Less GHG with reusables over long-haul

Reusables reduce GHG 65% when long-haul transport is required.

Two Californian colleagues and I had our Lifecycle Carbon Footprint study published today confirming a significant 65% reduction in greenhouse gases when disposable sharps bins were replaced with reusables and long transport distances impacted both systems.

The study was conducted over a two-year period at a large five-hospital system in Loma Linda CA.

An earlier GHG Chicago study found reusables reduced sharps waste stream GHG by 84%. However the study’s sensitivity analysis found transport distances impacted results significantly and suggested the study be repeated in a scenario where transport distances between manufacturer and hospital were large.

In the Loma Linda study, mfg-hospital distances were several thousand km and hospital-plant distances were several hundred km. Under these conditions the study concluded:

  • Such distances lessen GHG differential between the systems
  • Reusable achieved significant GHG reductions
  • Transport & electricity cleanliness are key factors.
  • Lifespan of reusables has minimal effect on carbon footprint.
  • Procurement can significantly contribute to GHG strategies.
  • Reusables reduced GHG with minimal staff behavior-change.

Click here for Loma Linda study

Novel reusable-bin clinical waste system reduces cost, waste vol, labour and risk

Today I was pleased to see publication of the award-winning 3-year study from Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAH), Australia.

As a co-author with Fiona De Sousa and Diana Martin, we examined the impact of the Clinismart System on clinical waste (CW) management and risk.

The Clinismart System (SteriHealth Ltd Melbourne Australia) significantly reduced CW: costs 31%; volume 65%; mass 53%; hospital labour 69%; and reduced infection risk and staff sharps injury risk. Waste segregation was markedly enhanced and eliminated the many issues with the previous 240L wheelie bin system.

The System comprises a linerless purpose-engineered 64 litre reusable bin, mounted on a proprietary foot-pedal mobile stand. The system also includes a dedicated transport system for internal hospital transport and another for  external road transport. The bins are regularly collected by the contractor and subjected to a 6-stage high-level sanitization process before being returned for service.

The system’s design and operation, in reducing volumes, labour, costs and risk, improved the quality of health care delivery at SAH and enabled compliance with Healthcare Waste Guidelines. The System contributed to greater sustainability in that annually, 5,000 fewer large plastic liners for the 240L wheelie bins, were eliminated from landfill.

 Click here for access to Abstract and Author copy for this study