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4 Compelling Reasons Why the Healthcare Industry Should Worry About Green Issues
(Friday, 10 February 2017) Written by greeniac12466

Climate change and environmentally friendly green practices are a hot topic around the world now. However, one industry that has done little to embrace the same ideals is healthcare. Here are some reasons why medical professionals should be concerned.

1. Medical Waste

While we all contribute to generating waste and garbage, a significant portion of hospital waste is considered biohazards that can't go into the local landfill. Discarded blood or tissue is known as "red bag waste" because it must be specially handled and disposed of. However, some hospital employees, for want of time or energy, may dispose of it right along with common disposables like paper cups or cardboard. This is a health and environmental risk that invites repercussions from both federal authorities and consumers.

2. Water Use

Fresh water in becoming more precious, but hospitals tend to be wasteful. According to the American Health Association, in 2015 there were 35,061,292 patients admitted to its approved hospitals, and many more in non-AHA facilities. Water for medical or sanitary processes is essential, but hospitals on average use 600 gallons a day per patient, compared to 400 gallons per person in home use. There's a growing need for industry water efficiency.

3. Recycled Materials

Recycling is seldom done in hospitals. This is in part because of self-imposed standards, such as strong cleaning products that have harmful environmental effects. Medical products may involve dangerous substances like mercury or barium that can't be recycled, along with expensive pharmaceuticals. More hospitals should implement recycling policies, as well as better inventory control. Part the way healthcare can work to adapt new practices starts in nursing degree programs (read more) that include administrative and leadership courses that help healthcare professionals make the case for recycling in their particular institutions.

4. Energy Conservation

Lights, heat, and air conditioning are costly in a large facility. Hospitals also have power-hungry devices like MRIs and CAT scanners. Hospitals may have their own boilers and backup generators burning fossil fuels. Coal and natural gas, whether used onsite or in generating electricity for the public grid, are major sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Despite providing an essential service, hospitals and medical manufacturers aren't free from oversight. The federal government is now considering regulations to improve energy efficiency in healthcare.

As industries of all kinds adopt green policies for brand awareness and overall environmental impact reductions, healthcare is not immune. It's becoming an increasingly competitive environment where those who ignore green strategies could be passed over or even penalized.

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