“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 • Waste Reduction – creating as little waste as possible • Inclusive Actions - Activities that protect the environment.
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? • 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 • Facilities Management • Waste Management • Water Management • Operations 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 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 Management Housekeeping • 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 Management Energy Consumption • Use Natural Lighting • Auto on / off Switches • Only Light Areas Being Used • Energy Star Appliances
Waste Management Four Types of Waste in Health Care • Regulated Medical Waste • Plastics / Recyclables • Sharps • Solid Waste
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 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 Management Sharps • 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 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 • 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 • Electronic Health Records • Digitize administrative functions • Reusable instead of disposable • Employee training and retraining • Green Purchasing • Recycled Goods • Lower impact products
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
Even the smallest effort makes a difference and leads to even bigger efforts.
References • 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/
References • Sustainable Hospitals http://www.sustainablehospitals.org/cgi-bin/DB_Index.cgi • Sustainable Sandhills http://www.sustainablesandhills.org/index.html