Health Care Waste & Toxics Reduction Tips
for small and medium size health care facilities
Health care facilities conducting sterilization/ reprocessing on-site can benefit from waste reduction and resource efficiency efforts.
Reasons for Change
On average, reprocessed medical devices are 50 percent cheaper than new devices. Over 3,000 hospitals used reprocessed devices every day and their use is supported by the American Hospitals Association (AHA), the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commision for the Accreditation Of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
By assessing and implementing one or more of the practices described here and on the accompanying downloadable table, health care facilities can enjoy:
Opportunities for Action
Specific tips on ways sterilization/reprocessing services can reduce and prevent toxic wastes and resource inefficiencies are listed in this fact sheet’s downloadable/printable table. A sampling of these tips is listed below.
Basic Best Management Practices
Next Steps to Improve Sterilization/Reprocessing Practices
This resource guide’s home page has links to additional fact sheets in this series, plus other useful tools and information from the Washington Department of Ecology and other experts.
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program has an excellent clinic cleaning guideline. It includes tables listing levels of cleaning need for surfaces in patient rooms, exam rooms, operating rooms, dining areas and work stations.
EPA has a case study on reducing ethylene oxide and glutaraldehyde.
The Sustainable Hospitals website has a dedicated page listing a wide variety of alternative sterilization products.
PPRC has a list of sterilizer options, especially for replacing ethylene oxide.
Practice Greenhealth has more information about sterilants, including alternatives.
CDC/NIOSH page on glutaraldehyde occupational hazards.
The CDC/NIOSH resource page on ethylene oxide.
General overview of reprocessing, including some cost-saving data.
Infection Control Today has a recent (04/26/2010) article on reprocessing.
The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors website has good information.
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This information is brought to you by the Washington Department of Ecology/Toxics Reduction Unit with assistance from the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) . June 2010