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Martin Murray

Medical Recycling

By December 21, 2012

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Recycling to save Recycling in the medical field does not sound like the best way to save money, but in fact hospitals and medical facilities are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars because they have poor procedures of disposing waste. A report from the University of Illinois-Chicago found that the medical industry could save $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion in ten years by reducing common wasteful practices. The issue for medical facilities is that it is expensive to dispose of medical waste. But often staff mistakenly throws out regular waste with medical waste which will inevitably cost the facilities far more to dispose of this combined waste.

If the procedures were tightened to keep medical waste to a minimum, while regular waste is disposed of separately, the costs would be far less. The report author indicated that by implementing simple and zero-cost processes this could save from 50 cents to $2.50 a day per patient, or as much as $57 per surgical procedure.

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Comments

December 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm
(1) Lillie Figueroa says:

Good idea, I think that hospital workers are not told what can be recycled and what cannot. I imagine that they think everything is medical waste and it is not really.

December 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm
(2) Leo Rose says:

I am unclear as to what recycled material a hospital has that it disposes of. A lot of “equipment” and “supplies” are used on a patient or during an operation, so that cannot be recycled. Are we talking the recycling of material not used on a patient, and what exactly would that be?

December 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm
(3) Amy Morris says:

Recycling is great, but what exactly is medical recycling. I imagine is the recycling of items that are used but can be recycled AND not covered in biologicals. Hopefully.

December 29, 2012 at 1:52 am
(4) Col Orellana says:

Excellent point. I wonder how many hospitals actually teach their staff to separate the medical waste from stuff that can be recycled. I doubt if it is that many.

December 29, 2012 at 4:23 am
(5) K. Michieka says:

Here in Kenya this is a big problem. Medical waste is expensive to dispose of properly, so no facilities do it. They tend to burn everything, when a lot could be recycled, but it is not.

December 29, 2012 at 9:19 am
(6) Jon Harold says:

Medical waste is a problem and that is why it is so expensive for hospitals. However many “sub-par” facilities just dump medical waste in the normal trash and get away with it until it ends up as hazardous waste at a landfill.

December 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm
(7) Robert G Singh says:

I am not sure if hospitals can get their staff to distinguish between medical waste and material that can be recycled. I bet they could save a ton of cash.

December 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm
(8) Janet Faub says:

I am not sure how it is possible to figure out what is medical waste and what is non-medical recyclable and non-medical non-recyclable. Hospital workers could spend a ton of time trying to determine what it what.

December 31, 2012 at 3:17 am
(9) Craig Jones says:

The idea sounds very good. It is quiet possible that if medical staff are trained to determine the correct material for recycling the facility can save significant money thru recycling.

January 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm
(10) Terry Hall says:

Sounds like a great way to save money! Training the staff is critical now days!! Hope this will lower our health costs!

January 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm
(11) Abdul Basit Zalmay says:

If agree exactly with other friends, and add up that hospital is not like a coffee shop, restaurant or regular manufacturing plant or supermarket, I saw many hospitals where their is so much of walk in-traffic of patients, emergencies, Medical OPD’s & surgical ops throughout the day, the staff is not even relaxed at any time of the day. and their is lots of recycling material is used, though it can be achieved through extensive staff training,and by placing separators in each & every place that marked for recycle and non-recyclable, though the material usage over patients may not be exactly determined except regular check ups but recycling quantity figures and HSSE standards can be achieved.

January 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm
(12) Dave McDonald says:

The idea of medical recycling sounds like a horror movie but I understand that a lot of equipment that is not tainted in blood and whatever is viable for recycling and should not be put into the same “bucket” as medical waste that is very expensive to dispose of.

January 6, 2013 at 3:02 am
(13) Vivienne Lamont says:

Hospitals are bad a recycling anything, I am not sure the busy nurses and staff will have time to examine every tube or gauze to see if it is medical or regular waste. Perhaps it would be easier if companies came up with a cheaper way of disposing of medical waste.

January 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm
(14) Nigel Fellingham says:

The British National Health Service (NHS) would benefit enormously by this type of process change. Medical waste is very expensive to dispose of and it would be a significant change to the way in which things are done to get staff to identify items as they are disposed of. However if this can be overcome the NHS could save millions of pounds each year based on this “recycling” scenario.

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