Joint Commission CEO wants to “dispel the myth” that decarbonizing healthcare is costly

Read the full story at MedCity News.

Some actions to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint actually will save money, said Jonathan Perlin, CEO of the nonprofit national and international accrediting organization.

Citizen Food Waste Attitudes and Behaviours Out of Home

Download the report.

WRAP is working with Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) businesses to help the sector reduce wasted food. This includes targeted support for pubs, hotels, restaurants, Quick Service Restaurants, Healthcare, Education, Leisure, Services and Staff Catering. Through initiatives such as the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, Guardians of Grub and the Courtauld Commitment 2030, WRAP is helping the sector to deliver a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

WRAP research shows that the majority of food waste arisings in the UK is generated by households, but the waste coming from the HaFS sector is not negligible – 1.1Mt is the total food waste arisings from the sector; and on average, 18% of the food purchased is being thrown away. Food waste costs the HaFS sector £3.2 billion every year.

WRAP undertook research about citizen food waste out home for the first time in 2012. Since
then, WRAP conducted follow up research in March 20203 (unpublished) before building on the
findings in 2022. The main findings address the following research questions:

  • What is the frequency of eating out of home; and how has this changed as a result of the cost-of-living crisis
  • What are the estimated levels of food left uneaten out of home; when and what type of food is typically left uneaten and in which venues and occasions it occurs
  • What happens to food left uneaten
  • Why do customers leave food when eating out and what are their attitudes to uneaten food
  • What are citizens’ portion sizing behaviours and what are the barriers to enhance them further

The latest research updates the insights and assesses any changes that might have occurred
after the changes that have taken place in the HaFS sector with businesses and organisations
increasingly expected to undertake measures to ensure sustainability in their operations and
supply chain.

Illinois hospital network signs up for community solar

Read the full story in pv magazine.

A multi-hospital network in Carbondale, Ill., signed up for long-term community solar agreements with three Nexamp projects in Illinois providing about 6.5 MW apiece.

The impact of climate change on the US healthcare system

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Changing weather patterns are impacting the spread of water-, vector- and food-borne diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that climate change will cause an additional $2 billion in healthcare costs by 2030 due to increased air pollution, an increase in heat waves and wildfires, and more frequent extreme weather events. These factors have already impacted hospital emergency rooms across the country and have led to a higher number of patients with respiratory illnesses like asthma.

Understudied class of PFAS found in healthcare facilities

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

Researchers have detected an understudied class of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as fluorotelomer ethoxylates (FTEOs), in indoor dust and industrial wastewater samples collected across two provinces in Canada. They found the highest concentrations of FTEOs in dust found in healthcare settings, such as a hospital, a pharmacy, and a medical school, and in effluent produced at a healthcare linen cleaning facility (Environ. Int. 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107634).

Hospital Food Waste: Reducing Waste and Cost to our Health Care System and Environment

Saber, D.A., Azizi, R., Dreyer, S., Sanford, D., Nadeau, H., (February 25, 2022) “Hospital Food Waste: Reducing Waste and Cost to our Health Care System and Environment” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 27(2). [open access]

Abstract: Food waste economically and environmentally impacts every industry in the U.S., including healthcare systems. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy provided the framework for this study that examined how hospitals in one rural northeastern state processes food waste. Methods included semi-structured interviews with hospital nutrition service experts were conducted at seven facilities across the state. Findings indicate: (1) food is largely disposed of via in-sink disposal processes, making quantification difficult; (2) food donation is a viable humanitarian and waste prevention strategy, but is not widely used because of litigious concerns; and (3) culinary education promotes food repurposing strategies. The discussion highlights the need for nurse leaders to inform policy makers about changes that could positively impact the environment while reducing the waste stream and hospital expenditures.

MnTAP publication highlights work of 2022 P2 interns

The 2022 MnTAP Solutions magazine highlights the projects led by our 16 talented interns and the companies that supported their recommendations to reduce waste, water, energy. These projects resulted in proposed solutions that could save the companies $3,068,000 annually as well as significant environmental impacts.

‘If I were a hospital, I’d be reading the tea leaves’: Pressures grow on the health care industry to reduce its climate pollution

Read the full story at STAT.

Flooding, heat waves, wildfires, and other climate-driven weather extremes in recent years have catapulted hospitals into emergency mode and devastated the communities they serve, with Hurricane Ian’s deadly rampage through central Florida only the most recent example. 

But while hospitals might seem to be the unwitting victims of climate disasters, the U.S. health care system — and hospitals in particular — shoulder a good deal of the blame. The health care sector accounts for about 8.5% of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and about 4.5% of worldwide emissions. These emissions are generated mostly from running energy-draining facilities 24/7, and from the vast array of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food, and other goods and services produced, purchased, and sometimes wasted, in the course of providing care. 

Some hospitals have begun to tout their efforts to combat climate change, claiming to have achieved 100% renewable energy or “carbon neutral” status. They offer scattershot examples of progress in reducing their emissions, citing “meatless Mondays” in hospital kitchens or improved recycling programs. Yet hospitals have long been laggards in even tracking and reporting their emissions and waste — much less reducing them. Today there is no way to hold the country’s 6,000 hospitals accountable and benchmark their performance.

CDs to flexible biosensors: Researchers discover easy, inexpensive upcycling method

Read the full story from Binghampton University.

Since 1999, more than 9 billion music CDs have shipped in the U.S. That’s not counting worldwide sales, DVDs, software discs or videogames. Sadly, discarded CDs end up in landfills with negative environmental consequences.

New research from Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science offers a second life for CDs: Turn them into flexible biosensors that are inexpensive and easy to manufacture.

In a paper published this month in Nature Communications, Matthew Brown, PhD ’22, and Assistant Professor Ahyeon Koh from the Department of Biomedical Engineering show how a gold CD’s thin metallic layer can be separated from the rigid plastic and fashioned into sensors to monitor electrical activity in human hearts and muscles as well as lactose, glucose, pH and oxygen levels. The sensors can communicate with a smartphone via Bluetooth.

Washing dishes with superheated steam more effective, earth-friendly

Read the full story from AIP Publishing.

Conventional dishwashers often do not kill all the harmful microorganisms left on plates, bowls, and cutlery. They also require long cycle times that use large quantities of electricity, and the soap pumped in and out is released into water sources, polluting the environment.

Superheated steam dishwashers could provide a more effective, environmentally friendly solution. In a recent article published in Physics of Fluids, researchers from the Technical University of Dortmund and the Technical University of Munich simulated such a dishwasher, finding that it killed 99% of bacteria on a plate in just 25 seconds.