Greening the OR

For most hospitals, the benefits of “going green” in the operating room are considerable: reductions in energy and water use, a reduction in staff exposure to toxic chemicals, increased patient and staff safety and a much-reduced impact on the environment.

The average hospital operating room generates between 20% -30% of a hospital's overall waste. Much of the waste in the OR is disposed of as regular medical waste, which costs 10 to 15 times more in disposal fees than regular waste.

Waste Separation and Recycling
The Neptune Waste Management System
Reducing and Reusing in the OR


Waste Separation and Recycling


To reduce its OR waste stream Sinai Hospital has implemented waste separation and recycling procedures for:
  • Blue wrap (a polypropylene plastic product that is used as a sterile protective cover to wrap and store sterilized instruments and trays)
  • Red bags (bags for infectious or hazardous material)
  • Clear bags (bags for non-infectious waste) 
  • All other plastics
Blue Wrap Bin
Since September 2008 the OR has recycled over 20, 260 pounds of blue wrap.

Non Confidential Paper Recycling
That averages to 675 pounds of blue wrap per month.

Non Confidential Paper Recycling
The OR also has non-confidential paper recycling containers.

Can and Bottle Recycling Bin
As well as recycling bins for cans and bottles.
 

The Neptune Waste Management System


One amazing green feature of the OR is the implementation of the Neptune Waste Management System. This is a self-cleaning, closed system that collects surgical waste fluid.

The benefits of using the Neptune system are:
  • It minimizes human contact with hazardous and infectious fluids.
  • It reduces solid waste disposal costs.
  • It reduces the amount of time needed to turn over rooms.
  • It reduces red bag waste by 86%.


Neptune System
The Neptune system.
Neptune System Machine
The system has one small disposal part.
Neptune Waste Management
Every full fluid Neptune manifold (valve) can replace up to seven full fluid canisters.

 


Reducing and Reusing in the OR


One simple way that an operating room can reduce waste and save in overall costs is to reuse items. According to an article in Medccape Today, "A hospital that used reusable operating room attire saved $152,000 adjusting for inflation compared with another hospital that used disposable scrub suits and gowns." With adequate cleaning and sterilization many items in the OR can be reused several times.

 Reusing in the OR
Certain areas in Sinai's OR use reusable gowns, back table covers, towels and basins.