Resource Library - Waste

General

  • Practice Greenhealth LISTSERV® is a good resource for reaching out to sustainability directors, waste managers, and compliance officers faced with the same challenges you are—trying to figure out the nuances of complicated and/or changing regulations.

  • WasteWise is a voluntary, free partnership program under the auspices of the U.S. EPA through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. The agency provides a free waste management tool and training to members at www.my.re-trac.com.

  • Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program (MNTap) Healthcare Webpage. This site is well worth a visit; although many of the links are Minnesota-specific, the site offers a wide range of fact sheets on P2 and HW minimization that are relevant across the country.
  • Your local resources. Talk to all of your waste vendors about opportunities to improve your programs. Visit local recycling and waste management facilities. Contact your state agency and local recycling committee. Develop a list of organizations that may take donations of miscellaneous items (Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Humane Society, local charities, etc.).
  • AHE Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional program
  • A-Z Waste Guide under the Implementation tab <link to A-Z Guide>
  • EPA report Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases: A Life-Cycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks (May 2002)

Solid Waste

Locally, it is your responsibility to know of ANY limitations (i.e., landfill or incinerator bans) on your solid waste management plan. Some states ban fluorescent lamps from landfills, others ban C&D waste. Visit your disposal facility and get to know the operators and what they can accept.

Construction and Demolition Waste

Local C&D management and recycling programs differ widely. To minimize your C&D and bulky waste, do some research to learn about reusing or donating all usable materials in your area. Signal the marketplace of your interest in recycling C&D materials, and take control of C&D contracts for all construction jobs.

Recyclables

Work with state, county, or local groups to take advantage of local resources. Work with your hauler to do the same. Don't start from scratch. If you cannot find what you're looking for on the Roadmap, reach out to colleagues at other facilities for advice.

Compost

Local composting programs differ widely in terms of services offered. Learn what is available in your area and look for creative solutions, for example, find a local farmer to compost for you or use your food waste for pig food. Signal the marketplace of your interest in composting. Remember to minimize food waste by understanding why your facility has waste in the first place. Also, consider working with local food banks to donate suitable unused food.

Materials for Reuse/Donation

Source reduction is a broad topic that is more a philosophy or process that asks of each product used, how can we impact change in the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials or products (including packaging) to reduce their amount or toxicity before they become municipal solid waste? Sustainable purchasing starts with the preference for durable, reusable products and beneficial reuse programs ensure these materials are reused when they are no longer wanted. Locally, scope opportunities to donate equipment, furniture, supplies, packing peanuts, and so on may be available. Develop a list of medical surplus organizations to work with and a process for preparing materials properly, including enough time for collection and pick-up. For more information, refer to these Roadmap resources:

  • Sample materials and contract language in sustainable purchasing performance improvement measures in the Roadmap Implementation section
  • A-Z Waste Guide 

Regulated Medical Waste

Work with your RMW hauler. Visit the treatment and the final disposal site, if possible. Your hauler should provide you with training and educational materials. Ask for an RMW audit or other services the hauler may offer.

Pharmaceutical Waste

Work with your hazardous waste and/or RMW hauler; either should offer services or at least guidance for disposal of pharmaceutical waste.

Hazardous Chemical Waste

Work with your hazardous waste hauler. Ask about your storage shed organization, labeling, etc. To take advantage of the hauler's experience, you will probably have to ask.

Universal Waste/Recycled Hazardous Waste

Work with your hazardous waste hauler.

Special Wastes

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