Home' The Source : Second Quarter 2018 Contents SOURCEBOOK ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
Facility managers can become easily
overwhelmed when tasked with
safely reducing facility waste. For
starters, implementing sustainability initia-
tives can look incredibly different given the
healthcare facility, the population it serves
and the waste stream management protocol
that may or may not already be in place.
Plus, shifting regulatory restrictions can
add another layer of difficulty to hospitals
negotiating short- or long-term contracts
with waste management companies or other
suppliers. However, the national need to pri-
oritize hospital waste reduction is great.
In fact, healthcare facilities account for
5.9 million tons of waste annually, according
to Practice Greenhealth. The organization
also reports that average-sized hospitals
produce nearly 12,000 tons of waste every
day—that’s more than 28 pounds of waste
per hospital bed.
Raquel Toombs, director of strate-
gic sourcing for purchased services at
HealthTrust, says that healthcare facili-
ties have a social responsibility to focus on
sustainability efforts. That can be aided by
effective staff communication, both about
new programs or initiatives as well as training
to ensure that the right waste type
ends up in the right bin.
“Waste will always be there, so
the question is how can we better
optimize segregation and recycling?”
Toombs says. “We must improve
staff training by encouraging bet-
ter awareness of hospital policies,
sustainability efforts and the safe
disposal of waste.”
For hospitals eager to integrate
new waste management protocols, a
practical approach is essential. When it
comes to choosing partners, HealthTrust
offers several contracted suppliers that
help members manage their sustainability
efforts through the selection of custom-
ized, scalable solutions. Some options
prioritize convenience and full-service
management, while others prioritize cost
savings and greater choice.
New contracts in the Controlled Sub-
stances category went live in January
2018. This category was initiated by
HealthTrust’s Pharmacy Advisory Board
after new regulations were released regarding
controlled substance waste, in part because
of the ongoing opioid crisis.
“In the past, any unused controlled sub-
stances could literally be flushed down the
toilet, and that was OK,” Toombs says. “Now
facilities are required to have a system in
place that renders those drugs non-retriev-
able. It prevents diversion (through use or
sale) of this kind of waste.”
HealthTrust contracted suppliers in the
Controlled Substances category are GFMD’s
RxDestroyer (Contract No. 31335) and
Stryker’s Cactus Sink (Contract No. 31338).
HealthTrust is in the process of adding a
third supplier—Stericycle’s CsRx Controlled
Substance Disposal Program.
Renewed contracts in the Waste Stream
Management category went live April 1.
Toombs says this offering is a convenient
option for members because it manages all
their waste streams under one umbrella.
“From document destruction, food and
solid waste, to red bag waste and sharps—all
waste streams are included in one, cen-
tralized management program,” Toombs
explains. “This option means facilities won’t
Healthtrust helps facilities
realize benefits in prioritizing
hospital waste reduction
>> Establish a baseline for waste generation
and track performance. Organizing a
waste minimization committee can also
enhance performance accountability.
>> Coordinate waste contracts (talk to your
HealthTrust account manager) to maxi-
mize your waste program performance.
>> Switch to reusable sharps containers
and convert to rigid reusable sterilization
>> Enhance your facility’s recycling pro-
gram. You might start by implementing
recycling for fluorescent lighting or
facilitywide battery usage.
>> Maintain mercury-free policies
throughout your organization.
>> Investigate a program to reprocess
approved single-use devices.
>> Reduce paper usage and investigate
more sustainable printing practices.
implementation. The site includes resources and
tools such as design templates and case studies.
Your HealthTrust account manager can help
you find the contracted supplier resources you
need for many of these projects.
Giving the Green Light to Better Waste Management
The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals has
developed a list of performance improvement measures to help make a facility more
sustainable in the categories of energy, water, waste, supply chain and chemical use. The
measures include what AHA calls “green light strategies”—programs that are easy to start
and produce a positive ROI, particularly when implemented system-wide. Here are some of
their green light suggestions for waste management:
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