An initiative to optimize waste streams in the operating room: RECycling in the operating room (RECOR) project

Deanna M. Martin, Norbert Yanez, Miriam Treggiari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The goal of this project was to optimally sort waste material in the operating room (OR) environment and divert waste such that streams of low-cost disposal, including recyclable material, could be maximized. Using the Lean Six Sigma method, we followed 5 steps to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. Descriptive statistics were used to describe OR characteristics during the study period. Two-sample Student t test with assumption of unequal variance was used to compare the daily weight of solid waste, regulated medical waste, and recyclable waste between the 2-week baseline period and the 2-week implementation period. The weight and number of bags of solid waste decreased by 12% and 6% per OR per day, respectively. For regulated medical waste, the weight and number of bags decreased by 59% and 61% per OR per day, respectively. Recycled-material weight and number of bags increased by 19% and 45% per OR per day, respectively. This work emphasizes the importance and feasibility of implementing a program of appropriate waste segregation in the OR not only to improve safety in disposal practices but also to minimize institutional disposal costs and reduce the environmental footprint generated by the healthcare sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalAANA Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017



  • Operating room
  • Recycled material
  • Waste streams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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