How to help make your health workplace more sustainable
Hospitals and health care account for 7% of emissions in Australia, and we know that climate change impacts negatively on human health. Making changes can save your hospital or health system significantly in terms of costs, energy expenditure and waste disposal. We've collected some ideas below on how you can get involved in being part of the solution and help your workplace become greener.
The 2019 Lancet Report tracks the relationship between health and climate change across five key domains and 41 indicators. The life of every child born today will be profoundly affected by climate change, with populations around the world increasingly facing extremes of weather, food and water insecurity, changing patterns of infectious disease, and a less certain future.
Contact Dr Kate Lardner for more information on this topic: [email protected].
- Do a presentation at your workplace
- Start a green group in your workplace (or find an existing group to join)
- Print out our Workplace Green Group poster and add your contact details to network with colleagues.
Network with other health sustainability advocates
- The Climate & Health Alliance (CAHA) established the Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) network. GGHH is a free, vibrant international community of hospitals, health facilities, health systems and health organizations, dedicated to reducing their ecological footprint and promoting public and environmental health. The network connects and supports people leading the environmental agenda in healthcare institutions so they can share best practices and find solutions to common challenges. CAHA regularly hold sustainable healthcare events, including an annual Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum. Sign up (free) for access to their guidance documents, webinars & recordings.
- Green Practice is a network of doctors working to improve sustainability in their practice
- North East Sustainability & Health Group is a network of clinics in north eastern Victoria.
- Facebook groups
- Engage with your local MP and talk to friends and family about climate change and pollution.
Recycle & reduce waste
- Reduce single-use plastics
- Set up recycling programs - see PVC Recycling in Hospitals for a guide.
- See Recycling and Sustainability in Australian Hospitals, Ausmed
- Case study from Great Ormond Street Hospital on reducing single-use plastics (2 minute video). They saved 21 tonnes of plastic and £90,000.
- Reduce anaesthetic-generated emissions - anaesthetic gases are responsible for over 2% of all heath emissions.
- Change to LED lights
- Energy audits allow your organisation to establish a baseline of your energy usage, and can show you significant opportunities for immediate changes and savings, as well as giving you priorities for future changes and investments. Case study: Energy audit for Benalla Church Street Surgery.
- Switch to 100% renewable energy
- Install solar & batteries
- Switch to heat pumps for efficient and cost-effective cooling and heating (air and water)
Five ways hospitals can reduce their environmental footprint, Forbes McGain, The Conversation
- Employ a sustainability officer and get staff involved
- Reuse surgical equipment where possible
- Recycle better
- Avoid potent anaesthetic greenhouse gases
- Advocate and collaborate towards a low-carbon, low-waste system
- Net zero carbon emissions: responsibilities, pathways and opportunities for Australia’s healthcare sector (Dec 2020), Doctors for the Environment, Australia.
- Case Studies from GGHH Members
- Green Impact for Health - UK toolkit developed to help every general practice improve their sustainability and environmental impact; reduce their harmful impact on planetary health, the risks of climate change and reduce their practice expenses. It answers the question – What can we do in our practice?
- The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (UK) hosts and supports these networks to enable communities of like-minded people to collaborate on sustainability in their clinical specialty or area of interest.
Print out this poster and hang it in your staff room with your contact details to find more like-minded colleagues who could work with you to green your workplace.