Reduce, reuse, recycle? Not in the medical profession. While recycling has become the aspiration or even the norm in most areas of our daily lives, an operating room is the one place where recycling feels like a dangerous practice. Recent studies provide staggering statistics of the amount of waste produced by hospitals on a daily basis; one conservative estimate puts annual hospital waste at five point nine million tons, with operating rooms accounting for twenty to thirty percent of that total. In light of these numbers, there is a growing effort to bring sustainability into the health care sector while still maintaining the highest level of hygiene.
Recycling today is considered by many to be a huge success, though Americans could be recycling more than they do. Well managed recycling systems that focus on profitable resources like glass, paper and metals have had the most success.
Three steps to a healthier, greener laundry room: Use natural, nontoxic detergents free of harsh chemicals, dyes and perfumes; lose the fabric softener in favor of vinegar; and swap out your old equipment for EnergyStar rated appliances that are more energy-efficient and will save money over time.