Johns Hopkins reduces amount of trash by 17%
Officials at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) have decreased the amount of trash they produce each month by 17% (200,000 pounds) after a systemwide rollout of a thousand recycling bins.
The campaign began in October 2012. "We began working to reduce our hospital waste by 15%." said Kristian Hayes, MPH, assistant director of general services at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "By February, we'd already exceeded that."
In addition to reducing overall hospital waste, JHH has dramatically reduced regulated medical waste since last fall, Hayes said. In September 2012, regulated medical waste was more than one-third of the total waste produced at the hospital. By February 2013, the figure was reduced to less than 14%.
"This was mostly done by changing habits — not by spending money," Hayes says.
JHH had recycled for years, but in a less-coordinated way. "When we discussed putting a plan in place, we found that there was a real appetite for it from the hospital community," Hayes said. "The 'going green' movement meant that a lot of people were already used to recycling in their homes, so when it came time to implement our plan, it happened really quickly."
Reducing hospital waste is just one of the goals in a plan set forth by the Johns Hopkins Health System's Sustainability Network. The network, a group of concerned Hopkins leaders and vendors, released an environmental plan in mid-2011 with the goal of using natural resources responsibly, increasing recycling, and making sustainability an institutional top priority.
Next steps for the sustainability network include conserving energy and water across the entire health system.
"The key is to make it as easy as possible, and that's how the plan is designed," Hayes said.