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Salem surgery center leads green medical offices

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Willamette Ear, Nose and Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery in Salem has always been green, but now the offices are revolutionizing medical waste recycling.

Linda Nishioka, director of facial plastic surgery, couldn’t stand to see so many plastics and other items trashed when they seemed to be recyclable. By working with Garten Services, a nonprofit that offers many recycling services, she was able to introduce most of Willamette ENT’s medical plastic waste into the regular recycling bin.

The biggest barrier to the program? The mindset that medical waste is “contaminated.”

Doctors, nurses and other staff have been trained to throw out all items used with a patient. But a “contaminated” item is only one that bodily fluid or tissue on it—a relatively infrequent occurrence for Willamette Ear, Nose and Throat and Facial Plastic surgery procedures. And yet clean gowns, booties, hairnets and especially surgical supply packaging was overflowing the garbage.

Read more at The Statesman Journal.

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