In 2009, an anonymous survey of Virtua Health employees was conducted by the health system's Green Team to gauge attitudes about green initiatives and to learn more about the respondents' behaviors relative to green initiatives. An analysis of the survey resulted in three key points.

Employees and clinicians supported the concept of green efforts. Of more than 1,300 employees surveyed, 93 percent felt managing waste is moderately to very important, with 75 percent saying it is very important. More than 400 respondents said they were interested in joining teams responsible for green projects in the workplace.

People were less likely to recycle at work than at home. Although 95 percent of survey respondents recycled at home at least most of the time, only 70 percent recycled at work most of the time. Among the 70 percent who recycled all the time at home, only 25 percent recycled all the time at work.

Clinicians were confused the most by RMW and, as a result, misused red bags. Of clinicians who completed the survey, 88 percent admitted they did not know what was supposed to go into the red bags, and 42 percent said they knowingly threw regular trash into the red bags. When asked to specify why they threw regular trash in the red bags, clinicians responded:

  • Cannot find a regular trash can (29 percent)
  • Not sure if item should go in a red bag or regular trash, so I err on the side of caution (25 percent)
  • Red bags are not convenient (20 percent)
  • Item being thrown away contains a patient label (17 percent)
  • I'm in a hurry (8 percent)
  • It's just not important to me (1 percent)

Source: Virtua Health

Return to related article:Virtua Employees Minimize Waste to Maximize Savings 

Publication Date: Friday, April 15, 2011