A few days ago, a customer turned a phrase that embodies what Bigbelly does with surgical precision and profound understanding.
By setting goals to reduce collections to no more than 8,000 per year (an 80% gain) and introducing recycling to the front-of-house, raising diversion to 40% higher than the current level, a single hospital on average could divert 50 tons of recycling from landfills. There are 5,686 registered hospitals in the United States alone, according to the 2013 AHA (American Hospital Association) Annual Survey. That’s 284,300 tons of recycling that could be diverted from waste landfills from US hospitals alone.
Front of house waste collection is the tip of an operational iceberg of every hospital’s day to day activities. What we see are trash cans, people disposing of and collecting trash, and from time to time overflows and litter.
Trade-offs are a fact of life. Evaluating trade-offs can help set priorities, for example by making us confront options and select the ones that really matter. But in other cases, the long-term effect of trade-offs can lead to outcomes that we would prefer to avoid.