Stanford Hospital clinical recycling study reveals 75% cost savings

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 24, 2014

Stanford Hospital & Clinics and the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council have concluded a six-month pilot study that analyzes data related to recyclable material types, volumes and flow through nine hospital departments, as well as documents clinical recycling processes and lessons learned.

The study developed comprehensive waste profiles across procedural, patient care and ancillary areas including operating room, ambulatory surgery, cardiac cath lab, interventional radiology, pre- and post-anesthesia, pharmacy and radiology at Stanford, according to an article on the Medical Construction & Design magazine website.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Palo Alto, Calif, clinical recycling program will divert more than 110 tons of non-infectious packaging material from landfill annually, with plastics representing nearly 70 percent of that material. This will add an additional 9 percent of diversion to its 2012 diversion of 2,846 tons, the article said. The recycling collection offered a 75 percent cost savings compared to municipal waste collection. 

“We set out to gain a better understanding of plastic waste characterization within healthcare facilities and  we now have detailed insight and process recommendations for efficient, high-quality and cost-effective recycling of plastics. The results of this pilot will provide experience-based guidance to other hospitals seeking to establish a plastics recycling program in clinical settings,” Tod Christenson, director of HPRC, said in the article. 

“Clinical recycling is an important part of our overall sustainable waste management strategy here at Stanford. We will continue to expand our recycling efforts throughout our hospital and clinics using the data collected during this study to estimate diversion targets, inform planning and rollout strategies and drive program improvements," Krisanne Hanson, director of sustainability, Stanford Hospital & Clinics’ and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, said. 

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