Sustainability in the DEC
The DEC is committed to improving sustainability including monitoring and moderating the resources we use.
Our journey to improved sustainability began many years ago with the replacement of all our internal lighting to LED. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of electricity we use, reduced costs to the business due to extended lifespan of each globe, more control over the amount of light we expose ourselves and our patients to and, of course, a reduced impact on the environment with the reduced need to replace globes.
We are currently investigating how we can reduce the paper usage within our facility. We are moving towards the use of electronic minutes for our meetings. Our staff are being educated on the importance of managing our resources and are encouraged to use duplex printing where possible as well as reducing the number of colour documents we use. This reduces the need to use multiple cartridges in our printers which has the added benefit of reducing the printing costs. We have converted our fax machine to email resulting in only necessary documents being printed rather than all documents. We are able to upload pdf documents into patient records and this saves time and operational costs.
Our team are working to align ourselves with the sustainability programs across the St Vincent’s Campuses, including St Vincent’s Clinic, St Vincent’s Private Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital. These include simple things like the collection of coffee pods which are collected by St Vincent’s Hospital for recycling.
The Gastroenterological Society of Australia has formed a Sustainability Committee. We will seek to align ourselves with the recommendations of the Committee to improve our impact on the environment.
As an Endoscopy Unit we adhere to the highest standards of infection control. As a result we use chemicals to disinfect our endoscopic equipment. Our cleaning technicians are working with our supplier to ensure we only store chemicals in quantities necessary for our immediate use. The plastic bottles used to store the chemicals are not biodegradable and by managing the quantities we use and store we reduce the amount of waste we are sending to landfill.
Waste education is being provided to our staff to ensure waste is managed effectively, especially within our procedure rooms. We know that endoscopic procedures contribute to a large percentage of the medical waste produced on a daily basis. The vast majority of consumables we use during procedures are single use (infection control requirements) including the personal protective equipment used by our clinical staff in procedure rooms, and through ensuring waste is disposed of in the correct bins we can assist St Vincent’s Private Hospital to direct waste for appropriate disposal.
The DEC has added sustainability as a standing agenda item to all internal meetings.
We have more work to be done in this area and together we can make a difference. The Governing Body and all staff are committed to making changes within the DEC to improve our contribution to sustainability.