Establish a waste minimization committee.
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A waste management committee assesses and develops programs, policies and goals that focus on waste management and minimization. The committee should include representatives from the numerous departments that impact waste management within the facility. The committee is responsible for determining the waste-related programs to implement within the facility and assumes accountability for attaining pre-defined goals.
Project Talking Points
- Across the range of commercial and industrial sectors, healthcare facilities, particularly hospitals, generate one of the most diverse and difficult waste streams to manage. Over 5.9 million tons are produced annually by hospitals. In addition to the usual types of solid waste, a typical hospital generates a variety of hazardous, infectious, and radioactive wastes, sometimes separated into manageable streams, sometimes unavoidably mixed. Moreover, while industrial facilities can generally control and train the personnel who might come in contact with the waste they handle, hospitals must remain open to a constant stream of patients, visitors, and others, whose well-being must be safeguarded.
- The waste management committee (WMC) will be a subcommittee of the larger hospital green team and will be responsible for assessing and developing programs, policies and goals that focus on waste management and minimization.
- The WMC should work closely and openly with other hospital committees such as the Value Analysis Team, Safety Committee, Hazardous Materials Committee, etc. as the goals of each group may strongly align and these teams may have already conducted due diligence on some of the waste management/minimization goals.
Triple Bottom Line Benefits
- Cost benefits– establishing a WMC can result in significant cost savings for your facility or healthcare system. The WMC will identify and implement projects such as a recycling program and RMW reduction program that will reduce overall waste stream expenses and provide rebates back to the hospital.
- Environmental benefits – forming a WMC will have a positive environmental impact as the hospital makes changes in waste practice and policy that result in reduced waste volumes.
- Social benefits – Similarly, a WMC will positively affect patient and occupational safety as waste management practices/processes are improved and waste is disposed of properly. Public perception and satisfaction will also rise as your facility promotes that it is taking its staff and patients safety seriously by creating a WMC to improve performance through better waste management.
- Identify a leader for the committee. Whether self-selected, elected, or appointed, this will be the point person for questions and the individual who will be accountable for the WMC’s progress.
- Identify key stakeholders as champions – a multi-disciplinary team with interested representatives from nursing, environmental services, facility management, food service, OR, infection control, and communications, the latter of whom can help educate employees about waste management/minimization efforts as well as publicize the programs successes.
- Create a WMC team charter that defines the team’s purpose, roles and responsibilities, scope/boundaries, citizen/participation requirements and goals and measures.
- Get buy in from the top, and keep them apprised of the committees meeting schedule and activities.
- Establish a meeting schedule that takes into account members’ busy schedules and limited time. Consider “brown bag lunch” meetings with drinks and dessert provided to make it as convenient and easy as possible for people to fit in to their day.
- Ensure goals are clear, specific, and measurable with periodic reportable evaluations.
- Prioritize activities that are consistent with your waste management policy.
- Use the Roadmap’s GreenLight Projects to help prioritize the low hanging fruit opportunities.
- “Publicize, promote, and celebrate” wins.
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- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA “Best Practices,” The Health Care Improvement Foundation.
- Strategic Operations
- Waste Reduction
- Waste Minimization
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