Up Close: Medical Recycling and Waste Management

Up Close: Medical Recycling and Waste Management

Patient care at just one of our sites creates over 25 tons of biomedical waste annually.

Across all of our operating rooms, we create over 500 tonnes of waste annually that we divert from landfills by recycling. We recycle over 260 metric tonnes of cardboard and make compost from an additional 180 metric tonnes of food waste. By sterilizing and reprocessing, we save the equivalent of 200 thousand surgical tool kit wraps and divert an additional 4,233 medical devices from landfill or bio-waste streams.

This photo series is an Up Close look at the processes and systems we have in place to help in our waste reduction. Waste Reduction Week is an opportunity for everyone at HHS to reflect on our commitment to a healthier environment. Each day, staff and physicians work hard to minimize our environmental footprint through waste management, waste diversion and waste reduction of both our operating room and kitchen waste.

Fast Facts About Recycling at Hamilton Health Sciences

What Can Be Recycled:

• Recycling at Hamilton Health Sciences works differently than at home. There is no need to separate recycling by material type: All approved recyclables can go into the same bin! The recycling is then sorted by the recycling facility offsite.

• While many wrappers and instruments used at the hospital may appear to be recyclable, it’s not always the case. All items pictured and listed on our sorting posters have received special approvals from our recycler.

Contamination:

• Non recyclables—from liquids, to food waste to biohazardous waste– must be kept out of the recycling bins. If there are high levels of contamination identified in bags of recycling, your cleaner will need to dispose of that bag a regular waste

No-Go Recycling Zones:

• Recycling bins can’t go everywhere! Patient Rooms, treatment rooms and other “catch-all” areas are off limits for recycling bins because contamination is too high! HHS could be fined or have their recycling services cut off if our recycling is too contaminated with landfill waste or biohazardous materials.

If you enjoyed this photo set, have a look at other collections in the Up Close series:

Medical Laboratory

Biomedical Technology

Open Heart Surgery

Prosthetics and Orthotics in Motion

Trauma Team Response