Study Confirms Daniels Sharpsmart Helps Hospitals Reduce Carbon Footprint

A recent scientific study confirms that Daniels Sharpsmart reusable sharp containers (RSC) help hospitals reduce their carbon footprint by reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Most recently, Daniels Sharpsmart containers have helped the 850-bed Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) obtain an 84 percent reduction in their carbon footprint for sharps waste.  The sustainability paper by Terry Grimmond of Grimmond and Associates and Sandra Reiner, NMH Infection Control and Prevention Coordinator, was recently published online in the International Solid Waste Association's, Waste Management & Research journal.

"A top priority for hospitals is finding ways they can practice green healthcare," says David Skinner, vice president of Daniels Sharpsmart.  "Thus, it's imperative that we remain on the forefront of discovering new methods that can help hospitals reduce their carbon footprint while still delivering optimal care to patients."

Hospitals currently account for 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are striving to increase their sustainability and to decrease their global warming potential (GWP). Of their emissions, 54 percent are derived from supply chain goods and services. By targeting supply chain points and replacing disposable sharp containers (DSC) with Sharpsmart RSC, Daniels Sharpsmart explored how NMH could reduce their GWP. 

The authors estimated that U.S. hospitals dispose of their needles, scalpels, etc., into 35 million disposable (DSC) or reusable (RSC) sharps containers, which generate GHG in their manufacture, use and disposal. By using reusable sharps containers, the study revealed that NMH was able to reduce its annual GWP by 127 MTCO2eq (84 percent) as well as diverting 31 tons of plastic and 5 tons of cardboard from being deposited in landfills. In addition, by using RSC there was a reduction in the number of containers manufactured from 34,396 DSC annually to only 1,844 RSC in year one only. The study also stated that NMH costs (for containers and disposal) were reduced by 19.2 percent by using Sharpsmarts (which in previous studies were associated with significant reductions in sharps injuries). 

The percentage reduction in NMH's sharps management GWP using Sharpsmarts exceeds the 28 percent target required of United States federal hospitals by 2020 and the 2050 target of 80 percent required by hospitals in the United Kingdom. The authors currently estimate that the total GWP associated with sharps containment and disposal in the United States is approximately 100,000 MTCO2eq per annum.  If reusable sharps containers were used in all of the hospitals in the United States, approximately 64,000 MTCO2eq could be saved.

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