LAKE FOREST, Ill., April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Stericycle, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL) today announced it has become a member of Practice Greenhealth, a nonprofit organization spearheading positive environmental stewardship and best practices in the healthcare community.
Stericycle also announced it is one of 15 members of the Practice Greenhealth (PGH) Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Business Leadership Coalition leaders. This group assists healthcare facilities in greening supply chains and purchasing products which focus on processes that are less hazardous to the environment.
As a member of the EPP Coalition's Greening the Supply Chain Initiative, Stericycle is helping to shift the health care market to more environmentally preferable services for managing all waste streams. Hospital senior leadership is ultimately responsible for all waste from the time it's generated to the point that it is safely and legally disposed. Leaders who make a commitment to uphold water and air quality are protecting the environment from hospital waste. Approaches include reducing drugs from the public water system, using reusable sharps containers to minimize landfill use, and increasing recycling percentages across all waste streams.
More than ever hospital leaders are prioritizing and implementing sustainable practices to minimize their environmental footprint and comply with complex regulatory standards. As the American healthcare sector accounts for 8% of the total U.S. carbon footprint(1), these leaders are acutely aware of the environmental and economic impact of becoming more green.
Evidence of this priority is seen from a Practice Greenhealth survey of 1,550 hospital leaders in 2009 that found 67% have a committee in place to lead their facility in environmental sustainability planning. Additionally, data from 2009-2010 Stericycle Lunch & Learn education seminars, found that 54% of 1,200 respondents representing 600 hospitals had established formal green teams.
Many healthcare providers are choosing to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. Stericycle partners with hospitals by first evaluating 10 different waste streams to assess reduction opportunities. With up to 80% of waste streams being highly regulated, Stericycle works to ensure hospitals are compliant with current regulations and standards.
Evaluating all options for reducing waste, hospitals can opt for reusable sharps containers that decrease carbon footprints. Each reusable container keeps 600 disposable ones out of the landfill. A Carbon Footprint Estimator tool(2) measures the hospital's impact to include annual data on the pounds of plastic and cardboard diverted from landfills. This number equates to specific gallons of gas not burned. Since 1986, more than 111 million disposable containers have been kept out of U.S. landfills by facilities using Stericycle services.
Recycling to reduce waste is one strategy that benefits hospitals by engaging all employees. A Stericycle 2010 healthcare waste stream survey of 400 U.S. hospitals found that the average hospital recycles less than 14% of its total waste - highlighting opportunity for improvement. Currently, PGH's Hospital Partners for Change have an average percentage of recyclables from total waste of 27%(3) (the high is 35%).
Many services used in health care have environmentally preferable alternatives that can eliminate hazardous waste, save energy and water and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Stericycle facilitates evaluation of alternative materials and provides compliance training that may reduce or eliminate environmental impact and assures compliance with complex regulations and Joint Commission standards.
To learn more about Practice Greenhealth's Greening the Supply Chain initiative and the EPP Business Leadership Coalition, visit: http://practicegreenhealth.org/initiatives/greening-supply-chain.
Lake Forest, IL-based Stericycle (NASDAQ: SRCL) is a leader in healthcare-related services that protect people and reduce risk. With more than 552,000 customers worldwide, Stericycle has operations in North America, Europe, Latin America and Japan. Visit www.stericycle.com.
(1) The University of Chicago Medical Center, December 2009
SOURCE Stericycle, Inc.