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Healthcare Business Solutions
April 14th, 2014

Let’s not “waste” this opportunity: Understanding waste in the healthcare industry

When talking about sustainability, the term “waste” is used frequently, but it can have many different meanings. In the healthcare industry, waste is produced as medical waste, hazardous waste, landfill waste, and even process inefficiencies. We see hospitals and others in the supply chain examine the components that contribute to this waste. Identifying opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle can save money and help the environment.

The Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals provides a breakdown of healthcare waste:

According to the Roadmap, “The majority of the materials procured by a hospital ultimately become waste, resulting in nearly 7,000 tons of waste every day and $10 billion annual in disposal costs across the healthcare industry.” Reducing that $10 billion cost is a huge opportunity to shift toward a more sustainable model.


Practice Greenhealth also provides a list of waste categories and definitions.

At Cook, we know we can play a role in reducing waste in healthcare and the healthcare supply chain. Over the next few weeks, we will share examples and ideas of how hospitals and suppliers can reduce waste to see environmental and financial benefits.

We would love to hear from you. What opportunities do you see for the healthcare industry to improve its processes, reduce waste, and decrease its environmental impact? Email us at