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Staten Island University Hospital
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Between 1995 and 1998, Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) cut its yearly waste management costs from $1,200,000 to $721,167 by reducing the use of disposable supplies, increasing recycling, and minimizing the improper use and locations of regulated medical waste (RMW) containers. The following chart breaks down the waste stream reductions by type:

REDUCTIONS IN THE HOSPITAL WASTE STREAM

Waste stream

1995 (pounds)

1998 (pounds)

Percent change

Regulated medical waste

1,178,682

344,412

–70.8%

Non-regulated medical waste

5,657,672

4,291,960

–24.1%

Sharps

75,647

58,223

–23.0%

Total waste disposal

6,912,001

4,694,595

–32.1%

Recycling

471,473

495,400

+ 5.1%

Total waste generation

7,383,474

5,189,995

–29.7%


SIUH implemented waste-reducing strategies at their North and South sites and in some of the 28 clinics and other buildings that they maintain. Key aspects included:

  • Staff training. Clinical staff received repeated training on proper waste segregation and use of plastic medical apparatus and sharps containers. SIUH also instructed support services staff on proper container replacement, collection, and replenishment practices.
  • Switching to reusable RMW and sharps containers and minimizing their locations. SIUH removed regulated medical waste (RMW) containers from most patient-care areas. Minimizing RMW container locations resulted in fewer discards of recyclables and non-regulated medical waste (NRMW) into RMW containers.
  • Consolidating all NRMW, RMW, and sharps-container removal services and waste removal supplies to one vendor. This substantially reduced collection costs. The contracted hauler is responsible for all red- and clear-bag purchasing, and controls bag usage. SIUH also installed a 35-cubic-yard bulk RMW container, which reduced labor costs and lowered durable-container replacement costs.
  • Replacing single-use disposable supplies with reusable items. This includes using refillable chemical, lotion, and soap dispensers; switching to reusable patient and operating room gowns, pillows, and underpads; choosing rigid sterilization containers over disposable sterilization covers; reprocessing operating room bowls and instruments; and investing in higher quality operating room drapes to reduce the amount of RMW in surgery.
  • Increasing recycling. SIUH implemented a recycling program in 1991. After they replaced disposable medical waste containers in 1995, SIUH added more recycling containers and conducted additional training on recycling.

Source: NYC WasteLess Business Project findings

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