Medical/Dental Offices can do to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Patient care in office environments routinely involves generation of traditional recyclable office waste, such as paper and cardboard. Files are created, paperwork is completed and supplies are delivered in cardboard packaging. Staff also may generate recyclable waste from personal use of items such as glass bottles, aluminum cans and newspapers. These offices also produce medically related waste. NOTE: Medical and pathological waste cannot be recycled with mixed paper and commingled materials recycling programs and should be disposed of according to law.
Besides recycling, medical and dental offices can reduce their consumption of some items, thus reducing the amount of waste produced or created. Also, some items in medical and dental offices can be reused. These measures reduce both procurement costs and waste disposal costs.
If your office is located in a multi-tenant office complex, your property owner and/or manager is responsible for providing recycling collection services for traditional recyclables. If your office is located adjacent to a residence, you need to establish your own recycling collection contracts.
Regardless of your location, you will need to seek recycling collection services for non-traditional recyclables (such as medical equipment) on your own. Check with larger medical institutions like hospitals in your area to see who they contract with for these services.
Use biodegradable packing peanuts or popcorn as a packing material for shipping.
Replace incandescent lights with fluorescent lights which are more energy efficient and require less-frequent replacements.
Purchase cleaning supplies in bulk quantities and avoid using disposable packets, whenever possible.
Request your vendors to ship materials that are packaged with recyclable packaging, such as shredded paper or newspaper, as opposed to foam peanuts.
Reuse, When Possible
Reuse packaging materials such as peanuts for outgoing shipments. If you can't use them, find someone who can. Donate or sell packaging materials to a local packaging company.
Local shipping companies will accept donated packing peanuts for reuse.
Use cloth gowns which can be laundered instead of disposable gowns when practicable.
Use plastic disposable liners with suction bottles and save the plastic suction bottles for reuse.
Have employees bring ceramic mugs for coffee. Eliminate foam cups. Use disposable cups only when necessary.
Recycle to Lower Disposal Costs and It’s the Law
Recycle mixed paper such as cardboard boxes, old patient file folders, office paper, unwanted mail, newspaper, magazines and telephone books. Shredded documents are also recyclable. If you shred on-site, ensure that the shredded paper is recycled with the mixed paper.
Recycle and reuse corrugated cardboard boxes. Ask your vendor to take back used corrugated cardboard containers for reuse.
Recycle commingled materials (aluminum cans and foil products, bi-metal steel/tin cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles and containers) generated by employees in
the lounge or kitchen.
Recycle TYVEK® (white, plastic-based material from which sturdy envelopes are made). Call 1-866-33-TYVEK® for information on how you can recycle this material. If you generate a small quantity of TYVEK®, the manufacturer will recycle it for you. If you generate a large quantity, the manufacturer will arrange for the material to be recycled for you.
Recycle batteries. Be sure to check whether your office uses the kind of batteries that can be recycled.
Recycle the following materials. Ask the manufacturers how their materials may be collected and recycled.
Collect mercury, and dispose of properly. Mercury is a hazardous waste that should not go into regular trash. For more information on hazardous waste, call the Division of Solid Waste Services at 3-1-1.
Buy Recycled Products
Close the recycling loop by purchasing recycled office products, such as office and writing papers, paper towels and toner cartridges.
What are other dental and medical offices doing to reduce, reduce and recycle
We'd like to add your dental or medical office to our list of recyclers, so let us know how you're doing! If you have a concern or issue you wish to discuss or a success story you want to share, please contact us.
For more information:
Please contact the Montgomery County SORRT (Smart Organizations Reduce and Recycle Tons) Program at 3-1-1 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 240-773-3556).