Health Care Waste

Most health care generated waste is not hazardous, but it is voluminous. Health care organizations have obligations to manage waste in ways that minimize environmental impact and express their status as good citizens of their global, domestic, and regional communities. Resource-rich countries generate on average more than double the amount of hazardous waste per bed per day than resource-poor countries, and waste processing is concentrated in minoritized communities nearly everywhere. Segregating waste and reducing overall volume are key to curbing primary and secondary emissions that contaminate air and water. Decarbonization and moving the health care sector to net-zero emissions are key expressions of sincerity about motivating health equity.
Volume 24, Number 10: E913-1027
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