San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Healthcare Facilities

Hospitals have opportunities to reduce waste, conserve resources and prevent pollution in order to create healthier spaces that enhance healing.

Hospitals in the United States generate approximately 6,600 tons of waste per day – 80% of it is considered non-hazardous solid waste.

From 2006 to 2008, San Francisco’s Department of the Environment managed a health care pollution prevention project through a grant from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The objective of this project was to create a healthcare working group that would share resources on pollution prevention and ultimately reduce the impact on the environment. The project involved:

  • Workshops to educate local hospital staff on health care-specific environmental issues
  • Developing a forum to share information
  • Pollution prevention pilot projects at local hospitals. Some examples include:
    • Developing a pharmaceutical waste fact sheet
    • Organizing a nurse's conference for SF General Hospital staff
    • Completing a janitorial and pesticide product assessment at UCSF
    • Creating a system to segregate and capture pharmaceutical waste at Laguna Honda Hospital.
  • Round table discussions between health care professionals on the following topics:
    • Pharmaceutical Waste Management
    • Proper Medical Waste and Universal Waste Management
    • Waste Segregation – case studies
    • Sustainable Food
    • PVC/DEHP free medical devices
    • Interior Flooring and Green Building

The project was spun off in 2008 to become the Northern California chapter of Practice Green Health.

Are you a Healthcare Professional?

Share your pollution prevention tips on Practice Green Health.

Additional Resources

USEPA’s Resource for Healthcare Professionals
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Bay Area Chapter
Physicians for Social Responsibility-National Chapter

Healthier Hospitals Initiative
Farm Fresh Healthcare Project: How To Guide (PDF) - a project to increase local, organic food from family farmers in Bay Area hospitals
Health Care without Harm - the non-profit sister organization of Practice Greenhealth

Waste Management in Health Care

Our home. Our city. Our planet.