The Healthy People 2020 initiative, led by the federal government, has a number of health-related goals, one of which is improving environmental health, in an effort to ensure the program’s long-term viability and success. Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is a non-governmental organization with a global focus on “responsible consumption and production” and other environmental sustainability initiatives.
Managing Medical Waste Disposal
Blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C have contributed to the 40-year shift in how the United States handles healthcare solid waste disposal. Medical waste, including needles, washed up on the east coast in the 1980s.
Discarded Medical Supplies
State health and environmental agencies regulate medical waste. Even Nevertheless, there are shared characteristics throughout the various states. For example, sharps containers and red bags are the two most common ways to dispose of medical waste.
Municipal Solid Wastes
Medical and dental offices and hospitals typically store their MSW in either white, clear, or black bags before sending them to landfills or incinerators. Paper and plastics make up 40% of US MSW, according to the EPA.
Consider the Consequences
Everyone—from households to businesses to governments—must do their part to ensure the planet’s long-term viability. Because of the far-reaching effects that pollution and other environmental hazards can have on people’s health and happiness, healthcare providers, especially nurses, have a responsibility to prioritize patient safety and promote environmental stewardship.