Establishing Sustainable Waste Disposal Practices in Nursing Homes – Part 1

Guest Blogger - Kristen

Every facility, whether it is a mall, hospital, community center or nursing home, should have recycling receptacles for use by staff and patrons. Each facility has unique characteristics that affect how waste is managed at that facility. To execute a successful recycling program at a nursing home, the needs of the residents and the functions of the facility must be taken into consideration.

Like any facility that congregates large numbers of people, a nursing home generates a lot of trash. Therefore, to keep this trash from ending up in the landfill, the following points should be considered when establishing a recycling program in a nursing home.

• To begin a recycling program, the manager of the facility should call the local government solid waste contact to find out if it offers collection for that particular nursing home. If it does not, the manager will have to set up collection service with a private solid waste collection company.

• Likely, the person designated to collect the recycling from the receptacles in the building will be the same person who already collects the trash. Therefore, this person should be made aware of the importance of sustainable waste management and of the separation of trash and recyclables.

• The outside recycling Dumpster must be located near the trash Dumpster so the person taking out the trash and recyclables is not tempted to toss the recyclables in the trash simply because the trash dumpster is closer to the building.

• Each resident should be provided with a small recycling bin for his or her room.

• The kitchen should set up a compost pile into which food scraps can be thrown. The compost pile would generate topsoil for use on the facility’s grounds. To collect the food scraps, the dining room should have different receptacles for recyclables, food waste and regular trash in clear view of diners. The receptacles should be clearly labeled to avoid confusion.

Unused medications should be disposed of properly. The manager should contact local government officials to find out if medication take-back programs exist in the area.

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