Waste Management Case Studies

Opole Hospital, Poland

The Opole Hospital in Poland is a medium-sized regional facility with almost 300 beds and 500 staff. Through consultations with the Waste Prevention Association (WPA), a HCWH Europe member, it was revealed that there was massive over-spending on treating infectious waste caused by inefficient waste segregation processes. WPA trained 327 employees in improved waste segregation practices in just three days, plus some additional small-group trainings at specific workplaces.

As a result, the hospital cut infectious waste quantities by 50%, waste management costs by 79% and managed to reclaim 14.7 tonnes of materials for recycling. In the dialysis unit, a rigorous overhaul of disposal practices reduced the amount of infectious waste produced by 53%. On average, the hospital units reduced infectious waste quantities by 49%.

University Hospital Freiburg, Germany

The University Hospital in Freiburg has one of the most advanced and comprehensive environmental protection programmes in the healthcare field. A multilevel research and introduction of waste minimisation measures have brought total annual savings of around €321,000. The savings were achieved through the phase-out of single-use products such as paper towels, dishes, baby's bottles, plastic shoe protectors, special containers for sharps, and superfluous packaging for disinfectants and dialysis concentrate.

Municipal solid waste recovery and recycling increased by 740 tonnes per year, while the amount of infectious waste dropped by 3.2 tonnes. Phase out and reuse programmes reduced waste by over 577 tonnes.