Case Study: How One Hospital Used Reverse Logistics to Green their Facility

Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil was able to green their operation in a creative way that engaged employees, held producers accountable, and saved unnecessary waste from entering the waste stream. In 2012, the hospital realized that SMS blue wraps used to pack surgical boxes were creating a lot of waste for the hospital. Using reverse logistics, the hospital was able to return the packaging to the company who produced it.

A Brazilian law requires the participation and responsibility of manufacturers to help manage their products throughout their life cycle. The hospital was able to use this law to start a program in which Kimberly-Clark, who produces the blue wraps, takes them back to go in for recycling or re-use. In the first year of the program the hospital was able to divert 40 tons of waste from entering landfills.

Single use devices are increasingly used in the healthcare system often due to health concerns over re-use. Some items, like shipping materials or packaging can often be treated as non-hazardous materials. Medical waste was a $9.5 billion market in 2019 and is projected to grow 6.2% by 2026. By taking advantage of reverse logistics the industry can better be a part of the circular economy.

Albert Einstein Hospitals continue to reduce their impact on the environment. According to their latest sustainability report, in 2018 the company received a large percentage of their energy from renewable sources and reduced their water use by 9.2% from the previous year. Waste management practices continue to remain a priority and the company has implemented a composting program for organic waste in kitchens at the Vila Mariana facility.