The Treatment Phase
Once we’ve gotten a diagnosis –a thorough picture of your operations and what areas need attention- we’ll move on to the treatment phase. We’ll produce professional-level documentation of the data we’ve collected and share it with key members of your management team. We’ll build a compelling argument that can be presented to upper management that will win approval for implementing our recommendations.
Our full-service sustainability audit will include project timelines, budgets, and the policies and procedures that will be necessary to not only rollout the program, but to ensure its long-term success.
The new program will include both physical changes to the workspace and training for staff.
New waste collection bins, signage, and labeling might all be part of a new program; shaking up the “routine” visuals of the workplace can be an important step in the process. New technology for better record keeping and more efficient waste collection may come online.
Training will be focused on several different categories of employees, including clinicians who are on the “frontline” and the custodial staff that is dealing with both RMW and non-RMW behind the scenes.
Good Treatment Requires Good Follow-Up
In the aftermath of a hospital waste audit and sustainability consultation, we will conduct multiple post-implementation audits to ensure that the program is operating as we envisioned.
We’ll have our baseline data from what we tracked initially and will be able to zero in on what’s working and what isn’t. We’ll have the information needed to decide if and where tweaking is needed.
The Details: Diagnostics
Once again, our preliminary work will focus on getting a good baseline. We’ll use waste data tracking, including examining in detail invoices from the previous 12-month period, to get a handle on the status quo at your facility.
This baseline serves two main purposes. First, we begin to see what’s working and what’s not and begin building an action plan for your facility. Second, after implementation of your waste management plan we will have hard data with which to track what’s working well and what needs more attention.
Our invoice analysis will also allow us to see how equipment is currently utilized. This may let us see efficiencies that can be introduced in your waste equipment service schedules. It’s also not unheard of that we’ll find billing errors with trash haulers as part of our data tracking. It’s happened before and has resulted in billing rebates for our clients.
In addition, matching invoices with our onsite auditing can ensure that hauling fees are kept to a minimum. We’ll determine a schedule to make sure equipment is only hauled away when dumpsters are close to capacity. This will cut down on tipping fees over the long run.
In some cases we’ve helped develop new “request for proposal” (RFP) language that better integrates sustainability measures and performance indicators. This can lead to the selection of more suitable and efficient waste haulers or a better contract with your current hauler.
The Details: Treatment
As we’ve already mentioned, the primary low-hanging fruit is making sure that the RMW stream is free of non-RMW material. But in any large facility there is usually some other low-hanging fruit to be had.
With regards to recyclables, a similar dynamic is at work. It’s commonly cheaper to dispose of recyclable material by recycling it, as opposed to the material ending up in the waste stream headed for the landfill. But if refuse does not get segregated at the source then it’s harder — and more expensive — to separate downstream.
Like the waste audits we do for our office park, stadium, and higher education clients, we’ll do a general facility sustainability audit of your operations. Not only the areas where direct medical care takes place, but also areas such as the pharmacy, offices, food services, supply rooms, and waiting rooms will be examined.
We’ll monitor — at the source — where trash first leaves someone’s hand, including in individual patient rooms which usually only have a trash can. Then we’ll keep an eye on the waste stream as it works its way to the loading dock. We’ll identify issues and backtrack to where problems start, recommending physical and operational changes that will create better waste minimization and diversion programs.
Given our experience, we’re also aware of obscure waste streams and solutions in dealing with them. Linen rag out donations, food donations to local shelters, furniture and equipment donation opportunities, battery recycling, eyeglass donations, and toner recycling are all on our list. We also understand OSHA standards and medical regulations, so we’ll always stay focused on safety issues and compliance standards.
Part of our experience is also working with and negotiating with trash haulers. We know their business, what they need, and what they can provide. We can be the point of contact with them as new systems are put into place and we’ll work with them to smooth out any kinks in the new system.
We’ve handled the rollout of new programs. We understand that training all levels of the workforce is crucial and has to be handled with respect and open communication.
Change is not always welcomed. But we’ll work hard to listen to your employees’ concerns and ideas — and since they know the facility, we’ll treat them as the great resource that they are — and do all we can to get buy-in for the new waste management programs we design.
Our team averages 500 education sessions every year. We seem to know what we’re doing; employees give us a 97% satisfaction rate in post-training surveys.
We’ll conduct small person-to-person training sessions with staff. We’ll explain the big picture and then the details. We don’t use off-the-shelf online training software. We talk. We listen.
The establishment of “green teams” or “sustainability leadership councils” is often a good start. These cooperative ventures can help establish goals and ways to pursue those goals. Through them we introduce some of the cutting-edge developments in the sustainability sector; outside the realm of waste, such as reducing chemical contamination of the environment (like antibiotics leaching into water supplies), supporting local sustainable food production, and environmentally preferable purchasing.
The Details: Follow-Up
With the thorough knowledge of your facility that we’ve developed and the hard data we’ve collected, we can conduct follow-up audits and consultations. We’ll monitor employee participation and record-keeping systems.
We’ll be able to produce waste data snapshots moving forward and conduct onsite assessments as needed. Current practices will be continually reviewed and opportunities to increase the success of your waste programs will be scrutinized. We’ll help you squeeze out every percentage point of waste reduction. And those percentage points are dollars saved.
As your program succeeds, together we’ll explore new ways to integrate sustainability in you your operations. Lastly, but certainly not least- recognition is important. We’ll handle sustainability award applications that will make your efforts public knowledge. We’ve helped our clients receive over 130 environmental excellence awards. You’ve put in the hard work, so we’ll help identify how to share your successes.