Texas Health Resources manages its waste stream to prevent unnecessary exposures, communicable diseases and other harmful agents–as well as comply with related regulations. Our waste programs are designed to reduce what we send to the landfill and to control costs.
Medical and Hazardous Waste
The management of medical waste (e.g., used needles and pharmaceuticals) and hazardous waste (e.g., chemicals and disinfectants) is expensive, highly regulated, and requires specialized training and disposal mechanisms. To reduce costs and clinician exposure risks, we contract with a full-service, nationally recognized waste disposal company. This company coordinates staff training, and removes hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals and waste directly from our facilities.
Most every Texas Health facility has an office waste recycling program depending on the volume, storage and staff needed to make recycling practical and cost-effective. We encourage employees to recycle paper, boxes, brochures, cans and bottles. Additionally, we have kept considerable amounts of cardboard out of the waste stream thanks to having medical supplies delivered in reusable totes directly from our distributor to our patient care areas instead. Each year, we shred and recycle million pounds of paper, which saves thousands of trees. For Earth Day, we also host a free community shredding event.
Texas Health recycles computer parts after they are no longer needed, and encourages employees to recycle old cell phones and printer-ink cartridges. We offer a similar service to the community each year to encourage their disposal of unwanted electronic products. Our hospitals also collect unwanted phones for “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” a nonprofit program that recycles phones and provides calling cards to soldiers serving overseas so that they may call their families.
When feasible, Texas Health sends our unused food and food waste to be converted into compost. Rich in nutrients, the compost improves soil texture, saves water and reduces the need to use pesticides and fertilizers on crops.
Rather than dispose of used scrub tops, pants and jackets, our health system periodically collects and donates this clothing to community centers that provide services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence. Since 1999, we have donated thousands of pairs of gently used athletic shoes to local nonprofits.