Less Waste

Investing in patient care through responsible resource management

Total Waste Summary Report Donut Chart

University Hospitals Total Waste Summary Report January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

UH waste management efforts contribute to increased public health by reducing waste sent to landfills and conserving natural resources, reducing pollution, positively engaging staff and visitors, and investing disposal cost savings into patient care. 2014 efforts focused on expanded medical plastics recycling and improved tracking of construction and demolition (C&D) waste and recycling. UH’s participation in the HHI Less Waste Challenge reinforces our efforts to drive changes in waste management at the facility level. Seven wholly owned medical centers and one partnership hospital have been tracking waste streams internally and reporting to HHI since 2012, with two additional medical centers joining in late 2014.


Recycling rates across the system in 2014 remained high for the health care industry, at nearly 32 percent. Single-stream recycling, increased medical plastics recycling at several large medical centers and a revamping of systemwide composting are all efforts to decrease solid waste and increase recycling.

Medical Plastics Recycling Highlight

UH more than doubled the volume of medical plastics it recycled as a part of Greening the OR efforts in 2014, allowing for the addition of 17 local jobs for developmentally disabled adults sorting plastics at recycler Buckeye Industries, and diverting 50 tons of waste from the landfill.

Construction and Demolition waste and recycling

In conjunction with the creation of the systemwide Sustainable Construction, Renovation and Maintenance Policy adopted on Jan. 1, 2014, a vendor template for collecting construction and debris waste recycling metrics was also reviewed and vetted. The template has been able to successfully address past challenges in C&D recycling rate tracking, and waste data tracked for several large projects in 2014 revealed a 93 percent recycling rate. C&D recycling rate tracking will be expanded more comprehensively in 2015.

Chemical and Hazardous Waste

The thoughtful engagement of dedicated frontline staff in sustainability initiatives led to creative advances in the area of chemical and hazardous waste minimization:

Jason Glowczewski, Director of Pharmacy

Jason Glowczewski, Director of Pharmacy

A chemotherapy dose rounding program created by the Director of Pharmacy for UH community hospitals, Jason Glowczewski, led to a significant decrease in medication purchase costs while also reducing charges to patients and environmental pollution typically related to pharmaceutical waste disposal.

Ren Brumfield, Chemical Safety Specialist

Ren Brumfield, Chemical Safety Specialist

UH Case Medical Center safety office employee and Green Team member, Ren Brumfield, created simplified and visual-based educational materials for use in clinical areas to decrease accidental contamination between waste types and help avoid higher costs in the disposal of hazardous waste. The financial and resource savings from both initiatives allow for increased investment into patient care.


The entire Cleveland region, including UH, faced a significant challenge in the area of organic food waste diversion due to the closing of the only composting facility in the immediate area in mid-2013. In 2014, an Ohio-based composting service was found, piloted and rolled out to the system’s medical centers through the last nine months of the year.

Year of Zero Waste, 2014

Sustainable Cleveland 2019, the regional initiative to create positive change in areas of high environmental impact, celebrated 2014 as the Year of Zero Waste. The UH Case Medical Center’s Wolfgang Puck Cafeteria remained a zero-waste cafeteria throughout 2014, despite composting challenges and Matthew Pietro, Sustainability Specialist, represented our hospital system on the Zero Waste NEO working group. The group’s efforts led to several community building accomplishments including large zero waste events, the creation of a Zero Waste Primer for use by area communities, businesses and individuals, and a city-wide celebration for the Year of Zero Waste.

10 Environmental Excellence awards

UH earned 10 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award. The awards recognize our health system’s achievements in environmental-sustainability programs and improvements during 2015.

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