Health Care P2 Projects 2009
Hospitals and healthcare facilities generate in excess of one percent of all the solid waste in the United States. In addition, hospitals are unique by comparison to other waste producing entities, because they generate such a diverse variety of wastes. A typical healthcare facility waste stream may be comprised of solid, hazardous, radioactive, biological, regulated medical, and other specialized chemical wastes that are ultimately discarded or released to the air, land or water. Another distinct feature of these facilities is the rate of waste generation calculated per hospital patient, which can typically exceed four times that of an average citizen.
Implementing sustainable P2 strategies at healthcare facilities have been shown to yield major benefits, including significantly reducing cost and health and environmental risks.
The hospitals receiving funding are as follows:
- Covenant Medical Center; $24,000
- Northern Michigan Regional Hospital; $20,000
- Otsego Memorial Hospital; $13,655
- War Memorial Hospital; $24,700
Grant Type: Community P2
Focus: Handling of solid, hazardous and universal waste; janitorial and food services;
laundry operations; handling of surgical and pharmaceutical wastes; electronic waste disposal;
composting; heating and cooling; energy and water usage; and environmentally preferred purchasing.
The grant funds promoted the development of a P2 healthcare program. The intent of these programs was for healthcare facilities to implement one or more of the following P2 practices including: reduction of solid, hazardous, universal and medical waste and a method to measure and quantify the reductions; pharmaceutical waste collection programs with a system to document quantities of waste collected; implementation of an environment purchasing program documenting changes in purchasing practices; recycling program and a method to quantify the materials collected and recycled.
Project funds supported staff time to promote program development and implementation.
Some combined environmental benefits and cost savings from these projects included a 4,680 gallon reduction in the use of chemical cleaners and strippers for floor maintenance by replacing them with more environmentally preferred cleaning technology. This also resulted in the conservation of 5,980 gallons/year of water. By purchasing and using reusable instead of disposable surgical gowns, one hospital realized a savings of $1,303/year and reduced their solid waste to landfill by 8,688 pounds. The replacement of conventional lighting with T-5 fixtures and bulbs resulted in one hospitals' estimated savings of $14,204/year in electrical energy use. This hospital also increased their recycling rate to 70% by collecting 21,840 pounds of glass, tin and plastic for recycling.