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Hospitals Find ROI in Recycling Efforts

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, May 3, 2013

Recycling, regulated medical waste reduction, energy management, and single-use device reprocessing were the four HHI Challenge areas with highest participation levels and represented the areas with the fastest financial rewards, says the report.

"The ROI is quickest on initiatives such as reducing energy expenditures," says Gary Cohen, founder of HHI. "ROI is usually 3.5 years on expenditures in these areas. People can start tomorrow with a whole set of things that barely cost any money at all."

Some hospital CFOs are setting aside green revolving funds to finance these initiatives, which invest in their energy efficiency strategies, says Cohen. Then they are taking the return on those energy and waste reduction initiatives to invest in the next level.

Using less energy and obtaining it from cleaner sources can positively impact the respiratory health of their surrounding communities, as well as their facility costs, says the HHI report.

"If you aren't doing those things you just aren't operating an efficient business in healthcare," says Cohen. "On the waste side, there's almost no capital expenditure at all, it's just process change, [toward] recycling and waste segregation, so that waste goes down, so that doesn't spend any money. That's just attention, it's just a matter of learning from others. Reprocessing saves lots of money."

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