6 Top Tips for Improving Sustainability in Your Facility
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a Sustainable Healthcare System as “a system that improves, maintains or restores health, while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and leveraging opportunities to restore and improve it, to the benefit of the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.” There are three defined pillars to sustainability – economics, the environment, and social action. The global pandemic continues to pose devastating threats to these systems around the world. Further, as governments and individuals become increasingly concerned about the impact that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have on our environment, global warming, and climate change, we ask ourselves, how can we proactively become more sustainable?
The environment plays an important role in sustaining life – it is something that cannot be overlooked. There is no doubt that sustainable policies support the health and wellbeing of your staff, patients, and visitors – physically, emotionally, and mentally. This has been highlighted over the past year with people struggling from loneliness, isolation, and stress in both the workplace and at home. An organizational culture committed to sustainability is as important a factor as the specific activities implemented. Creating sustainable values within your facility will have a knock-on effect for employees, patients, and the environment.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO CONSIDER IMPLEMENTING IN YOUR FACILITY:
One way to become more sustainable is to source local produce. This will help local producers and businesses, as well as create healthier options for your staff and patients. Logically speaking, the more locally produced food, the fewer food miles – while helping your local economy sustain itself. The cafeteria or catering at your facility can be advised and encouraged to use reusable dishware instead of styrofoam and plastic containers. Your healthcare facility can make a difference to the environment by going eco-friendly.
Both cleaning and disinfecting are a massive part of any healthcare facility. What if you switched to using more eco-friendly varieties of cleaning products? Eco-friendly cleaning products are less likely to cause allergic reactions and lingering chemical smells, both of which are advantageous to your staff and patients. There are many different resources to explore to stay eco-friendly. Find some that will keep your staff and patients healthier.
Using paper to track information such as logging patient information is not only unsustainable but creates laborious administration tasks. By going digital, you will use less paper, which will benefit the environment, and save time on labor. Keep your records and send prescriptions online to not only reduce costs but reduce GHG emissions.
Healthcare settings should consider installing smart lighting systems, investing in green energy, solar panels, and other clean energy generators. Converting to environmentally friendly energy sources will result in both cost and energy efficiencies.
People and Health
People are central to every successful organization. In 2021, employees are more likely to work long-term and invest in a business that cares about causes they care about and that make a difference in their community. Looking after your employees' health and wellbeing, as well as professional development, is critical to your facility. Ensure you are managing your equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy to help improve the health and wellbeing of your people.
Some sustainable initiatives which you can easily introduce into your facility, and track the progress of, may include “cycle to work” programs, or public transport and carpooling programs to cut down on transportation emissions.
One of the most straightforward opportunities to go green is to improve waste management within your facility.
Look at sustainable disposal systems that help you segment waste and get rid of it effectively and efficiently. By using a reusable waste management system, you will reduce the number of disposal containers that are discarded after a single use – resulting in a reduction of 99% in container manufacturing. By switching to reusable, you can join a system like Daniels’ Sharpsmart containers, which diverts millions of pounds of plastic and cardboard from landfills, and, with its 50-year life cycle, is reusable countless times. Daniels Health alone diverts landfilled waste by 13 tons of plastic and 1.3 tons of cardboard annually – just imagine how your facility could positively impact the environment by switching to reusable waste containers.
A change to reusable waste containers could reduce GHG emissions by 109.80 tons CO2eq per annum – 91% less than the previous disposable sharps system (these figures highlight the impact of the Daniels Health system).
We understand that a concern with reusable containers within healthcare is hygiene. Our containers are emptied and sanitized at Daniels' clean processing facilities using the Washsmart system – a robotic system that provides highly effective washing and sanitizing of containers – with safety being a top priority.
By embracing a more sustainable approach, you can impact costs through reducing your energy consumption and properly segregating waste. Often, healthcare facilities do not dispose of waste correctly. This increases the cost of disposal and unnecessarily raises the level of treatment needed, which may increase pollution through increased incineration or other polluting techniques. Through a customized waste audit, plan, and training you can reduce waste costs through proper disposal.
Stay Ahead of the Sustainability Curve
Healthcare facilities need to be more proactive and innovative. By changing sourcing habits, investing in green energy, cleaning procedures, going digital, and proactively changing waste practices, sustainable healthcare can help realize financial savings, while reducing waste and GHG emissions. How can your facility stay ahead of the curve? Invest in a sustainable, healthy future: one you can’t afford to ignore as we seek to build a fairer, healthier world.
Daniels has worked to make a conscious effort to ensure that its products help customers act responsibly as they work towards reducing emissions and developing a greener future.
If you would like to speak to an expert about implementing a sustainable waste management strategy, or if you simply discuss your current partner(s), get in touch with us directly via the details listed on our contact page, or feel free to fill out this short form and one of our team will get back to you as quickly as possible.