Environmental and financial impact of a hospital recycling program

AANA J. 2011 Aug;79(4 Suppl):S8-14.


Recycling decreases greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from waste disposal. A recent study determined the environmental and financial impact of recycling at a 148-bed acute care hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. The hospital added single-stream recycling to its nonhazardous waste disposal practices in September 2008. The study measured the amount of nonhazardous waste generated and disposal costs from September 2008 to March 2009 for comparison with the same 6-month period in 2007-2008, calculating the environmental benefit using the Environmental Protection Agency's Waste Reduction Model (WARM). This study revealed that recycling benefits the environment and saves money. Recycling reduced GHG emissions by 34 metric ton carbon equivalents (MTCEs) and saved 632 million BTUs of energy. Pearson correlation for waste generation (r = 0.99, P = .002) demonstrates that the amount of waste generated between the control and intervention periods were very similar. Pearson correlation for facility operations as measured by admissions, outpatient visits, emergency room visits, and number of employees (r = 0.99, P < .007) also showed the 2 time periods to be very similar. The hospital's cost to dispose of nonhazardous waste decreased more than $4,670 after single-stream recycling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Environment*
  • Hospital Costs*
  • Humans
  • Materials Management, Hospital* / economics
  • Ohio
  • Recycling* / economics
  • Refuse Disposal* / economics