According to the American Hospital Association’s guide, Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals, healthcare facilities generate up to 25 pounds of waste per day per patient. What if we made a goal to lessen waste by thinking green from the very beginning, during the planning and purchasing stage?
Get the Lead Out
Lead is a word that instills fear in people's hearts. For years, we have been told lead is toxic. We check our homes for lead paint and change our pipes to keep lead contaminants out of our water source. However, we still find lead in the one place it seems it shouldn’t live, healthcare facilities. Yes, adequately maintained materials containing lead have minimal exposure risk to patients, but what happens when those products meet the end of their usefulness and are thrown away, or hopefully recycled? Where does that lead go, and what is the environmental impact?
Companies have asked themselves that very question. Their conclusion was simple; what if we offer lead-free products?
Wolf X-Ray offers a no lead material x-ray protective apron. While the industry continues to provide standard lead, lead-free, and light lead options for protective aprons, the universal issue is their eventual disposal.
The average age for an apron is 5-7 years, and once it has been deemed no longer acceptable for protection, special hazardous disposal needs to occur. Wolf X-Ray no lead aprons provide the same protection as lead, but do not contain the dangerous material and therefore there is no need to pay a special hauler to remove aprons from the facility.
Infab is also on board with providing no lead options for radiation protection. The company has done it’s part for green initiatives by providing a lead-free protective material called KIARMOR. According to the manufacturer, KIARMOR happens to be the only lead-free material that passes all three universally recognized testing procedures (ASTM F3094-14, IEC 61331-1:2014, DIN 6857-1) and is certified by the National Physical Laboratory for use by interventional radiologists, cardiologists and healthcare professionals working with radiation in hospitals worldwide.
Mitigating Mercury Risk
Mercury spills require proper cleanup and disposal, which puts both patient and staff at risk for exposure. The acceptance of digital thermometers has helped reduce patient exposure to mercury mishaps, but what about less distinct sources of risk?
Sphygmomanometers, or blood pressure cuffs, may contain mercury. American Diagnostic Corporation has developed mercury exchange and recycling programs to help replace older mercurial sphygmomanometers with new, mercury-free aneroid models. American Diagnostic will also provide the necessary packaging to safely ship the older devices to a mercury recycling facility so that this material is responsibly removed from the environment.
Rechargeable when Available
Americans throw away an estimated 179,000 tons of batteries every year. Out of that total, 14,000 tons were rechargeable. We can do better.
Newman Medical is proud to share the details of their Smart Charge systems, now found in their DigiDop line of dopplers. This battery system completes a usable charge in only 15 minutes, with a potential recharge expectancy of over 2000 charges. The batteries are covered under Newman Medical’s five-year parts and labor warranty.
In the event an alkaline battery is placed in the unit, the Smart Charge system will automatically detect the change in the power source and shut off, eliminating battery melting and the potential destruction of the Doppler.
Rechargeables eliminate harmful waste to the environment while saving health centers the cost and worry of replacing batteries. All Newman Medical Doppler’s are available as re-chargeable units (DD-301, DD-701, and DD990R).
Rechargeable or not, eventually batteries will need replacement. A growing number of manufacturers are putting programs in place to help handle the safe and responsible disposal of battery and electronic waste.
In addition to their mercury program, American Diagnostic Corporation works closely with local community programs to promote the safe disposal and recycling of product batteries and electronic waste. The company actively collects and donates e-waste to charitable causes and works with a program to have their product batteries recycled, removing them from the waste stream.
Reconfigure before Recycling
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are commonplace in green thinking, but what about repurpose? Midmark Synthesis Casework Collection Products are modular by design, allowing them to be moved and reconfigured as workspace changes. This adaptability reduces uninstall projects and a reorder of materials as needs change. You can genuinely meet today’s goals while adapting to the desires of tomorrow.
The collection is steel construction and easily recycled after the completion of its life cycle. All glues used in its construction are water-based, LEED-compliant adhesives, and the powder coat paint process produces little to no waste. All wood materials used in these products are LEED and CARB Phase II compliant.
Completely Recyclable Products
Manufacturers acknowledge that despite every good intention they have, and every durability focused design they’ve placed into their product, nothing lasts forever. At some point, the product will need replacement.
Altus engineers and designers have produced a series of workstation carts intended to minimize material use while maintaining durability and function. The result is a powered cart that is 95% recyclable.
Looking beyond regulatory compliance, Altus evaluates three main focus points for each product model it produces.
- All chemicals in the materials should be specified, and the safest available.
- Products should be easily disassembled and recycled at the end of their usefulness.
- Product may be made of recycled materials that can be recycled at the end of use.
This type of vision is sure to push the marketplace to follow suit.
How CME Can Help
It is forward thinking companies like all those mentioned in this article that will push our industry into an eco-friendly and responsible design, and CME Corp is your gateway to finding all the right solutions for your healthcare facility...
CME represents over 2,000 manufacturers and 2M products. Our offering includes exam room furniture, diagnostic equipment, IT equipment and accessories, wire shelving, appliances, janitorial equipment, casework and much more.
99% of our business is focused on equipment. Our highly-trained equipment specialists will help you find the right product to fit your specific needs.
Check out two of our resources Healthcare-Associated Infections Beyond the ACA and Responsible Eco-Friendly Refrigeration Solutions. For more information about any of our services or products, call us at 800-338-2372 and let us quote your next healthcare equipment project!
With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.