Friday, March 30, 2007

Green Regs and Ham

The Making of a Green Hospital (cont. from 3/16)

Despite prior failures of recycling programs, the hospital was now committed to recycling as its first green initiative. From my understanding, prior failure with recycling was related to a number of factors ranging from poor compliance to contractual problems. Employees of the hospital were either not attempting to recycle, or placing items in the wrong bins. The result was continuous loads of material that were considered tainted and hauled away by the company at a huge expense. The contract with this vendor stated that if loads were contaminated (such as plastic in a load of paper) the whole load would be rejected and the hospital would be charged a fee. Furthermore, the vendor was picking up materials at various locations throughout the hospital and charging extra for each individual stop. In the end the program was abandoned because of the considerable cost.

As the Green Committee began developing a plan, we hoped to learn from our previous experience. We laid out a number of action items to maximize our success with the new recycling program.

1.Solicit proposals from recycling vendors and negotiate a contract
2.Establish a marketing campaign to encourage employees to participate
3.Post signage to promote compliance with proper procedures for recycling
4.Acquire recycling receptacles to place within the hospital
5.Modify nursing stations and office spaces to accommodate receptacles
6.Train Environmental Services Department to properly dispose of recyclable material
7.Ensure protection of patient sensitive material during the handling of paper waste
8.Establish a central location for the storage, sorting and pick-up of recyclable material

Stay tuned in 2 weeks for the next installment of The Making of a Green Hospital.

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