee safety is a top priority, as qualified EH&S providers have the means and experience necessary to develop proper safety protocols and procedures. Safety audits conducted by an expert EH&S provider will uncover possible safety hazards and prevent catastrophes before they happen.
5. Manages Risk and Lowers Liability
Outsourcing EH&S can effectively mitigate environmental, health, and safety risks, allowing your organization to reduce its liability and operate more safely. As a result, a safer workplace translates to lower liability and workers comp insurance costs, making the decision to outsource EH&S even wiser.
6. Allows Focus on Core Competencies
Is EH&S a core part of your business? It is a core competency of Triumvirate, and any other EH&S provider out there – so be wise and leave EH&S to the experts. Outsourcing EH&S allows you to focus on the core aspects of your business, without sacrificing environmental, health, and safety integrity. Quit wasting valuable time and resources worrying about EH&S, and outsource it to the pros, so you can focus on your organization’s mission, goals, and values.
Staffing an in-house EH&S department certainly has some benefits too; however, outsourcing the planning, development, and execution of environmental, health, and safety functions will ensure that your company is operating efficiently, compliantly, safely, and optimally.
Learn more about outsourcing EH&S from an experienced environmental consultant.
Triumvirate’s sponsorship sparks innovative new biotech hub, and supports 50 to 60 new biotech ventures in Cambridge.
Massachusetts, specifically Cambridge, is a hub for innovation in life sciences and biotechnology, and Triumvirate is doing everything possible to support that innovation and discovery – which is why we’ve signed on as the Founding Sponsor of LabCentral.
LabCentral is a state-of-the-art 27,000 square foot facility that offers shared lab space and services for entrepreneurs and startup biotech ventures right in Kendall Square. This shared lab and office space significantly reduces startup costs for entrepreneurs, while Triumvirate ensures that all ventures maintain compliance and safety, allowing them to focus on their mission.
“We are honored to become an integral part of the LabCentral team as its founding sponsor and environmental, health, and safety provider,” said Triumvirate’s CEO John McQuillan.
Governor Deval Patrick partaking in the ground breaking.
Triumvirate’s sponsorship ensures that all of LabCentral’s tenants receive the proper EH&S coverage – which, in addition to buying or renting lab space, is one of the largest barriers to entry for startup life science companies. With Triumvirate and LabCentral’s partnership, new ventures do not need to worry about these barriers, granting them freedom to pursue the next big discovery in life sciences.
As part of our involvement, Triumvirate will provide comprehensive hazardous, medical, and radioactive waste management, emergency response services, industrial hygiene, lab decontamination, and wastewater services. Triumvirate will also provide all regulatory compliance services, EH&S training for all of LabCentral’s tenants, and our comprehensive Project Jumpstart program that prepares all startup documentation, licensing, and permitting. Each new venture will also receive licenses to our ADVISE software, an innovative waste management and compliance reporting tool for iPhones, iPads, or laptops.
We’re very excited to be part of such an incredible initiative in Massachusetts’ life science industry, and are looking forward to seeing remarkable discoveries occurring within the walls of LabCental.
Slated to open in the Fall of 2013, LabCentral will create more than 30 new construction jobs and 500 new life science jobs over the next decade. The site itself is no stranger to innovation, as it was the location of the first two-way, long distance telephone call between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas G. Watson. We suspect the site will remain plentiful with innovation and new discoveries moving forward.
Left to Right - Johannes Fruehauf, Founder and Executive Director of LabCentral; Greg Rosinski, Life Sciences Account Manager at Triumvirate; Tim Mooney VP of Operations at Triumvirate.
In an attempt to better service the entire Mid-Atlantic region, we have added a new 10-day hazardous waste transfer station to our list of assets in the region. In addition to our locations in New York and Baltimore, we are proud to announce we have a new facility inWoodstown, New Jersey – just outside of both Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia, PA.
The addition of our Woodstown facility allows Triumvirate to provide comprehensive environmental, health, and safety services to Philadelphia, Wilmington, and central and southern New Jersey; ensuring quick response and customized solutions for organizations within the region. Our full line of waste management, technical, and field services is now available to the greater Philadelphia, Wilmington, and southern New Jersey area; including (but certainly not limited to) hazardous waste management, environmental compliance consulting, lab pack services, emergency response, and tank removal & cleaning.
“It is extremely exciting to now have a base operation mid-way between our Baltimore and New York locations,” says Vaughan Harry, Mid-Atlantic General Manager at Triumvirate Environmental. “This operations hub will support our continued growth and expansion into eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The Woodstown location brings the full breadth of Triumvirate’s environmental services to education, healthcare, life science, and industrial organizations in the area.”
The New Jersey location also serves as a warehouse for drums, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other supplies, as well as a central location for Triumvirate technical service and field service personnel traveling to client sites to perform compliance audits, trainings, plan development, regulatory reporting, site assessments, and industrial maintenance such as vacuum services, site restoration/demolition, ship & bilge cleaning, PCB remediation, AST & UST cleaning, oil-water separator cleanings, and much more.
“Clients and prospects alike can now take full advantage of an A+ environmental service provider in the region with local assets and resources,” says Mr. Harry. “Our Woodstown location will join our pre-existing locations as an added asset that strengthens our abilities. Customers will experience faster response time and an enhanced service. Additionally, the operations hub will allow Triumvirate to consolidate shipments – ultimately providing clients with lower costs as a result of improved logistics.”
The new facility in Woodstown allows Triumvirate to provide to the Mid-Atlantic the same innovative environmental solutions and customer service excellence that has made us the premier EH&S provider in New England and New York. For more information about our Woodstown location, or to talk with a Mid-Atlantic EH&S professional, please click the button below or call 1-888-TEI-WOWS.
