Montefiore has developed a comprehensive, single-stream recycling program to minimize the amount of waste generation within the health system.
Our program captures paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and glass throughout the health system, and through a partnership with Shred-X, we now recycle 100 percent of the paper waste containing sensitive health information generated at all Montefiore locations.
Medical equipment and supplies are distributed to our various campuses from a centralized warehouse. These items are delivered to each campus on carts that are wrapped in plastic film for sanitary purposes. Montefiore partnered with Approved Storage & Waste Hauling to recycle 100 percent of plastic film.
Montefiore applies a comprehensive approach in several areas, including:
Electronic Waste Recycling
Each year, Montefiore diverts thousands of pounds of electronic waste at all of Montefiore hospitals and our Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The program expanded greatly in 2017 in partnership with EWaste+ at zero cost to Montefiore. In fact, we increased eWaste recycling by 29 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Harmful Chemical Recycling
To maintain optimal levels of cleanliness to prevent infections and to maintain a sterile environment, hospitals must use chemicals.
Montefiore’s Environmental Services, Infection Prevention and Environmental Health and Safety Departments are always looking for ways to reduce the quantity and toxicity of chemicals used within our campuses. This includes analyzing the use of new equipment, ensuring that we use concentrated chemicals most effectively, and purchasing more environmentally-friendly goods that have been certified by an accredited organization.
Montefiore continually trains Environmental Services workers on the proper use and disposal of chemicals or hazardous products to stem hazards (including a toxic indoor environment and waste) associated with overuse of such chemicals and products.
Single-Use Device (SUD) Reprocessing
Used medical devices captured within a surgical setting are recaptured and recycled through a process called single-use device (SUD) reprocessing.
SUD reprocessing (typically completed by a third-party vendor and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is described by the Association of Medical Device Reprocessing as when “third-party reprocessors inspect, functionally test, clean, package and sterilize medical devices labeled for single-use in such a manner that the quality, physical characteristics and performance functions of the device are not significantly affected and that the device remains safe and effective for its appropriate use.”
Montefiore has a reprocessing program within its operating rooms designed to reduce medical waste. Inpatient units also collect SUDs for reprocessing, such as pulse oximeters. In 2017, Montefiore reprocessed nearly six tons of SUDs.
Montefiore rolled out a battery recycling program in 2014 to prevent batteries from entering landfills, where their contents leach chemicals into the landfill and eventually the soil and groundwater.
In 2017, Montefiore recycled nearly four tons of batteries.
Ink & Toner Cartridge Recycling
Our office supply vendors HiTouch and EWaste+ collect ink and toner cartridges for recycling.
Montefiore understands that our food and organics waste can significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. To offset this, we are continually looking for ways to remove a majority or all of our food and organics waste from nearby landfills.
At Montefiore New Rochelle and Wakefield Hospitals, for instance, Our office supply vendors HiTouch and EWaste+ collect ink and toner cartridges for recycling. All of Montefiore’s campuses will explore adoption of this technology in the future.
Like most large organizations, Montefiore has acquired large amounts of furniture and office equipment that we’d like to prevent from ending up in our local landfills.
To repurpose these items,we developed a program where individuals and departments collaborate to swap old or existing furniture. When items slated to be discarded can’t be used in-house, our sustainability team reaches out to in-house partners (like purchasing) for resale options. For items that cannot be resold, our department works with organizations like the Afya Foundation, a medical supply recovery organization that sends donated medical supplies to health centers all over the world.