With 4 billion metric tons of solid waste generated globally each year, as well as growing concerns on global warming and environmental conservation, eco-friendly business practices are more important now than ever. Utilizing reusable products as well and recycling and composting waste are all effective contributions to the environmental cause, but another option not often considered is converting waste to energy (WTE).
Waste fuels are post-production or post-consumer substances that have no better purpose than to be used for energy production. They come in many types, ranging from banana peels, to sawdust, old tires, landfill gas and even sewage sludge.
Eco-friendly business practices
Despite the plethora of waste fuels at our disposal, only 11 percent of it is used as a WTE source. This is partially because not only do companies have to invest in and potentially develop WTE strategies and technologies, but they must then manage the capital and operation costs of maintaining that consistent fuel conversion as well.
This makes the implementation of WTE schemes for medical and healthcare organizations particularly difficult, since waste management is already poorly funded and managed on a global scale. It’s estimated that over half the world’s population is at risk of illness due to medical waste and improper disposal practices.
Regulations mandate that certain medical waste must be disposed of through methods such as incineration in order to prevent the spread of infectious materials. However, 75 to 85 percent of medical waste is in fact comparable to every-day municipal waste, which presents the potential for ameliorating WTE practices.
U.S. hospitals alone produce 2.3 million tons of waste each year.
This is not only environmentally harmful, but can be very costly to dispose of. While the investment in WTE methods is rather daunting for an already struggling health care system, the transition could very well pay off in the long run. WTE methods have proven to save organizations money compared to other energy sources, and provide other non-monetary benefits as well.
While reducing our carbon footprint seems to hold the spotlight reason for implementing WTE methods, it is just one of the many beneficial impacts of utilizing such practices that could positively affect the healthcare industry.
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.