HackensackUMC's O.R. Minimizes Carbon Footprint


As operating room nurses, we save lives every day but also have realized the amount of waste we produce in doing so. A 2009 study found that approximately 40% of operating room waste is recyclable. Based on a literature review, the main operating room staff at HackensackUMC recently conducted an evidence-based research project to prove that much of our waste is, in fact, recyclable. Data was collected three days a week for eight weeks in order to analyze what was being collected and how it was being disposed.


Along with the study, we implemented a large recycling initiative within our twenty-three operating room suites and are dedicated to reducing waste via recycling blue wrap and other packaging commonly used in  the operating room setting.  Also, many of the of these recyclable materials were commonly ending up in "red bags" as infectious or biohazardous medical waste which costs considerably more to dispose of. By properly sorting operating room waste, we have made a considerable cost savings to the institution as well as decreasing HackensackUMC's carbon footprint on the environment.


 We are proud to say, that as of April 2012, HackensackUMC is the first hospital in the state of New Jersey to launch a successful recycling program within an operating room. These efforts have minimized our carbon footprint for this generation and generations to come.  Our goal is to set the standard for operating room recycling  for the tri-state area.   As the saying goes, "Saving the planet saves patients."




jen_orAbout Jennifer Pallotta:

Jennifer J. Pallotta RN, BSN, CNOR is the Clinical Level III Educator in the Department of General and Laparoscopic Surgery in the main operating room at HackensackUMC.  She is the team leader for the operating room greening/recycling project.  She is also a member of the hospital's "Green Team," an inter-departmental committee committed to creating increased healthcare sustainability.



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