Getting started: Reducing waste in healthcare

Date:  14 June 2024
A meta-analysis of medical waste in 78 countries found an average of 2.04 kg of healthcare waste is generated per patient per day. Addressing this is crucial for environmental sustainability, as well as for improving public health and generating savings throughout the hospital.

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Here's Cassandra Thiel, President and CEO at Clinically Sustainable Consulting, introducing the Aravind Eye System. She shares insights about optimizing operating rooms to increase access to care and strategies to reduce waste in the operating room.

What is waste in the healthcare sector?

Single use plastics are plastic products intended for one-time use only. In healthcare, these items include:
- syringes and blood sample tubes
- gloves
- facemasks
- surgical gowns
- packaging materials
- disposable medical instruments.

Actions for hospitals

Behaviour changes that promoted patient care while reducing waste

To reduce their annual energy consumption, St Barts and the Royal London Hospital (UK) identified that the best way they could encourage energy savings was by helping their workforce do what they do best – provide excellent clinical care. In a project called “Operation TLC” they linked energy-saving to greater patient safety, comfort and dignity, to encourage turning off equipment when it was not being used, switching off lights at every opportunity and closing doors.

Written by:

Victoria Del Pozo