The Green Healthcare Programme (GHCP) carried out 30 general waste surveys in both acute hospitals and PCCC facilities to determine the type and quantity of general waste being disposed of, its sources and how it can be better segregated for recycling. A further 5 surveys of bin placement practices is hospitals was also carried out.
From these surveys and analysis, detailed recommendations and specific best practice guidance was provided to the hospitals involved, to reduce their general waste and associated costs, by increasing recycling.
Some stand-out facts from the surveys and analysis:
1. It is estimated that all hospitals in Ireland combined produce 17,000 tonnes of general landfill waste per year.
2. In acute hospitals, on average, 4.2kg of general waste per in-patient bed day is generated. In PCCC hospitals, 2.2kg of general waste per in-patient bed day is generated.
2. On average in acute facilities 32% of the general landfill waste bags was found to be recyclable material. In PCCC facilities 16% of the waste is recyclable material. This is despite segregated recyclable collection being carried out in the majority of hospitals.
3. On average, the acute hospitals participating in the programme could make savings of up to €7,500 per annum simply by diverting commonly accepted recyclables from the landfill stream. Nationally, savings of between €380,000 and €550,000 per annum could be made in acute hospitals, by ensuring that recyclables are kept segregated from general landfill waste.
4. General waste in hospitals comprises a few main components as follows (click to see full size):
GHCP also published useful guidance documents for other hospitals to improve their own performance, as follows: