Monetary Value of the Hospital Recycling Project

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Monetary Value of the Hospital Recycling Project

Monetary Value of the Hospital Recycling Project

The sustainability project comprises of the Hospital Recycling Project whose main aim is to enhance the involvement of staff in the recycling process, create a better environment and reduce costs related to waste management. To achieve the objectives of the project, people must be given continuous training to gain knowledge and enhance the recycling process used in the hospital. The training process addresses the triple bottom line model in the recycling process. This paper is an extension to the paper which brainstormed the costs and benefits. It provides monetary value to the costs in implementing the hospital recycling project.

Using the triple bottom line concept, it is possible to estimate the project’s financial value, its degree of social responsibility, and its ecological impact (Denne, Irvine, & Atreya, 2007). The direct costs fall under the three facets of the triple bottom line concept. In the financial aspect of the project, money should be used in procuring and supplying waste management services, collection bins, fuel for transportation, and means of transporting the wastes and wages for the people involved. The social facet involves training of personnel for the project. This includes the cost of hiring a trainer or educators, the cost of setting up a learning centre, costs of procuring and supplying education materials, building a training room, marketing and creating awareness of the training program. Recycling training includes the cost of decreasing environmental pollution by decreasing the quantity of waste produced (Denne, Irvine & Atreya, 2007). This in turn reduces the size of landfill needed and the amount of poisonous gas emitted to the environment. Environmental costs may include the costs of incineration sites, dumping sites, reducing air emissions, landfill costs and costs of reducing damage to the environment.

Physical resources are tangible things that are utilized in implementing the recycling project. The physical resources needed in running the project include buildings, vehicles, landfills and waste handling equipment. The handling equipment may include shovels, spades, gloves, waste disposal bins, incinerators and neutralizers. The type of handling equipment and tools used depend on the type of medical waste produced. Regulated medical waste such as used syringes and needles and hazardous waste such as radioactive waste must be handled by experts. Confidential wastes such as blood samples and human specimen samples should be disposed confidentially while general trash should be disposed as such. Wastes which are fit for recycling should be recycling. In so doing, the need for disposal sites reduces leading to environmental conservation. Any form of recycling spirals its way and ends at costs. Recycling needs less labor and lower social, financial and environmental costs.

The costs of workforce or personnel are as diverse as the projects. Personnel costs are divided into training costs, salaries and wages. In order to implement a hospital recycling project, people should be trained. Training costs should not be too high. It is important to train people who have background knowledge, experience and some skills in hospital waste recycling to lower the costs. One way of reducing the costs is by hiring people who have at least a college or university degree in a related field. The cost of hiring includes the cost of advertising the jobs, the cost of conducting interviews, selecting the right candidates, on-the-job training for successful candidates, allowances, wages and salaries, and other benefits as may be deemed necessary by the project managers. On the other hand, the costs of not doing the right thing are high.  For instance, the costs of not hiring the right person, the cost of failing to train personnel and the cost of failing to pay workers may subvert the mission for which the project is established.

It is evident that recycling saves costs. Modern technologies can enhance cost-saving and provide better solutions in medical waste recycling. In order to choose the best recycling solution, it is important to evaluate the cost of adopting each solution with respect to the triple bottom line facets. The cost of each recycling method on the people, the planet and the profits should be ascertained. Modern medical waste recycling techniques include thermochemical incineration, electro-pyrolysis conversion to useful energy and sterilization. The processes are described in detail in the following paragraphs (Hospital Corporation of America, 2015).

Incineration is a combustion process in which waste is burnt. All types of wastes that cannot be reused can be incinerated. The only difference with recycled incineration is the end product. Modern technologies make it possible to get energy from incinerated materials. The energy can then be used in powering other devices or facilities. Incineration plants, also called waste to energy plants, utilize the heat from the combustion process to generate superheated steam which drives turbines and generate electric energy. Steam can also be used be used in its form in heating houses thus decreasing the cost of, or totally replacing alternative heating solutions.

Other innovative technologies make it possible to convert landfill gas to renewable energy by using micro-turbine technology, bioreactor technology, microbial technology or biogas generation technologies. Micro-turbine technologies convert landfill gas into electricity through gas turbines. The gas is tapped, cleaned and passed through gas turbines which generate electricity. The fuel cell technology converts methane gas from landfills into hydrogen gas which can be transported or stored for use as a fuel. Bio-digesters convert biodegradable waste biomass into biogas which is a source of energy. Thermal conversion processes can also be used in converting waste biomass feedstocks into chemicals, gases, fertilizers, oils, hydrocarbons, or heat depending on the needs.

