A large training hospital can produce as much waste as a small town.
Care and treatment of the average hospital patient typically produces approximately 5.5 kilograms of waste each day. That translates into over 400 tonnes of waste each year for a medium-sized hospital with 200 beds.
Although you might expect biomedical waste to be the culprit for all that trash, only 15% of the waste is biomedical, chemical, liquid, laboratory, pharmaceutical, or hazardous waste. As with businesses, schools, and homes – more than half of what gets tossed out at the hospital is paper – a product that can easily be reduced or recycled.
Paper represents 53% of typical hospital waste. The second largest portion of health care waste is food.
A greener future means a healthier future for all of Newfoundland and Labrador. Ensuring a clean and green environment is a great way to promote healthy living.
MMSB is helping health care facilities keep more waste out of our landfills. We’ve developed these informative guides to help you put green initiatives to work for you and ensure a healthy environment for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
- Environmental Policy Guide – learn how to show your organization’s commitment to sustainability.
- Green Procurement Policy Guide – reduce your environmental impact through purchasing products and services that are environmentally sustainability.
- Office Recycling Program Guide – help your organization set up centralized recycling stations to cut down on materials sent to the landfill.
- Green Meetings Guide – ensure that all aspects – administration, location, food services – are taken into account in order to significantly reduce waste and environmental impact.
- 3R Office Checklist – see how well your business is reducing waste, conserving energy and water and helping to protecting the environment.
Put these green tips to work at your health care facility:
- Implement a paper reduction program to spend less on paper and on transporting materials to the landfill or recycling facility.
- Hire a waste hauler to collect and deliver paper and cardboard to a recycling facility.
- Evaluate the benefit of an on-site cardboard baler.
- Establish a designated recycling station in hospital cafeterias or lunch rooms to collect beverage containers accepted under MMSB’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.
- Implement recycling programs for other items such as printer cartridges and batteries.
- Ensure that all employees are aware of the recycling programs and understand how to properly participate for a successful program.
- Establish a Green Procurement Policy to switch to products and services that are environmentally sustainable.
- Purchase products with minimal packaging and initiate a return to vendor program for packaging and wood pallets.
- Create a detailed food plan to reduce food wastage and arrange to donate untouched left-over food to your local food bank.
- Have a designated collector collect used kitchen oils where programs are available.
- Donate outdated equipment to hospitals overseas.
- Decrease use of disposable sterile trays and increase sterilization of reusable trays, hardware and instruments.
Success Story: Western Health
Western Health, with its many regional facilities, recognizes that there is a critical link between wellness and the health of our natural environment. That is why environmentally conscious staffers formed the Western Health Green Team to improve community wellness through the promotion of environmental awareness within Western Health. They have implemented numerous successful initiatives including:
- Launching a paper reduction program.
- Paper newsletter circulation has decreased by 2000 copies, in favour of electronic versions.
- Providing staff with other electronic tools, such as an email system, an intranet for sharing documents and two-sided printers has reduced the need for printing.
- Reducing kitchen waste from 10 to 2 garbage bags per meal (a reduction of 8640 bags annually) simply by recycling beverage containers and paper products.
- Diverting 80 per cent of waste from the landfill!