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checkDevelop and/or enhance the facility’s recycling program.

All PIM content was independently developed and reviewed to be vendor-, product-, and service provider-neutral.


  • Develop and/or enhance a comprehensive, fiscally sound recycling program that is incorporated into all departments, enhances regulatory compliance, reduces waste volumes and offsets emissions associated with solid waste disposal.
  • Project Talking Points

    • A 15-20% facility recycle rate can be achieve by just implementing a basic cardboard and paper recycling program and a comprehensive recycling program can achieve recycle rates upwards of 45%.
    • Numerous markets now offer single stream recycling as an alternative approach to multi-stream recycling. Single stream recycling allows the hospital to co-mingle all recyclable materials into one container, simplifying the recycling process, minimizing space requirements both within the hospital and on the trash dock, reducing staff sorting time and potentially increasing recycle rates.
    • Typical recyclable materials include: cardboard, boxboard, paper, plastics, newspaper, magazines, books, metals, glass, blue wrap, etc. Check with your local recycling vendor to obtain a detailed list of what’s recyclable and what’s not recyclable.
    • Depending on the market, rebates exist for cardboard and paper. Work with your vendor to ensure rebates are being maximized.  
    • Recycling is a community expectation. Staff and patients recycle at home and have expectations that their “community” hospital will do the same.
    • A recycling program is a very effective staff engagement program, as staff generate waste each day and are keen to the recycling opportunities.
  • Triple Bottom Line Benefits

    • Cost benefits– Recycling typically yields a reduction in waste stream expenses and rebates are also offered, increasing the financial viability of recycling.
    • Environmental benefits – The recycling of materials extends the useful life of a product or material, reduces GHG emissions associated with solid waste disposal and decreases the landfilling and incineration of products and materials.
    • Social benefits – Recycling engages staff and the community and supports economic growth.
    • Quality and outcomes - Metrics are in development. If you have suggestions, please  contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • Purchasing Considerations

    If you have suggestions for purchasing considerations, or suggested sample contract language for any product or contracted service, please participate in the discussion below.

  • How-To

    1. Determine the facility’s current percentage of waste stream make-up, specifically the current recycle rate. This can be accomplished by partnering with your waste stream vendors to conduct an invoice review. Once determined, this will provide you with a baseline from which goals and actions plans can be developed. For additional information see conduct a waste assessment PIM.  
    2. Determine a tracking and reporting tool that can be utilized to establish the facility’s waste stream baseline and measure progress. See Establish baseline for current waste generation and program for ongoing waste metrics reporting PIM for additional information.
    3. Identify a recycling vendor and define pickup logistics, reporting requirements, etc. It will also be important to have clear communication between your facility and the vendor regarding any contamination issues, such as sharps, confidential materials and RMW that end up in the recycle stream. See the contracting specification above for detailed information on how to maximize your program through vendor leveraging.
    4. Conduct a facility walkthrough for a visual inspection of waste disposal practices and process. During the walkthrough:
    • Determine recycle container placement.
    • Document the removal of unnecessary trash containers.
    • Evaluate how the recycle collection process could integrate into existing waste collection routes i.e. RMW, trash route.
    • Educate employees regarding the upcoming recycle program.
    • Identify recycle champions along the way that could act as ambassadors once the program is launched.

    For additional information on conducting a facility walkthrough see conduct a waste assessment PIM.

    1. Determine facility contacts, such as department managers and decision makers that can assist with education, communication and staff engagement.
    2. Conduct a cost analysis to determine the recycle program ROI. When conducting the analysis be sure to include:
    • Start-up costs (recycle containers, compactor, stickers, posters, etc.)
    • Annual recycle costs (recycle service, recycle bags, etc.)
    • Solid waste cost savings (landfill/incinerator diversion)
    • Recycle rebates (cardboard & paper)
    1. Partner with Environmental Services to define the recycle collection process. As previously mentioned, integrating the recycle collection process into an existing waste collection route will be most efficient. Also, determine responsibility for on-going recycle container ordering and placement.
    2. Develop an education, training and communication plan that includes approaches such as train the trainer, departmental presentations, friendly competitions amongst departments, emails, newsletters, posters, etc. It is best to utilize the facility’s existing communication vehicles and then develop creative approaches to further reach your intended audiences.
    3. Present and receive senior leadership approval on the recycle plan and ROI analysis.
    4. Order the previously identified recycle containers and materials.
    5. Launch the recycle program in conjunction with the education, training and communication efforts.
    6. Develop a continuous improvement process that includes:
    • Conducting regular rounds/audits.
    • Educating and training staff when appropriate.
    • Developing a feedback process with Environmental Services to continually identify improvement opportunities.
    • Creating a reporting process to share progress with staff and leadership.
    • Continually identifying additional recyclable materials by conducting market research and working with your recycling vendor and GPO.  
  • Tools

    If you have an ROI tool, calculator, or similar resources to share, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • Case Studies

  • Regulations, Codes and Standards, Policies

  • Cross References: LEED

    LEED 2009 For Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance

    • Materials & Resources Credit 6: Solid Waste Management: Waste Stream Audit

    LEED 2009 for Healthcare New Construction & Major Renovations

    • Materials & Resources Prerequisite 1: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
  • Cross References: GGHC

    GGHC Construction

    • Materials & Resources Prerequisite 1: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
    • Waste Management Prerequisite 1: Waste Stream Audit
    • Waste Management Credit 1.1-1.3: Total Waste Reduction: 15-35%
  • PIM Synergies

  • Education Resources

    If you have any information or resources to contribute, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • More Resources

  • PIM Descriptors


    Level: Beginner

    Category List:

    • Operations
    • Recycling
    • WASTE

    PIM Attributes:

    • Measurement and Reporting
    • Optimize Operations
    • Waste Reduction

    Improvement Type:

    • Recycling


    • Environmental Services
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