An article about “greening” the operating room looked to UMMC for advice in the June issue of OR Manager. The article, written by Cynthia Saver of Columbia, Maryland, examined environmentally sustainable practices that can be fairly simple to implement at a health care facility – and can save money, too. It’s all about the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.
There are three areas where waste can be reduced in the OR: regulated medical waste (RMW), unused supplies and energy. Up to 90% of what gets thrown out as RMW doesn’t need to be thrown into the red bag: unless contaminated by body fluids, masks, suction tubes and IV bags aren’t biohazardous. Using energy efficient lighting, heating, and sterilizing can have a big impact, as well.
According to Saver, “Reusing surgical gowns, drapes, table covers, and other items significantly reduces waste. UMMC contracts with a reprocessing firm that picks up, cleans, and returns the materials.” Sharps containers can also be reused – UMMC saved $70,000 a year this way.
Blue wrap and medical plastics are both recyclable, and UMMC donated unused medical supplies to the medical school.
There’s so much more in this article to spark ideas about how to save money in and reduce the environmental impact of the operating room – click the link to keep reading!