Operating rooms generate as much as 60 percent of a hospital’s regulated, or "red bag," medical waste. Regulated medical waste is among the most heavily regulated and expensive waste streams to dispose of, in part because of the hazard it poses to people and the environment if improperly handled.
Virtually all waste generated during case setup is sterile and can be safely recycled. Working with infection control and environmental services to ensure applicable regulated medical waste definitions are clear and followed can be a game changer. When properly sorted, a significant portion of waste generated during and after a procedure can actually be processed as municipal solid waste or recycling rather than regulated medical waste.
Inova Fairfax Hospital reduced their regulated medical waste by nearly 20 percent through enhanced segregation.
Assessing operating room waste and putting strategies in place to help OR teams efficiently identify and appropriately separate true regulated medical waste results in significant reductions in regulated waste outputs and disposal costs.
Practice Greenhealth offers tools and resources that help our members streamline operating room waste disposal. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that make it simpler for any hospital to design, implement, and measure the success of these efforts while maintaining patient safety and high-quality care in the operating room.
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