03 April 2018

Going Green: Making it Part of the Culture

Organizations that fully embrace an environmentally-conscious mindset can go a long way toward achieving sustainability. There are some easy steps to prioritize this effort.

Becoming a sustainable organization takes more than just a commitment to recycling—healthcare providers must weave the concept into the fiber of daily operations, making it a key part of the culture. Not only is this commitment essential for preserving the organization’s environmental surroundings but also to promote patient and staff safety and deliver better patient care. While there are many ways to incorporate sustainable practices into day-to-day operations, here are three easy strategies to consider.

Use energy efficient light bulbs
While consumers have started using these kinds of bulbs in their homes, many may not think about the opportunity to use energy-efficient lighting in the work place. Taking the time to replace all incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient LED ones can save money—because they use less energy meaning they cost less to operate—and also preserve the environment. Organizations can take these efforts a step further and install motion-sensing lights that turn on and off when people enter or exit the room. At Stericycle, we use these types of lights in our waste treatment facilities, promoting sustainability on the plant floor.

Turn off lights and water when not in use
Although this may seem obvious, it’s easy for staff to forget this critical task in the rush of delivering patient care. Yet, if the action becomes habit, where muscle memory kicks in and staff members automatically perform this simple task each and every time, it can have a substantial impact. Education and training as well as prominent signage can help make this routine—staff should feel empowered to remind each other to turn things off when not in use.

Establish a recycle program
To make the shift to a green mindset, organizations may want to consider creating a committee that takes charge of environmental efforts. This team can conduct an audit to determine where the organization can better reuse and recycle. Perhaps the facility can reduce the use of plastic utensils in the cafeteria, change purchasing policies to focus on items that include recycled materials or evaluate and tweak current waste management policies to make them more ecologically friendly. The committee can also provide education and training to staff and position recycle containers at convenient locations to make it easier to consistently waste responsibly.

Although a committee can launch the work toward greater sustainability, ultimately, every member of your staff should be part of the “green team” and committed to preserving the environment. For more information about how Stericycle can help your organization embed sustainability into the overall culture, call 855-602-6279.

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