How To Be More Sustainable When You Run A Healthcare Business
When you run a healthcare business, there are a variety of different things you need to consider and put in place, and most of them are things you’ll already be aware of. They’ll be things like patient confidentiality, high-quality equipment, well-trained staff, and so on. But have you thought about being more sustainable? Sustainability is something that all business owners need to think carefully about and put into practice in as many ways as possible, and the healthcare sector is no different.
To begin with, being more sustainable means you’re helping the planet more – you’re protecting the environment and doing the right thing, so even if there weren’t any other reasons to be more sustainable in your healthcare business, this big one should be enough. However, there are other reasons, including the fact that your patients will trust you more if you’re open about being sustainable, and that you can even save money in some areas. Plus, there are various tax incentives that you can benefit from, as well as the fact that there are certain rules and regulations you’ll need to follow anyway. All added together, being more sustainable when you run a healthcare business is vital, and here are some ways to get started – or upgrade your efforts if need be.
Be More Energy Efficient
Energy consumption is a big contributor to carbon emissions, and healthcare facilities are notorious when it comes to how much energy they use – there are just so many pieces of equipment and machinery, lighting, and so on, that it seems impossible to cut back. The reality is, however, that there are numerous ways you can reduce your energy footprint while still maintaining the high standard of care that the patients you treat will expect. Here are some of the things you can do:
Upgrade Your Lighting Systems
Outdated lighting fixtures can be energy vampires, meaning they’re sucking up energy all the time. It makes sense in that case to look at your lighting and decide whether it could be upgraded to something better, like energy-efficient LED bulbs. Not only do these bulbs use a lot less energy, but they also last longer, which saves you money in the long run.
Invest In Energy Efficient Appliances
From fridges to medical equipment, if you always make sure you choose energy-efficient appliances and machines when you need to buy something new, you’ll be playing a big part in taking care of the planet. Plus, as mentioned above, when you have more energy-efficient equipment in your workplace, your energy bills will go down, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint as a result.
Think About Your HVAC Systems
If you run a healthcare facility, you’re probably going to have an HVAC system in place to keep the temperature at a comfortable level for your patients and staff. This is great, but the issue is that these systems can use a lot of energy if they’re not well maintained. Regular maintenance, smart thermostats, and well-insulated buildings can help you save energy and money.
Use Renewable Energy
If you’re going to be using energy anyway (which you will be), make sure it’s renewable energy where possible. This means using renewable sources like solar panels or wind turbines to power your healthcare facility, and it can be the answer to a lot of your problems. This doesn’t just reduce your energy usage and reliance on fossil fuels, but it can also generate long-term cost savings, which, when it comes to a healthcare business, can make all the difference.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One of the basic principles of sustainability is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. In healthcare, where waste generation is massive, using this way to take care of your waste can make a big difference and definitely improve your sustainability. Here are some ways you can start:
Minimise Single-Use Items
Although there will be some things used within your healthcare business that have to be used just once and then thrown away (any kind of medical waste, for example), there might be plenty of others that you don’t have to rely on single-use quite so much for. Where possible, replace single-use items with reusable alternatives or perhaps biodegradable options if there isn’t any way to reuse the time safely or hygienically.
Properly Sort And Recycle
It’s a good idea to put a good recycling programme in place within your healthcare facility so you can ensure that recyclables like paper, plastic, and glass are correctly sorted and sent to recycling centres rather than landfill.
Donate Unused Supplies
Rather than discarding unused medical supplies, why not donate them to charitable organisations or medical facilities in need? This not only reduces waste, but also helps those who need it, so you’re doing good however you look at it.
If you can switch to electronic health records (EHRs) to reduce paper consumption, that’s a great way to be more sustainable, and it makes use of technology specifically designed for your particular industry.
Dispose Of Medical Waste Correctly
As mentioned above, not everything can be recycled or reused, so if you do have to throw something away, you’ll need to make sure you dispose of it in the right way to prevent causing damage to the environment. Plus, incorrect disposal can lead to contamination and pose a risk to healthcare workers and the community at large, so it’s a crucial thing to do for all kinds of reasons.
Partner With Licensed Waste Disposal Companies
If your healthcare business works with a specialist medical waste disposal company, you’ll find they have the expertise and the right equipment to safely and legally dispose of your medical waste and hazardous materials.
Train Your Staff
It’s also a good idea to provide regular training to your staff on the correct way to handle and dispose of medical waste. Always make sure everyone knows the importance of doing this right, and provide top-up training where needed.
Monitor And Audit
It’s wise to regularly monitor and audit your medical waste disposal practices so you can identify any areas where things can be improved. This proactive approach means you won’t have issues with compliance or potential environmental damage.