Operating room waste is categorized as noncontaminated solid waste (SW) and regulated medical waste (RMW). RMW is treated by autoclaving at an increased economic and environmental cost. We evaluated these costs with a focus on the disposable carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbers. At our institution, exhausted CO2 absorbers were discarded as RMW. We collaborated with product representatives, anesthesia and perioperative staff, and waste management personnel to identify opportunities and barriers for recycling and waste reduction. Ultimately, we agreed to discard CO2 absorbers as SW instead of RMW, a strategy that is practical, less expensive, and more environmentally appropriate.
From the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California.
Accepted for publication September 9, 2019.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Address correspondence to Mark A. Burbridge, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Address e-mail to email@example.com.