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PUBLICATION STAFF Publisher / Editor Rick Downing Contributing Editors / Writers Kim Fernandez P. J. Heller Robert J. Rua Production & Layout Barb Fontanelle Christine Pavelka Advertising Sales Rick Downing Subscription / Circulation Donna Downing Editorial, Circulation & Advertising Office 6075 Hopkins Road Mentor, OH 44060 Ph: 440-257-6453 Fax: 440-257-6459 Email: downassoc2@oh.rr.com For subscription information, please call 440-257-6453. M e d i c a l Wa s t e M a n a ge m e n t (ISSN #1557‑6388) is published quarterly by Downing & Associates. Reproductions or transmission of Medical Waste Management, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Annual subscription rate U.S. is $19.95. Outside of the U.S. add $10.00 ($29.95).contact our main office, or mail-in the subscription form with payment. ©

Copyright 2010 by Downing & Associates

Medical Waste Management APR-JUN 2010

Single-Stream Makes Hospital Recycling Possible Continued from page 1 “It’s really simple,” says Carpenter, particularly for a corporate application like the hospital. “You mix all of your paper, glass, tin, plastic, cardboard--all of your recycling-together into one bin. It takes a huge amount out of the waste stream.”

Training

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aleotti says that while conventional wisdom says hospitals might have a hard time keeping inappropriate materials out of the recycling bins, a little forethought helped them have no issues to date. “It’s easy,” she says. “We needed something that was very simple. We don’t get much participation in these programs unless people can just toss things in there, and that’s what they do with this.” She says Casella sent her flyers listing acceptable items in a very simple, straightforward way. The company also let her use the trash cans the hospital already had in its offices and waiting rooms; Galeotti simply attached the flyers to some of their cans and made those their designated recycling bins. “We didn’t have to buy anything,” she says. “We took our garbage cans and put the flyers on them and put them out that way.” The program was so effective, she says, that many offices in the hospital have done away with trash cans entirely and now only have recycling for employees and guests. “A lot of people just have recycling cans for waste,” she says. “And in an office of 20 people we might only have two cans for trash at this point.” The hospital has a “green team” of employees who volunteer to push environmental issues to their co-workers. Those people were trained in the new program when it launched last June, and then they explained it to their office mates and helped set out the marked bins for collection. They had to be clear that actual medical waste wasn’t eligible for the program, but employees were used to disposing of those sorts of things separately, so it wasn’t a huge learning curve. Galeotti trained her environmental services staff on collection just before the program started, and says there have been no problems with recyclables going into the trash or with inappropriate items ending up in the recycling. “They go around and pick up the recycling and put it all into bags,” she says. “They dump it into a container outside and it gets picked up once a week.” Pickups increased quickly after the program started, she says. “We started out every two weeks, but now we’re weekly,” she says. “They

show up to pick it up and 99 percent of the time, it’s overflowing. We have 35 people in the environmental services department, and they’re very good at their jobs.” Galeotti says they take a careful look at the bins they empty to ensure there’s no contamination with trash, but so far, that’s not been a problem at all.

Flexibility

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ne thing that’s made a huge difference, she says, is Cassella’s ability to take a huge variety of materials in the zero-sort program. Everything from office paper to milk cartons to cardboard goes in; this is in contrast to some programs that disallow anything that’s been in contact with food. Carpenter says it’s a huge asset that’s helped them convince many companies to give the program a try even if other programs haven’t worked out so well. “Once we collect the recycling, we take it all to our zero-sort facility in New York,” she says. “We load it all up into 100-yard trailers and they’re all sorted by commodity-paper, cardboard, plastic, glass--all sorted by machinery. We have quality-control staff in each facility who also remove any non-recyclables.” She says the design of a zero-sort system for offices has helped decrease confusion and increase the success of the programs. “People can get a little confused with sorting,” she says. “This way, all the recycling goes into one bin and all the trash goes into another bin. But no trash can go into the recycling bin.” The hospital invited Cassella to participate in its Earth Day festivities in both 2009 and 2010, giving Carpenter the opportunity to personally visit with employees, talk to them about the program, and answer any questions they had. “Communication is the most important part,” she says. “We go out and explain to the staff exactly what the program offers. And we’ve had great feedback.” She also provided her phone number to hospital staff, and says they’re so enthusiastic about recycling what used to be trash that they don’t hesitate to call her with questions. “If it’s something they’re unsure of, they call me and ask,” she says. “They’ve sent me samples of different things so I can see if we can recycle specific materials. And that’s great. It increases participation.” She says she was also careful to explain that even though what’s in the recycling bin is all jumbled up, it really will be recycled. “It’s a popular misconception that if you mix everything together, it doesn’t get 100

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MWM 2nd Quarter 2010 Issue  

2nd Quarter 2010 issue of Medical Waste Management

MWM 2nd Quarter 2010 Issue  

2nd Quarter 2010 issue of Medical Waste Management