The Gold in Garbage: Implementing a Waste Segregation and Recycling Initiative

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Abstract

Generally, ORs produce approximately one-fifth to one-third of all waste in a hospital. Before our quality improvement project was performed in our tertiary care facility, all OR waste was disposed of as clinical waste. Disposal of clinical waste is more costly than disposal of general waste. Therefore, accurately segregating waste can have significant financial incentives. Our quality improvement project involved the implementation of processes that segregated general waste in the OR from clinical waste and translated to an almost 60% reduction of waste disposal costs for OR waste. Further, we implemented a recycling program that reclaimed a portion of the general waste. In total, our efforts reduced the amount of clinical waste produced by the OR by 82%, and the amount of total OR waste was reduced by more than 50%.

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