In an effort to reduce contamination risks, medical facilities generate a lot of waste. Hazardous substances like drugs, viruses, and bodily fluids often leave supplies ineligible for repurposing. However, limiting the amount of waste your facility creates isn’t a lost cause. Here are some innovative tips for reducing waste in hospitals.
Perform a Waste Audit
The first step to improving waste management procedures is performing an audit. Do some investigative work to discover areas in need of improvement. Some hospitals hire a third party to give an unbiased review, while others build in-house task forces to gather important data. From there, your facility can make a plan to address waste generation problems.
Optimize Nonhazardous Supplies
There’s not much you can do to change practices regarding hazardous materials, but you can optimize your facility’s nonhazardous supplies. Install hand dryers to eliminate paper towels and reduce your hospital’s paper trash. Consider using washable materials like gowns and linens for uninfected patients. You can also try sterilizing reusable items like plates and cups instead of using cardboard or plastic alternatives.
Use Eye-Catching Signage
Professionals wanting to reduce waste in hospitals need to invest in quality signage to display their waste management policies. Using eye-catching signs will help direct employees and patients alike to the correct disposal bins for various materials. Make sure to label all waste receptacles clearly so that everyone knows exactly what they can and cannot toss.
Employ Disposal Services
Of course, the best source of information about waste reduction will likely come from your waste disposal partners. These businesses specialize in waste removal and have valuable insights that could help you limit the amount of waste your hospital produces. When looking for a third-party trash collector, choose a waste service that offers training and educational opportunities. They can teach staff how to reduce waste and give you ideas to improve your policies.
Medical facilities have so many opportunities to upgrade their waste management practices. By following these tips, your hospital can make valuable changes that could pave the way for others to do the same in their establishments.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and health helps create thought-provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower readers to play a more active role in their personal healthcare journey.