Establishing Sustainable Waste Disposal Practices in Nursing Homes – Part 2

Guest Blogger - Kristen

Sustainable waste management can be practiced by any facility. All it takes is a little planning, concerted effort and concern for one’s community and environment.

• A resident recycling block leader could be elected for each floor or hall. This person would be in charge of encouraging residents to recycle and making sure that each resident’s recycling has been collected each week.

• As an incentive to recycle, each hall could compete to see who can generate the most recycling each month. Or, residents could compete to see who could generate the smallest amount of trash each month. The prize could be something like a guided tour of the local landfill or a party thrown in their honor.

Signs on hallway receptacles should be large, bright and clearly worded and illustrated.

• The facility should create and distribute fliers to be hung in the residents’ apartments as a reminder of which items can be recycled. The flier could be taped to the wall directly above the recycling bin. Also, the facility could place recycling reminder stickers on all trashcans in the facility.

• Residents should be encouraged to call the front desk with recycling questions. To be prepared for these inquiries, front desk staff should have a recycling fact sheet that contains information such as accepted items, collection days and reasons for recycling.

• Once everything is in place, a meeting should be scheduled to inform staff and residents of the new recycling and composting program. At this meeting, residents should be provided with clear descriptions of which items will be collected, instructions on how to prepare the items for recycling (such as rinsing or crushing), where the recyclable items and food scraps should be placed, where the recyclables are ultimately taken, and the reasons why recycling, composting and sustainable waste management are important.

• Through posters in the recreation room and dining room, residents should be encouraged to visit RecycleMoreNC.org for waste reduction information designed for the adult demographic.

• To cut down on expenses and the generation of waste, the dining room should use reusable dishes and utensils instead of disposable ones.

• The kitchen should be stocked with products made from recycled materials.

• It is important that residents see the staff recycling.

• If appropriate washing capability exists, linens should be used instead of disposable paper towels, napkins and wipes.

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