Do you know what happens to O.R. waste at your hospital? Is it incinerated? Autoclaved? Placed in a landfill? Do you know the difference between regulated medical waste and noncontaminated solid waste? Are these accurately separated at your institution? Do you recycle in your O.R.? What happens to all the glass vials you use? The plastic syringes? Empty intravenous fluid bags? Unused intravenous medications? On average, how many bags of waste are being removed from your O.R. at the end of each case?

The issue of health care-related environmental impact must be considered. The field of anesthesiology is not immune from this harsh reality. However, a recent survey of ASA members found a striking lack of knowledge of, and engagement with, environmentally conscious anesthetic practice. Though 80 percent of respondents reported an interest in O.R. recycling, less than 30 percent worked in institutions where anesthesia-related waste was recycled.1...

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