What Are Green Initiatives
17 June 2022
While the healthcare sector is undoubtedly crucial for maintaining public health and wellness, its impact on the environment can be counterproductive and adversely affect people in the long run.
The carbon footprint of the United States healthcare system can have dire far-reaching consequences. With hospital care contributing 36%, physician and clinical services contributing 12%, and prescription drugs contributing 10% of the country’s carbon emissions, carbon neutrality and green initiatives have become a top priority in the battle against climate change.
Understanding what green initiatives are and everything they entail is vital to making practical improvements to the healthcare sector. After all, a healthy environment is crucial for effective healthcare and long-term wellness.
What Are Green Initiatives: The Gist
Over 1.2 billion jobs are dependent on a stable environment and ecosystem, which is why companies across all sectors are working to integrate green initiatives into their operations.
From manufacturing to delivery, green initiatives aim to preserve and improve the environment by leveraging sustainable, eco-friendly, and environmentally safe practices and alternatives.
This involves efforts to reduce pollution and waste, conserve resources, and maintain an ecological balance by:
- Conserving energy or shifting to renewable energy
- Reducing waste or using biodegradable or reusable/recyclable products
- Transitioning to locally-sourced materials or eco-friendly delivery methods
Green initiatives are crucial for environmental, economic, and health-related reasons, and are overall beneficial to companies in all industries.
Economic Benefits of Green Initiatives
Going green can significantly lower costs and save on energy and water consumption expenses. It can also lead to various tax incentives.
Using renewable energy or recycling water can reduce their respective utility bills, while recycling materials can lower production costs.
Additionally, by using greener, non-toxic practices, companies may reduce the amount spent on healthcare for employees and boost their workforce’s morale.
As the shift towards environmentally conscious living increases, “green” companies have proven more profitable. This is because customers actively seek out goods and services from companies with clear initiatives that work towards improving the environment.
Health Benefits of Green Initiatives
Green initiatives can reduce air, water, and even soil pollution, all of which are essential to improve the overall health of a community. Decreasing pollutants in the environment significantly limits the toxins entering the body. This can promote better health and lower mortality.
Air pollution can lead to respiratory disorders, polluted soil can affect crops, and contaminated water can spread diseases. Reducing pollution through green initiatives is thus a solution to improve the general population’s health.
Environmental Benefits of Green Initiatives
Green initiatives are advantageous to the environment as they reduce pollution and carbon emissions that deplete the ozone layer. Simple measures also promote the general wellness of flora and fauna of a region, leading to a more sustainable and safe future for generations.
Considering the importance of green initiatives and the healthcare industry’s effect on the environment, it is crucial to understand how concrete improvements can be made in this sector.
Green Initiatives in Healthcare
Hospitals, pharmacies, independent clinics, and other healthcare facilities must opt for green initiatives to limit the impact of their operations on the environment.
Medical sustainability will lead to improved health in the community, thereby assisting healthcare providers in the long run.
Here are some ways that healthcare can be redefined for a greener future:
1. Reducing Waste Related to Cafeteria Food
Hospital food services have a negative impact on the environment through every stage of their supply chain. From production, procurement, distribution, preparation, consumption, and disposal, hospital cafeterias must make efforts to be more sustainable and decrease waste.
Sourcing food from local, sustainable businesses can reduce waste related to production and procurement. Meanwhile, using eco-friendly, biodegradable cutlery instead of disposable plastic will reduce harm.
Once the food is consumed, waste must also be sorted in the proper bins and sent for recycling or composting.
2. Water Conservation
Simple conservation efforts to reduce water wastage can go a long way. This can involve a basic change like shifting to automatic taps—people tend to leave traditional taps running longer than they need to.
Faucets, pipes, and other water system elements must also be frequently checked and replaced to prevent leaks.
Additionally, bore wells and rainwater harvesting can optimize conservation efforts. Recycling wastewater in flushes is also a great way to reduce water consumption in healthcare establishments.
3. Greener Waste Disposal
Hospitals produce around 5.9 million tons of waste. Ensuring that this is handled in an environmentally friendly manner is crucial to making all green initiatives effective.
Regulated medical waste must be disinfected before it is sent to a landfill, and disinfection methods must also be improved to consume less energy and limit waste and pollution.
4. Chemical Safety
Precautions must be taken to ensure maximum chemical safety in medical facilities. This is important not just to safeguard the environment but also for the health of hospital patients, visitors, and staff.
Certain chemicals such as LCDs, CRT monitors, fluorescent lamps, and others can be dangerous in specific conditions. Protocols ensuring chemical safety must thus be maintained at all times to limit potential environmental damage.
IMANA’s Green Initiatives for Healthcare
With increasing natural disasters and drastically changing weather conditions, public healthcare and climate change are intrinsically intertwined and must be treated accordingly.
We conduct webinars, conferences, and social media campaigns to raise awareness about impending climate disasters. We also cooperate with public health organizations to advocate for adopting green initiatives and actively decrease our carbon footprint in our operations.
With all hands on deck, it is possible to make the change before it is too late, and you, too, can join in our climate advocacy.