Articles  |   March 2018
Recycling in the Operating Room: We Can Make a Difference
Article Information
Cardiovascular Anesthesia / Education / CPD / Articles
Articles   |   March 2018
Recycling in the Operating Room: We Can Make a Difference
ASA Monitor 03 2018, Vol.82, 30-31.
ASA Monitor 03 2018, Vol.82, 30-31.
Operating rooms are a significant source of revenue for hospitals, but they are responsible for significant amount of waste generation. Some of the waste can be recycled. Anesthesiologists are an important member in the perioperative arena, and this can be a huge opportunity for them to lead the way. This article presents a recycling project in a community hospital where, under leadership of an anesthesiologist and with efforts of perioperative nursing staff, more than 170 pounds of waste is being recycled each day.
About 6 million tons of medical waste is generated by hospitals annually in the United States, approximately 30 percent of which comes from the O.R.1  Up to 20-40 percent of this waste could be recycled, but there are several barriers to accomplishing this goal. For people who do not work in the O.R. on a daily basis, the environment can be intimidating. It might seem that segregating material from the waste would be time-consuming or could lead to “patient” contamination of potential recyclables collected. These initiatives often lack ownership, and potential leaders consistently underestimate the amount of waste that can be recycled. In a recent survey of anesthesiologists in U.S., more than 80 percent showed interest in recycling efforts in O.R.s, but only about 27 percent of them worked in facilities where recycling is practiced.2 
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