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“Green” Healthcare. Susan Hawkins Fayetteville Technical Community College. 4 “Green” Principles. Sustainable – can it be maintained long into the future; think long-term not short-term Reclaim or Reuse – products can be used more than once and / or for multiple purposes

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“Green” Healthcare

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Green healthcare

“Green” Healthcare

Susan Hawkins

Fayetteville Technical Community College

4 green principles

4 “Green” Principles

  • Sustainable – can it be maintained long into the future; think long-term not short-term

  • Reclaim or Reuse – products can be used more than once and / or for multiple purposes

  • Waste Reduction – creating as little waste as possible

  • Inclusive Actions - Activities that protect the environment.

Why is green important

Why is “Green” Important

  • Healthier

  • Reduces Pollution

  • Decreases Dependence on Other Countries for Energy

  • Minimal effect on the environment

  • SAVES MONEY!!!!!

Why is green important to health care

Why is “Green” Important to Health Care?

  • Because of their mission, Health Care Facilities often have a much larger impact than other industries

  • To ensure the availability of resources in the future, it is crucial that Health Care facilities practice “Green” wherever possible

  • Proposed legislative changes prevent large expenditures in areas not directly involved in patient care

Green impact areas in health care

“Green” Impact Areas in Health Care

  • Facilities Management

  • Waste Management

  • Water Management

  • Operations Management

Facilities management

Facilities Management

Zero Mercury

  • Making Medicine Mercury Free Initiative

  • Substitute Devices:

    • Thermometers – Galinstan Thermometers

    • Sphygmomanometers – Aneroid and Electric Based

    • Esophageal Dilators – Tungsten Powder in Gel

    • Electrical Switches – Mechanical and Optical Devices

Facilities management1

Facilities Management

Green Building / Remodeling Practices

  • Paints – Water based

  • Sustainable Flooring – Resilient, Healthy, and from easy to harvest sources

  • Building Products – from renewable sources and ensure patient and employee safety

Facilities management2

Facilities Management


  • Ensure minimal use of products

  • Products that are effective and safe for the environment

  • Reduce or eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

  • Ensure level of disinfection is consistent with use; don’t overuse cleaners, but ensure critical areas meet required levels

Facilities management3

Facilities Management

Energy Consumption

  • Use Natural Lighting

  • Auto on / off Switches

  • Only Light Areas Being Used

  • Energy Star Appliances

Waste management

Waste Management

Four Types of Waste in Health Care

  • Regulated Medical Waste

  • Plastics / Recyclables

  • Sharps

  • Solid Waste

Waste management1

Waste Management

Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)

  • Ensure only RMW is contained in RMW containers

  • Provide general purpose containers in areas where RMW containers are

  • Ensure containers are appropriately marked

Waste management2

Waste Management

Plastics / Recyclables

  • Ensure recyclables are not in other trash containers

  • Provide plenty of places for employees, patients, etc. to place plastics and other reusable materials

  • Partner with local waste management companies to recycle goods

  • Educate stakeholders about recycling and associated benefits

Waste management3

Waste Management


  • Reuse sharps containers by partnering with a waste management provider that disposes of sharps without the container

  • Sharps containers made from recycled materials

  • Separate sharps from recyclable items

  • Separate sharps from solid waste

Waste management4

Waste Management

Solid Waste

  • Compost food and other organic / non-infectious waste

  • Develop a comprehensive waste segregation plan to ensure solid waste does not end up as RMW

  • Purchase materials in reduced or recyclable packaging

Water management

Water Management

Water management1

Water Management

  • Use of Low Flow Toilets

  • Rainwater Capture Systems for Landscape Maintenance

  • Auto on / off on all sinks to shut off water when not in use

  • Appliances with Lower water needs such as High Efficiency (HE) Washers

  • Water as requested

Operations management

Operations Management

Operations management1

Operations Management

  • Electronic Health Records

  • Digitize administrative functions

  • Reusable instead of disposable

  • Employee training and retraining

  • Green Purchasing

    • Recycled Goods

    • Lower impact products

Operations management2

Operations Management

  • Embed “Green” practices into every aspect of the organization

  • Make it easy for employees to participate

  • Share the rewards / benefits

  • Publicize the benefits within the organization

Green healthcare

Even the smallest effort makes a difference and leads to even bigger efforts.



  • Environmental News Network http://www.enn.com/lifestyle/article/42531

  • Green Guide http://gghc.org/

  • Green Cleaning Implementation Guide http://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/chemicals/green-cleaning/green-cleaning-policy-development-implementation

  • Practice Greenhealth http://cms.h2e-online.org/about/



  • Sustainable Hospitals http://www.sustainablehospitals.org/cgi-bin/DB_Index.cgi

  • Sustainable Sandhills http://www.sustainablesandhills.org/index.html

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