The operating rooms at all hospitals produce a lot of waste. Case studies have estimated that 20-30 percent of the total waste generated by a hospital comes from the OR.
Christiana Care is producing less waste, thanks to the efforts of perioperative staff members and patient-care coordinators, championed by Debbie Dibert, RN, a member of the Christiana Care’s Environmental Stewardship Committee. Guided by the Greening the OR initiative of Practice Greenhealth, a national organization promoting efficiency through environmental sustainability, the staff are looking to reduce, reuse and recycle waste from Christiana Care’s operating rooms.
“Greening the OR provides direction on how to reduce and prevent waste, buy environmentally friendly products, and change our working space and systems to use less and recycle more,” Dibert says. Right now, Christiana Care operating rooms recycle cardboard, plastics, irrigation bottles, paper and blue wrap. This recyclable waste fills 10 40-gallon bins twice per shift, five days a week—diverting it from landfills.
Christiana Care is one of only 116 hospitals in the world that have signed on to the Greening the OR initiative.
Creating an environmentally conscious work team is key to reducing waste. Operating-room teams encourage each other to suggest ways to reduce waste, improve processes to use less and be proactive in their recycling efforts.
“Staff education is critical to success,” Dibert says.