Since its opening in 1989, Barcelona Hospital has been very concerned with proper waste management. Their efforts were intensified with the arrival of Mavi Moré as Environmental Technician and the nomination of Maria del Mar Fernandez as Head of Service, who implemented an ecological consciousness that went far beyond the correct sorting and recycling of waste, where the classification of residue is, for health and hygiene reasons, already regulated.
“At the time, 15 years ago”, recalls Maria del Mar Fernandez, “there was little support from the government towards recycling, and it was far from cheap. However, we took the decision to start sorting plastic, cardboard then gradually extended the classification to fluorescent items, batteries, with Barcelona Hospital assuming the cost of waste management.”
Today more than 6 tons of waste are managed, split into 4 groups generated by each health centre: Groups 1 and 2 non-hazardous waste; groups 3 and 4, hazardous waste. “Of these”, says Mavi Moré, “over half can be recovered, recycled or reused.”
She was one of the driving forces behind the implementation of a management plan for Barcelona Hospital, which establishes circuits for classification, disposal and recycling. A Committee on Waste and Environment was created to include personnel in charge of prevention, cleaning, nursing, quality, etc. to involve transversally the whole organisation in the tasks of correct waste management.
Both Mavi Moré and Maria del Mar Fernandez believe that the correct separation of hospital waste affects the smooth functioning and the protection of hospital patients as well as staff: “In fact, the induction of new staff includes specific training in waste classification and management. We also conduct internal audits every year and every two months, collect improvements raised by the Committee on Waste and Environment. Although daily monitoring is essential.”
When the management of Barcelona Hospital offered the two professionals the opportunity to recommend Expense Reduction Analysts to conduct an analysis of cost management, they agreed with enthusiasm. “We knew that with Expense Reduction Analysts, we could count on a highly specialised expert in the field of waste management, with experience and an external outlook, and it made us feel confident about the project” said Maria del Mar Fernández. As for Mª José Balaguer, the Expense Reduction Analysts expert who led the project, she declared that “Barcelona Hospital surprised us by the high level of environmental consciousness and by how well the waste circuits were defined both to classify and separate the waste and to avoid any unnecessary contact that could cause infection or incident.”
For Expense Reduction Analysts, the challenge during the 3 months of work was to find improvements within an area that was already very well managed. However, they achieved savings of 15% on the total cost of waste management through the negotiation of better prices with suppliers. They also innovated in the area of paper and cardboard recycling that were already handled by Barcelona Hospital, managing to have this part of the waste recuperated and sold and bringing in some money to Barcelona Hospital.
“We are pleased with the work realised in collaboration with Expense Reduction Analysts, as they have helped us introduce some improvements in operations, achieve considerable savings and help us strengthen our environmental policy” says Mavi Moré.
Medical gases 14%
Waste Management 14%
Cleaning products 19%