Study: Hospitals Could Save Billions Using Green Practices

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Hospitals could save $15 billion over ten years by recycling and using other green practices, according to a new study.

Recycling and reusing medical products isn’t just the environmentally friendly way to perform hospital care – it actually makes financial sense.

A little extra recycling effort could mean huge financial savings over the next few years, according to a newly released University of Illinois-Chicago study.

By recycling and reducing common wasteful practices, the industry could save $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion in ten years, according to the report. Areas hospitals can reduce waste include recycling, efficient purchasing of common operating room supplies, operating with better waste segregation and choosing reprocessed operating devices over single-use tools.

The changes would cost very little to implement – it’s simply about changing habits, lead author of the report, Susan Kaplan, told Waste & Recycling News. Using these principles, hospitals can save anywhere from 50 cents to $2.50 a day per patient, or even as high as $57 per surgical procedure.

The cost associated with medical waste isn’t just how many one-time-use tools are used from day to day. Hospital waste is thrown in with regular waste. Since medical waste is more expensive to properly dispose of, lumping normal waste in with it can cause disposal rates to skyrocket.

Savings can begin as soon as these guidelines are implemented, with minimal cost to the hospital, according to the study.

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