Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists' Disposal Practices of Recyclable Solid Waste in the Operating Room: An Exploration of Practice
Over the past 30 years excess hospital waste has turned into a significant environmental problem. U.S. hospitals generate over 5.9 million tons of waste annually5,9,12 with operating rooms contributing to 20-33% of all hospital waste.1,12 Although some operating rooms recycle plastic bottles, paper, and ‘blue wrap;’ U.S. hospitals are not obligated to recycle by law, thus, recycling is not standard practice in the U.S. Recycling programs have been shown to be both environmentally and financially beneficial for hospitals.Studies have been conducted that explored recycling practices of physician anesthesiologists in the U.S and abroad. However, no study to date has explored recycling practices of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists – the largest anesthesia provider workforce in the United States. This survey study was emailed to a random sample of 3,000 members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. A total of 292 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists of 3,000 responses were analyzed, a 9% response rate. Of the survey respondents, 40% recycled in their operating room. Of the survey respondents that had a formal recycling protocol at their medical facility, 83% did not recycle in their operating room and over 80% disposed of various plastic potentially recyclable items in the trash bin. Questions about the availability of recycling bins found limited amenities available in operating rooms. Of survey respondents, 16% had a recycling bin in their operating room. Conclusions from the study include that limited recycling amenities are available in operating rooms, and there is limited information provided to staff about intraoperative recycling.
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