Healthcare organizations play a critical role in protecting the well-being of communities. A key element of this effort involves protecting the health of the environment. The healthcare sector is a major waste generator, with hospitals producing more than 5 million tons of waste annually. Specifically, some estimates indicate that the average hospital produces approximately 29 pounds of waste per bed per day.
One area where healthcare organizations can help reduce their environmental impact and help meet their sustainability goals is proper regulated waste management. Managing multiple regulated waste streams can be complex – different departments generate multiple waste streams that must be handled and disposed of in specific ways. To help ensure that healthcare facilities stay compliant, healthcare staff must understand when and how to segregate waste. Improper waste segregation could impact sustainability efforts and also drive up costs.
An integrated approach to waste management can help organizations achieve their sustainability, compliance, and cost containment goals. Using multiple waste vendors can increase workload for Environmental Services (EVS) staff and create process and cost inefficiencies. An organization can simplify and optimize its regulated waste program by working with one partner that incorporates a holistic approach across all regulated waste streams. A trusted partner can measure the total waste stream mix and volumes over time, identifying data-driven improvements that organizations can implement.
Stericycle can help healthcare facilities streamline their waste management program with its Integrated Waste Stream Solutions (IWSS) Service. This is a single-source option that offers:
- On-site partnership, with Stericycle technicians assisting with waste container management
- Education and continuous improvement resources, from in-person training sessions to online tools
- Custom analytics and reporting with an analysis that identifies continuous improvement and progress toward an organization’s sustainability goals
Learn more about how Stericycle can help your organization meet its sustainability goals with an integrated waste management solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the impact of healthcare waste on the environment?
According to Practice Greenhealth, the average U.S. hospital generates an estimated 29 pounds of waste per bed per day. A thoughtfully designed waste program is critical to managing and ultimately reducing a hospital's waste output. Waste management practices can have a positive impact on the environment. For example, in 2022, Stericycle helped our customers divert 101 million pounds of plastics from landfills through the use of reusable sharps waste and pharmaceutical waste containers rather than single-use containers. Stericycle also incinerated 38 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste prior to disposal, helping to keep active pharmaceutical ingredients out of waterways.
How can an integrated approach to waste management help healthcare organizations achieve sustainability, compliance, and cost containment goals?
Our team works with you to identify a waste management program aligned with your needs. As a Stericycle customer, your Integrated Waste Stream Solutions service encompasses support for your team with regulated waste management-related training, compliance resources, and regularly-scheduled program reviews to help identify opportunities to contain costs, reduce inefficiencies, and integrate sustainable practices.
What education and continuous improvement resources does Stericycle offer for waste management?
Stericycle offers various training options – including in-person and on-demand options via MyStericycle.com. Facilities are provided with posters for ongoing staff onboarding and process support at the point of disposal. Stericycle provides online and physical assets to support employees with proper segregation, which helps minimize waste program costs and increase compliance.