Ensure appropriate process categorization and permitting to comply with Massachusetts’ 527 CMR 33.00 update.
In 2012, the Massachusetts Board of Fire Regulations developed a new regulation aimed at protecting emergency response personnel, employees, and the general public from fires or explosions stemming from the processing of hazardous materials. This regulation is in response to three catastrophic explosions at facilities in Massachusetts, all of which involved processes using chemical or hazardous materials; and will regulate all facilities within that state that are involved in the processing or processes of hazardous material.
The primary factors to focus on to ensure compliance are process category and vessel capacity. Certain processes are exempt from this regulation, so identifying your active processes and determining applicability is imperative to achieving compliance. The regulation defines a process, or processing, as:
“A sequence of operations in which the sequence can be inclusive of physical operations such as heating, cooling, mixing, distilling, compressing, and pressurizing, and chemical operations, such as polymerization, oxidation, reduction, and other chemical reaction processes. The sequence can involve but is not limited to: preparation, separation, combination, purification, or any actions that cause a change in state, energy content, or chemical composition.”
Once you’ve identified your processes, and whether or not they are exempt from the regulation, you need to align vessel capacity with the regulation’s process category. 527 CMR 33.00 categorizes new or existing hazardous material processes by vessel capacity, and mandates compliance based on the process category.
The following are the process categories based on vessel capacity:
After determining your process categories you must begin the steps toward compliance. Requirements vary from category to category, but they all include documented compliance with existing EPA, OSHA, and state regulations, and strict permit application deadlines.
Meeting the requirements will demand effort from your internal environmental, health and safety team, or an outside EH&S consulting team. A qualified consulting group will prepare all the documentation and planning for the permits, and take the appropriate steps to make sure the facility will meet all regulation requirements moving forward.
Based on your process categories, make certain that you meet the following requirements:
View the 527 CMR 33.00 Compliance Consulting Case Study
Identification of processes, determination of categories, and preparation of documentation can take several months for a busy internal EH&S department to complete. If your permit application deadline is approaching, be certain you leave ample time to meet all the requirements.
Failure to comply with this regulation can result in costly penalties or fines. 527 CMR 33.00 is enforced by local fire departments, and they will ensure that no facility engages in the processing of hazardous material if it is not compliant with state and federal regulations. The local fire fighters’ safety is on the line when responding to fires or explosions at processing facilities, so you can expect this regulation to be strictly enforced, not only to protect the fire departments, but also the communities that they serve and the facility’s employees. Non-compliance with this regulation will be revealed during annual inspections by the local fire departments.
Discover the steps necessary to ensure regulation compliance in this Step-by-Step 527 CMR 33.00 Compliance Guide, or consider meeting with a EH&S Compliance Specialist to discuss compliance with 527 CMR 33.00.
by Shane Zuffante and Brian Ryerson
There are many myths surrounding recycling programs out there today. First and foremost is the notion that recycling costs money and is not a vehicle for savings. However, as recycled material is a renewable resource, often times this is the least expensive material leaving your institution. By implementing a proper waste diversion program, you can instantly realize savings.
Myths of Recycling:
- Recycling costs money
- People are opposed to change
- “Material” doesn’t actually get recovered
- I don’t believe I can make a difference
- It’s too hard to implement a program
Truths of Recycling
- Recycling provides savings
- People are desirous of doing the right thing
- More than 56% of paper consumed in 2007 was recovered for recycling
- Recycling works because of you
- There are companies who can help guide your efforts
Proper programs should be working together with existing culture in your institution. Rather than forcing a change, adapt your program to ensure a successful path to recycling.
As these “materials” are considered commodities in today’s marketplace, there is a strong desire to divert them from the waste and realize the value of the material.
At the end of the day, all recycling programs start and end with you. A successful program will be flexible and simple enough for all employees to make diversion choices.
In today’s climate of greening and sustainability, there are many firms who have the experience and expertise to develop and implement a unique strategy for you and your institution that has minimal impacts on your existing culture.
by Shane Zuffante, Healthcare Account Manager
2011 will prove to be the year most businesses strive to achieve new levels of sustainability (or ‘greening’) and at the same time reducing their overall cost of operations. Hospitals and Healthcare facilities are at the top of the list for ‘green strivers’, adding patient safety into the mix as a priority. Many clients I talk to are sidelined with the same issue: WHERE DO WE START?
Greening may be a challenge, but the benefits truly outweigh the obstacles. I suggest beginning departmentally; take an audit of each department and see where and with what you can make little changes that will greatly impact the whole. One department I always suggest starting with is the OR. Aside from the obvious bio waste, another element that can make a huge impact on cost and the environment is BLUE WRAP.
What is BLUE WRAP?
- Blue wrap is made from polypropylene (# 5 plastic) – one of the cleanest, purest waste streams.
- Blue wrap is used for wrapping surgical instruments for sterilization.
- Blue wrap is generated and used in only a few areas (i.e. surgical rooms).
- Sterile, uncontaminated blue wrap can be collected for recycling.
Why should hospitals recycle BLUE WRAP?
Blue Wrap is limited to one area: the Operating Room. 9 times out of 10, the Blue Wrap is disposed of in the Red Bag; the issue here is that Red Bag waste is much more costly than regular trash, and Blue Wrap is clean waste. By setting up a recycle bin for Blue Wrap, you reduce the amount of Red Bag (or expensive) waste. Plus, the Blue Wrap can be recycled and reused as ER curtains, tote bags, pelletized for raw materials, etc.
Any time you can reduce waste and cost while not compromising patient safety is a win for the hospital. If you have a green team, suggest setting up recycle bins in the OR on a trial basis to start a new habit or routine for surgeons and their staff.
What are you doing personally to impact your hospital?