A War on Waste is underway at Fiona Stanley Hospital to increase recycling and reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill each year.
One key aspect of the initiative is being led by Serco’s waste management team, which is focused on educating staff about what can and can’t be recycled, and ensuring appropriate collection bins are in areas where people need them.
Fiona Stanley Hospital is part of Perth’s South Metropolitan Health Service, which is a member of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) Network. Environmental initiatives at the hospital are underpinned by the SMHS Sustainability Framework.
While the hospital’s total volume of waste increases year on year in line with activity and patient numbers, since 2018 there has been a significant reduction in waste to landfill and an overall increase in recycling.
“The hospital generates approximately 2 million kilograms of waste each year. Since 2016 we have reduced the amount of waste that goes to landfill from 66 per cent to 54 per cent through improved recycling activities. This is a really positive improvement and we’re on track to continue this year,” Jay Leonard, Serco FSH Operations Manager – Supply, Linen and Waste said.
PVC is one material that is commonly used in hospitals and while it can be recycled, it needs to be captured separately. In PACU, a new process was introduced to recycle PVC items including HVIV fluid bags, oxygen tubing and breathing masks. Following its success, the initiative will be expanded and trialled in theatre locations and our State Rehabilitation Service in the coming weeks, with additional locations to follow.
The PVC collected from these areas is being used to create road base and impact flooring commonly used in children’s playgrounds.
“The single use requirement of many items in hospitals for infection prevention reasons means that it’s difficult to reduce the volume of waste we generate,” said Jay.
“But what we can do is put in place education, information and the right tools to empower people to recycle as much as possible. This then reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill.”
Work is also underway to identify opportunities to make small changes that could have a big impact long term, such as switching from plastic pill cups to paper pills cups.
“We have lots of conversations with people around the hospital about what they can do in their department or work area to raise awareness about recycling opportunities,” Jay said.
“Inherently, we know that everyone wants to do the right thing – we just need to give them the right tools and education to do so.”
Serco FSH Contract Director, Roz Hanson says the recycling program led by the waste management team is just one way in which Serco is supporting South Metropolitan Health Service’s sustainability strategy as the Facility Management provider.
“Serco chairs the Fiona Stanley Hospital Sustainability Committee, which meets monthly to support and drive initiatives across all areas of the hospital. The committee includes doctors, nurses, administration and representatives from other Serco FSH Facility Management services. This level of integration reflects our strong partnership with the Hospital,” Roz said.
“In addition to the fantastic recycling program underway, Serco’s Estates team proactively manages additional ways for the hospital to save energy and water. This includes energy recovery, economy cycle cooling, energy efficient lighting and control, and water saving taps, showers and toilets.”
Rainwater tanks provide grey water for flushing toilets and urinals, and bore water is used on all gardens and green space. Serco’s Estates team also manages the plants and vegetation around the hospital, including the rooftop gardens, which are Western Australian natives and suited to the local climate.