A well-intentioned, but misinformed, staff of interventional, ultrasound, and/or fluoroscopy suites can inappropriately create hundreds of unnecessary pounds of "red bag" waste by placing items in these bags that can potentially go in regular waste bins (e.g., items not saturated with blood or other bodily fluids) or recycling bins (glass and plastic contrast and other bottles, after appropriate rinsing per pharmacy standards). Ink and toner cartridges from printers and fax machines can be recycled through your supplier, usually garnering you a credit per cartridge, another direct cost savings, with the indirect cost savings of reducing waste.
GUEST EDITORIAL 256 Shades of Green Erin Simon Schwartz, MD I n these challenging economic times, green Disposable cup usage is another area where practices do not have to be sacrificed for imaging groups can reduce waste and cut money-saving practices—in fact, green costs simultaneously. A single cup may be initiatives within an imaging department can inexpensive (usually around 5 cents), how- result in significant cost savings. ever the volume used by employees can result These “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principles in an expenditure of several hundred or even can be readily applied to imaging depart- thousands of dollars per year. This also adds ments of all sizes. Note the specific order of to the cost of waste disposal, especially if your Following these principles. Reduction in resource use is disposal fees are weight-based. Encourage the most valuable (in terms of conservation employees to use travel mugs to eliminate dis- several basic and preservation), and the most cost effec- posable cup usage. Over time, the savings can steps, CHOP’s tive. An easy first step is reducing usage of even offset the costs of purchasing travel disposable items. mugs for your team—and putting your Radiology group’s logo on the cup can help spread Reducing usage awareness of your efforts to “Go Green.” Sev- Department Reducing paper usage is often the fastest eral vendors offer recyclable plastic or stain- change to implement; and it just requires a less steel options, allowing recycling when no was able to change in habits. Printing of emails should longer useful. be kept to an absolute minimum, in favor of reduce paper archiving for longer-term storage of impor- Medical waste reduction tant items. Electronic signatures should be Reducing waste generated from diagnostic usage by 50%, created and electronic document signing and therapeutic procedures offers a large allows one to email an attachment, rather opportunity for cost savings with greener saving several than faxing a paper copy. Newsletters, pro- practices. Due to their hazardous nature, the ductivity reports, and meeting minutes costs for disposal of “red bags” can be thousand dollars should be created and distributed electroni- upwards of six times that of routine waste. cally. It is also possible to electronically Carefully managed waste practices ca
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