nity. Little suggests conducting a waste assessment to identify items appropri- ate for recycling. “Reach out to your community recycling

programs to

determine the feasibility of your par- ticipation,” she says. “Obtain recycling containers and start with simple items, such as paper, cardboard and plastics.” Kromm suggests visiting a recycling plant to help identify recyclable OR waste. In her previous position as recy- cling and sustainability chair at another ASC, she met with a plant manager. “I brought in many different examples of items we commonly used in our ORs, and we went over them. Some were pretty cut and dry in terms of recyclabil- ity. Others were less so, such as softer plastics and those that contained dye.” Kromm left that meeting with a

game plan. Concerned that staff might feel overwhelmed with multiple new recycling rules, she simplified the ini- tial efforts at the ASC. “I came back with a list of certain items that were of higher recycling value, such as intra- venous bag exterior wrap. We empha- sized that no matter what, such higher- value plastics needed to be recycled.” The value of plastics depends on

the level of contamination or mixing of medical plastics, says Chris Bodkin, data specialist at Practice Greenhealth. “All plastics are more valuable if there can be a stream of clean, segregated material.” The eco-friendly space continues to

grow in response to consumer demand, Little says. One area that has recently taken off is disposable scopes. “We are seeing more single-use scopes come on the market because of the issues around cleaning these devices,” she says. “While some believe these scopes promote bet- ter patient safety, they, like single-use coffee cups, may create waste. To com- bat this, some device manufacturers have designed their disposable scopes to be 100 percent recycled and partnered with companies that assist facilities in creat- ing a recycling program for the scopes.” Both Kromm and Moyle say one of the best ways for an ASC to build

Greening the OR: The Six Rs of Waste Reduction




PRACTICE GREENHEALTH Source: Practice Greenhealth

Educate everyone who will play a role in your green program’s success. This will likely include your house cleaning staff.”

—Solvei Kromm, RN, Foothills Surgery Center

momentum for its green efforts is to identify a sustainability champion to promote and encourage others to par- ticipate. The champion, says Kromm, should take the lead on providing staff education on the ASC’s projects. “Edu- cate everyone who will play a role in your green program’s success,” she adds. “This will likely include your house cleaning staff.

If they do not

understand the difference between how you are sorting your recycling, all of your hard work will be for naught.” Moyle says that devoting part-time hours to a passionate clinical cham- pion has a proven return on invest- ment and injects enthusiasm and team- building into the process.

Growing Your Program As your green efforts begin to pick up momentum, Moyle suggests ASCs do the following to grow their program: ■

use savings achieved to fund addi- tional sustainability initiatives;

22 ASC FOCUS JUNE/JULY 2020 | ■ ■ ■

dedicate the time and resources needed

to ■ support recommended environmental practices;

provide leadership support of green team meetings and projects with plan- ning and communication resources;

ask vendors to support green goals by helping you identify product substitutions and capture data that shows benefits;

assess opportunities to recycle clean, high-value medical plastics; and

share reports, updates and high- lights with leadership and your community

via public relations

and marketing. For ASCs unsure of how to begin their green OR program, Moyle quotes Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kell- ner-Rogers: “Start anywhere, follow it everywhere. This is a good reminder that you do not need a perfectly exe- cuted Six Sigma project plan to go green. Just take that first step and fol- low where it leads.”

• OR kit review & inventory management • Fluid management system • Reusable vs. disposable textiles & products • Rigid containers

• Reusable textiles & products • Rigid containers • Reusable sharp containers

• Reprocess medical devices • Reprocess textiles

• Third party medical supply donations • Local organizations

• Quality material collection, recovery

• Proper waste segregation • Regulated medical waste, municipal waste, municipal solid waste

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