‘Going green’ is a key goal for any sector. No matter whether it’s eliminating wastage, driving efficiency, or anything in-between; making systemic improvements can bring positive change to the environment and the individuals the organisation interacts with. And when it comes to the healthcare sector, the benefits can prove to be significant indeed.
So what changes are being made to hospitals throughout the world and what impact can they have on our day-to-day lives?
What is changing?
While there are a number of green initiatives currently taking place across the globe, some common and impactful options include
Managing Food: Minimising food wastage in hospital canteens and throughout wars is essential. This has led to sustainable composting and recycling initiatives alongside pressing institutions to ‘go local’ when it comes to sourcing food and cutting down on waste in supply chains. This can allow for the provision of fresher, healthier food and allowing wastage to be used as fertilizer to help providers.
Energy Saving: Energy use is a central challenge for many hospitals. This can be difficult to negotiate due to the attachment to healthcare and human lives but cutting down on carbon footprints and electricity wastage has proven to be very popular. This has taken the form of embedding energy saving light bulbs, sustainably sourced equipment, and other bespoke initiatives. These changes led to a more data-driven approach and have allowed hospitals to make changes to their heating and lighting provision to drive genuine savings that can then be redistributed throughout the hospital.
Eliminating Waste: Hospitals are infamous for the amount of non-recyclable waste they produce from sharps, medical waste and other pieces of test or sampling equipment. This has led staff to adopt processes that help make harmful waste recyclable, using a combination of chemical process treatments, sourcing items with recycled components, and sanitisation to drive change. This also extends to deploying reusable blood pressure cuffs and sensor technology. These can also be given to patients who can eventually return them, allowing them to minimise in-ward wastage and give supervision to prevent patients applying blood pressure cuffs too tightly and breaking or damaging equipment.
Office Infrastructure: It is easy to forget that hospitals have a large administrative element in addition to providing daily care for patients. This has led many institutions to review their extant supply chains and make sure that the plan they have in place is sustainable, reduces wastage, and deals with scrap in a green way. This can involve making deals with suppliers that use a high percentage of recycled materials in their paper, enjoy modular technical solutions that don’t require additional purchases to use, and ensuring that green spaces are present throughout the grounds.
In addition to improving morale and returns, these can bring significant long-term benefits to any space and drive significant savings. These can allow the institutions to function and help build momentum for other green initiatives that can make a genuine difference to patient’s lives.