Spectrum Health, a Michigan-based nonprofit healthcare system, saved $692,000 through Green the OR, a Practice Greenhealth initiative that focuses on reducing cost, waste and exposure to hazardous chemicals in the operating room.
Around 30 percent of the hospital’s waste comes from its operating room, so reuse and recycling in the OR is a big part of its sustainability program. By diverting 12,145 pounds of single-use devices from the waste stream, the healthcare organization saved $669,000. Sharps containers are reused up to 500 times, resulting in the diversion of 78 tons of waste from landfills. To date, the healthcare organization has recycled and repurposed 75,000 pounds of blue wrap used in the operating room.
As a part of its overall sustainability program, Spectrum reduced CO2 emissions by 135,320 pounds through its sustainable transportation program, which includes carpooling, free bus passes and transitioning six shuttle buses from diesel to propane.
It uses single-stream recycling to capture all recyclable waste, including polystyrene. In 2014, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial eliminated polystyrene from all areas of the hospital.
Spectrum composts food waste, coffee materials, and recycles electronics, batteries and light bulbs. In FY2015, it recycled 59 tons of electronics through employee and community collection events and its responsible electronic recycling program.
As part of its environmentally friendly cleaning program, Spectrum uses microfiber mops and dusters, which require less water and chemicals to clean. A hepa-filtration systems is used in vacuums to filter out a high percentage of airborne particles and improve indoor air quality.
More hospitals are reducing patient and staff exposure to toxins by purchasing and using safer chemicals, according to the 2014 Milestone Report, released by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI).