In the News
Operating rooms (ORs) generate as much as a third of all hospital waste. An analysis of 65 studies has uncovered practical ways to reduce waste and costs in the OR. Biohazard waste requires high-energy processing or costly disposal, yet as much as 85% of waste tossed into biohazard containers is nonhazardous; careful sorting reduced by half the amount of biohazard waste and saved $89,000 at one Pennsylvania hospital. Switching from single-use to reusable gowns and linens reduced another medical center's waste by 138,748 lbs. and saved $38,000 in hauling costs. The blue sterile wrap that covers surgical instruments makes up 19% of OR solid waste, and a Massachusetts hospital decreased its solid waste by 5,606 lbs. and saved the facility $29,843 by switching to reusable metal cases. These examples show that green OR practices “are easily implemented, require low capital investment, have a short payback period, and can generate substantial cost savings,” write the authors in a report published online June 11 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.