A major concern that has been preoccupying hospital administrations for a few years now is how to make operating rooms more environmentally friendly. The need for sterile instruments and environments results in excessive but understandable waste each year. But that leads to overstuffed landfills and stretched budgets, with equipment replacement costs and utility bills grabbing a lot of that money. Cutting down the waste is imperative, and there are ways to do that.
Hard Cases Instead of Blue Wrap
One of the most drastic ways to reduce waste is to switch to hard sterilization cases. Instruments are normally wrapped in a specific type of blue plastic that is thrown away after one use. The plastic is not very tough, and instruments can pierce it. That means the instrument has to be switched to another blue wrap and be sterilized yet again. Practice Greenhealth notes that estimates of how much waste is made up of these blue wraps ranges from 19 percent to 55 percent. You can see that cutting those out and using hard, reusable containers can make quite a dent in the amount of waste.
Anything that uses a bulb will likely be able to take an LED bulb instead, if it isn't already. The main operating room lights, the spotlight over the table, and any additional lights should be switched out and replaced with LEDs to cut both energy use and heat emissions. Incandescent and halogen bulbs can get hot, requiring extra energy use in the form of an air conditioner to keep the operating room at an acceptable temperature. With LEDs, all that energy use is reduced substantially.
Another place where you can reduce waste is the autoclave. If one of the sterilization methods used is steam autoclaving, look for energy-efficient autoclaves in order to further cut energy waste. Newer models can be more efficient than older models, but sometimes a newer model will have more features that increase the amount of power needed to run the machine. Check the wattage on the machine (this will be listed on a small plaque or in an imprinted box somewhere on the back or bottom of the machine) to ensure you're getting one that uses less energy than the one you have now.
Cutting waste from an operating room can be done, and as you can see, it doesn't have to be difficult. But you do have to make the effort because energy conservation and waste prevention have become two of the more important concerns of most businesses and organizations concerned about landfill use and climate change.
For more information, contact local professionals like Heartland Medical Specialties Inc.