Health Care

Based on the volume of waste generated by healthcare facilities, the potential for waste reduction, and the national focus by EPA on healthcare, P²AD continues to devote resources to this priority sector. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), there are more than 6,000 hospitals in the U.S. employing more than 4 million people. Hospitals generate more than 6,000 tons of waste per day, including mattresses, cardboard, food waste, mercury, photographic chemicals, formaldehyde, batteries, and solvents. In addition, P²AD-funded research estimates that hospitals in Georgia generate more than 6,419 tons of food waste per year.

Since 1997, P²AD has been actively involved in AHA/EPA’s Hospitals for A Healthy Environment (H2E) initiative to identify waste reduction options for hospitals. H2E educates healthcare staff about the financial and environmental benefits of pollution prevention and provides resources for hospitals to meet the following goals:

  • Virtually eliminating mercury-containing waste from hospitals’ waste streams by 2005
  • Reducing the overall volume of waste (both regulated and non-regulated) by 33 percent by 2005, and by 50 percent by 2010
  • Identifying hazardous substances for pollution prevention and waste reduction opportunities, including hazardous chemicals and persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutants.

In February 2002, P²AD joined the H2E initiative as an H2E Champion. Champions pledge to educate healthcare facilities about the benefits of waste reduction, conduct workshops, and disseminate technical resources to encourage facilities to participate in the H2E initiative.
To fulfill our commitment of being a Champion, P²AD sponsored a one-day, pollution prevention workshop for hospitals in May 2002. The workshop, conducted by healthcare experts, focused on elimination of mercury, identifying regulatory issues and potential compliance concerns, environmentally preferable procurement, solid waste reduction and recycling options for healthcare, and reducing and properly managing hazardous chemicals.
Contact P²AD to find out more about reducing waste in healthcare.

More Information

Hazardous Waste Management Guide for Georgia Hospitals. (PDF, 210KB) A four-page guide from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division published in September 2003. Click here to go to EPD’s site.

AHA/EPA’s Hospitals for a Healthy Environment – Memorandum of Understanding

AHA/EPA Hospitals for a Healthy Environment chemical waste minimization chapter. Details hazardous chemical usage in a hospital by department with waste reduction opportunities.
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment news (PDF, 23KB)
Resources, including links to various publications, case studies, and fact sheets
Links to other waste reduction sites for hospitals