Tip of the Week: Hospitals go green, save money with free recycling program

Hospital Safety Insider, April 7, 2011

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The following is an excerpt from April’s Briefings on Hospital Safety.

Before Mark A. Wehner, CHSP, ARM, learned about Call2Recycle, one of his jobs was to collect the heavy metal-containing waste batteries generated by the healthcare system where he worked and personally transport them to a ¬local metal recycling facility.

It was no easy task, as the Seton Family of Hospitals in central Texas generated approximately 1.5 tons of batteries each year. Since then, Seton has grown to 11 hospitals with even more waste batteries generated annually.

So Wehner, the network hazmat safety officer who manages environmental compliance for ¬Seton, was pleased to discover Call2Recycle's free rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling program.

In 2010, Seton recycled 2,300 pounds of ¬rechargeable batteries through the program—shipping them off in postage-paid boxes—plus another 800 pounds of larger batteries on a pallet ready to ship, ¬Wehner says. "All at no cost to us.”

"As a not-for-profit healthcare organization struggling in these tough financial times, that's a tremendous asset to have," he says. "I would enthusiastically recommend this program to other hospitals or to any business that generates waste rechargeable batteries as a no-cost, environmentally responsible alternative."

Hospitals generate a large number of waste batteries, both single use and rechargeable, Wehner says. Sealed lead acid, nickel cadmium, and nickel metal hydride make up the bulk of these and, pound for pound, constitute the majority of Seton's hazardous waste generation.

Visit Briefings on Hospital Safety to read more.

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