Medical wastes such as syringes and injection needles can undergo sterilization recycling. The use of sterilizable syringes is a cost effective strategy in reducing costs of medical equipment. Used syringes are passed through controlled chemical cleansing processes which remove any chemicals before they are re-used. They can also be sterilized by use of radiations or cleansing agents prescribed in the field of medicine. For the process to be cost effective, the cost of sterilizing should be lower than the cost of procuring new medical supplies. Other disposable medical supplies can also be re-used after thorough sterilization processes instead of purchasing new ones. Sterilization recycling should not cost lives.

Indirect costs may be encountered in the process of implementing the project. Indirect costs are costs which cannot be directly attributed to the project.  They include costs such as the cost of administration, cost of security and the cost of depreciating of tools, equipment, training facilities and training rooms. The costs of unhealthy employers, replacement of retired employers and the costs of replacing run-away employees may constitute indirect unanticipated costs.

There are many regulatory requirements that must be considered when dealing with medical wastes. Since medical wastes comprise of complex matter, care should be taken when recycling them. Medical wastes include all wastes produced in hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, dental facilities, blood banks, medical research centers, and medical laboratories. The wastes include contaminated blood, unused body parts, excreta, plastics, infected beddings and all forms of infected and non-infected used and unused materials that may be declared waste by health care practitioners. State agencies in various states of the United States develop and administer regulations regarding medical wastes. The federal government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates medical waste disposal. For instance, the EPA promulgated legislations concerning stringent emission standards in 1991 due to numerous concerns on air quality near medical waste incineration plants. The Environmental Conservation Law states waste disposal standards which should be adhered to when disposing or recycling medical wastes (Rich, Singleton & Wadhwa, 2013).

Many factors and barriers affect the costs. Just like in any project, the cost of the project may be affected by the economic situation in the country. Changes in prices of the equipment and tools used in the project may vary from time to time depending on forces of demand and supply in the market. Prices depend on the market forces and the state of the economy.  The Triple Bottom Line concept of analyzing the sustainability and costs of a project does not give a standard of expressing various types of costs in monetary terms (Schroeder, Thompson, Frith & Pencheon, 2013). For instance, it is difficult to express the cost of emitting or the cost of reducing emissions of dangerous gases to the environment. In the current project, the researcher shall provide cost estimates for the hospital recycling project. The costs are provided in the table below.

 

Table 1: Project cost estimations

                            Description Monetary Value ($)
Project Financial Costs  
1.      Waste management vendors 5,000
2.      Trucks and Fuel 20,000
3.      Driver salary 2,000
4.      Collection Bins 5,00
5.      Waste collection and handling equipment 3,500
Sub-Total 30,500
Project Social Costs  
1.      Hiring staff 1,000
2.      Education Training

2.      Trainer salary

2,500
3.      Staff salary 10,000
4.      Training room 4,500
5.      Education materials Supply 4,000
6.      Advertising, Marketing and communications 2,000
Sub-total 24,000
Project Environmental Costs  
1.      Landfill cost construction 5,000
2.      Incineration sites 6,500
3.      Waste treatment site (energy generation, emission control) 15,000
Sub-total 25,500
Project Indirect Costs  
1.      Depreciation of equipment 3,000
2.      Security costs 4,000
3.      Administration costs 6,000
4.      Compliance to government policy 7,000
5.      Sub-total 20,000
Miscellaneous Costs 10,000
Sub- Total 10,000
TOTAL RECYCLING PROJECT COST 105,000

 

Figure 1: Pie chart of cost estimates

The costs estimates have limitations. Some costs are one time while other costs are recurrent. For instance, the cost of getting the services of waste management vendors, fuel and drivers recurs every month while the trucks, waste collection and handling equipment and bins stay for a long time after purchase. It is not easy to accurately approximate social costs because some staff may require more resources to recruit, train and equip than others. At the same time, salaries may depend on the level of education, knowledge and skills possessed and the level of experience. The costs of some social factors such as training materials, advertising for positions and announcements may vary depending on the need. It is assumed that the facility shall be handled well and it will depreciate at a moderate rate. Security to the installation is included to protect the project in case it handles poisonous or hazardous substances. It is also assumed that the government documentation process is seamless and fairly simple to avoid extra costs. Environmental costs on the other hand depend on the type of medical wastes produced and the recycling technology to be used.  For purposes of the current paper, it is assumed that a simple incineration technique shall be used to burn combustible medical wastes.

Reference

Denne, T., Irvine, R., & Atreya, N. &. (2007). Recycling: Cost Benefit Analysis. Ministry for the Enviroment. Auckland: Covec Ltd.

Hospital Corporation of America. (2015). HCA Today Blog. Retrieved from Going Green for Good: https://hcatodayblog.com/2017/10/26/going-green-for-good/

Rich, C., Singleton, J., & Wadhwa, S. (2013). Sustainability for Healthcare Management: A leadership imperative. Salina: Edwards Brothers, Inc.

Schroeder, K., Thompson, T., Frith, K., & Pencheon, D. (2013). Sustainable Healthcare. UK: A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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