AOR's First on the Road Huge Success!

14 Aug 2015

In August, AOR launched a new event series called On the Road with AOR. On the Road with AOR events bring professionals from around Oregon together to discuss recycling issues and tour facilities. Moving forward, we plan to host two On the Road events each year.

Our first event was held at Providence Health and Services’ MRF in Portland. The Providence Health and Services’ MRF was created in 2000 and employs people with disabilities to sort low grade medical plastics and curbside recyclables. The MRF sorts a variety of low grade medical plastics, paper, paperboard, cardboard and metal. The sorting is all done by hand. From there the materials are sold to various markets around the region.

The event featured a panel of medical waste experts discussing special considerations for medical facilities, keys to a successful recycling program, and the story of Providence Health and Services’ recycling programs. Our panel discussion included Jeff Norton from Waste Management’s Healthcare Solution Team and Mike Gellar, Regional Sustainability Manager for Providence Health and Services. They shared a number of best practices for managing waste from health care facilities including:

•             Start with the low hanging fruit to get early wins. In most health care facilities these items are food waste from the cafeteria, paper, bottles and cans.

•             Identify other opportunities including C&D, universal waste, and document destruction.

•             Have clear signage with images at recycling stations. Co-locate bins next to each other.

•             Focus on materials generated in patient areas and before procedures. It is common for post-patient materials in ORs to contaminate recycling.

•             Look for waste reduction opportunities including reusable surgical gowns and linens, reformulating OR kits to reduce overage, FDA approved reprocessed medical devices, rigid sterilization containers, single use device reprocessing and vendor partnerships to reduce packaging.

•             Utilize vendor, hauler, and distributor networks to gather materials that are not accepted curbside.

•             Get support from the top and find ways to tie recycling into the mission of the organization.

•             Identify internal champions. Nursing and Environmental services are a good place to start.

A special thank you to Mike Gellar and Providence Health and Services for hosting us for this event!

Join us later this month, as On the Road heads south to BRING Recycling in Eugene. Stay tuned registration and event details.