Stericycle Reduces Waste in the OR and Beyond

By Nancy E. Berry on October 3, 2012

The health care services company, Stericycle, offers a multitude of services to help hospitals reduce their environmental impact. Its Sharps Management Service features Bio Systems reusable containers; the service has prevented more than 118 million plastic containers from ending up in landfills. Its Pharmaceutical Waste Compliance programs help hundreds of hospitals, medical offices, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers properly dispose of drugs so that they don’t end up in lakes and streams.

What the Hospitals Say

"We turned to Stericycle for all of our sustainability needs, " says Brad Thompson, Director of Hospital Safety & Security at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. "It’s basically a one-stop shop and has streamlined our process. " Thompson explains that the hospital’s goal is to reduce its waste by 10 percent in 2012, and the numbers are proving that the hospital will meet its goal. Through the use of Stericycle’s services, the hospital is eliminating the emission of 54,791 pounds of carbon into the air and preventing 94,021 pounds of plastic and 3,964 pounds of cardboard from being sent to landfills. "Stericycle trains employees in the new processes—that education has been an invaluable tool in helping change our hospital’s culture, " notes Thompson.

"At New York Hospital Queens, we don’t have a lot of extra space for recycling, sorting, and storing, " says Vito Cassata, Vice President of General Services and Facilities Planning for the hospital. "We’re in Flushing, which is a great neighborhood, and we want to be a good neighbor. " Cassata states that the hospital turned to Stericycle for single-source waste management and today annually diverts 34,203 pounds of carbon emissions by preventing 7,000 pounds of plastic and 4,500 pounds of cardboard from being sent to local landfills from its reusable sharps containers. The hospital’s overall product recycling (of confidential documents, plastics, aluminum and steel, glass, cardboard, etc.) is 19.7 percent a month of its total waste stream. The hospital has decreased food-related waste by using a Biodigester, which reduces waste in food services. "Our goal is to reach the best practice of 25 percent of total waste reduction, " points out Cassata, and he believes the hospital is well on its way with Stericycle.

St. David’s HealthCare system is one of the leading health care providers in central Texas. The system has six hospitals and is currently planning to divert 53,842 pounds of carbon by not sending 90,743 pounds of plastic and 821,520 pounds of cardboard and mixed recycling to local landfills annually. St. David’s recently began a composting initiative—for paper, food, eco-friendly products, and yard debris waste—throughout the facilities, which will divert up to 35 percent of the municipal solid waste. Jim Posey, Director of Hospitality Services at St. David’s Medical Center, comments, "The center’s goal was to go to a single waste stream initiative. Before we started working with Stericycle, our process was splintered, so it was hard to track what was being recycled and what wasn’t. We’re committed to doing the right thing, which includes reducing waste that might end up in a landfill, so last month we started a composting program in the cafeteria. We have a shadow box showing what goes into each receptacle in the cafeteria, " Posey notes, "You need to make it easy for staff, but it’s important to educate them on the process—Stericycle has been a great support that way. "