Recycling is one of the first ways our member hospitals look to implement or improve waste reduction. Many hospitals with active recycling programs have used Practice Greenhealth tools to recycle as much as 30 percent of their total waste across two main categories.
- Solid waste recyclables
- Confidential paper, mixed office paper, mixed plastics, corrugated boxes, glass and steel cans
- Costs for this waste stream are often offset or completely covered by rebates and the sale of recycled materials.
- Paper and corrugated cardboard recycling alone can reduce waste by 10 percent or more.
- Universal waste recyclables
- Fluorescent lamps, batteries, some electronics, mercury-containing equipment
- Separation and recycling of universal waste is a way for hospitals to reduce their hazardous waste removal and disposal costs.
Mayo Clinic Rochester sorts and recycles 46 different waste streams across three hospitals in its own recycling center, shredding five semi-truckloads worth of material each month and earning substantial recyclable rebates that reduce waste costs.
Focusing on waste prevention is the best strategy for reducing waste, but many health organizations have also successfully improved their recycling programs by:
- Checking with regional vendors to understand all recycling opportunities.
- Ensuring commingled material has a market and if not, pare down recycling to ensure quality material, rather than sending it to a landfill as trash.
Practice Greenhealth offers tools, resources, and case studies to help our members assess the best ways to recycle both solid and universal waste. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that will make it simpler for any hospital with recycling goals to design, implement, and measure the success of their efforts.