Eliminating Hazardous Waste - Identifying New Recycling Programs
Our recycling initiatives are designed to ensure that we dispose of medical devices, chemicals and equipment responsibly. The Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) works to reduce our waste and recycle materials through a number of key programs.
Waste Segregation Initiative
This new program makes sure we identify and properly sort through:
- Municipal Waste - (paper towels, plastic wrappers, food waste)
- Document Waste - (confidential papers, patient records)
- Recyclable Waste - (non-confidential paper, plastic, glass, aluminum)
- Regulated Medical Waste - (red bag, sharps, trace chemo)
- Hazardous Waste - (pharmaceutical, laboratory, and universal waste)
Sharps Recycling Program
We work with two outside vendors on a sharps safety recycling program that removes medical devices, including needles and syringes, from our medical waste. Reusable materials from these devices are treated and processed for use in new products. Montefiore's hospitals make up the first such integrated delivery network to commit to a system-wide implementation of the Becton Dickinson ecoFinity Life Cycle Solution for safe and sustainable disposal of medical sharps waste. This effort has allowed us to recycle more than 425,000 pounds of sharps waste in only one year.
EH&S recently unveiled a new process to lower its operating costs while minimizing plastic usage. As part of this process, we have switched from using 5-gallon containers to 55-gallon containers in order to store more waste and help reduce the pollution created from transporting the waste.
Electronic waste contributes 70 percent of the toxins found in landfills. Some toxins include mercury, cadmium, and lead. For more than 10 years, our Emerging Health in Information Technology department has taken steps to prevent E-waste pollution by taking old computers (all patient information is deleted beforehand) and donating them to several organizations in the community, including schools and religious institutions.