Sustainability our very own war on waste – building a green hospital

Mrs Belinda Henderson1, Mr Rajiv  Bawa1, Ms Renae McBrien2, Mr Brendon Seipolt3

1Infection Management Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia,
2Department of Radiology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia,
3Environmental Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia


Health care is the second largest contributor to landfill following the food industry, both landfill and incinerating waste have environmental and social costs. Given the increasing salience of environmental issues in health, facilities are attempting to reduce impact by waste reduction and recycling. Facilities are implementing strategies to reduce waste, little attention has been given to landfill diversion, types of procured goods, and onsite recycling.

The PAH is a large tertiary referral hospital based in Metropolitan Brisbane. Exploration into ecofriendly hospital products and ways to reduce waste provide financial and ecological benefits.


Since 2015 the PAH has been an innovator in sustainability, recycling cardboard, paper and kimguard®. From 2017, we started exploring ways to also recycle hard and soft plastic, PVC, stainless steel, copper, aluminium, wax and food waste. The principles of Infection prevention and control were always considered. An alternative sugarcane kidney and injection tray saved 680,000 items ending up in landfill, these items are now recycled. The innovation of having our own shredding machine saved disposal costs and generated an estimate profit of $3,764 per month. Hard plastic recycling avoids landfill costs and provides $100 per tonne profit back to the organisation. An overall reduction of 778,690kg in waste from landfill.


PAH has reduced both general and clinical waste. Having a green army driving our war on waste has reduced the environmental impact in a cost-effective manner. Innovations engaging staff and reducing our environmental footprint – leading the way nationally.


Belinda is an experienced Infection Control Practitioner who is a past President of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) and is an active member of the ACIPC education committee. Her practice role is as a leader of the infection control team at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Her qualifications include a Masters of Advanced Health Practice in Infection Control and she holds Expert level credentialing with the College. Belinda is passionate about all things infection prevention.

Rajiv is an experienced Infection Control Practitioner who works within the infection control team at the PA Hospital in Brisbane. Rajiv is passionate about infection control and the environment and is a sustainability champion.

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