Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, has taken several steps to reduce waste and save resources in its Be Square, Be Green sustainability program launched in 2008. It's now preparing to expand the program.

Early on, the hospital decommissioned its regulated medical waste incinerator, where most of the waste previously was disposed, and replaced it with a new waste-management building. Eliminating the incinerator saves eight million gallons of water a year and improves air quality, says Dennis Kephart, senior director of integrated support services and facilities management.

Medical waste now is processed, sterilized, shredded and hauled away to a waste-to-energy incineration facility instead of being disposed on-site, says Kephart. Educating staff on waste separation reduced infectious waste by more than 95,000 pounds per month and increased recycling by an additional 19,000 pounds per month.

The hospital has started using microfiber mops, which cuts water and chemical use by about 90 percent. It also switched to reusable sharps containers from disposable ones, which eliminates more than four tons of plastics from the waste stream a year.

The program's Green Team also will implement a composting plan that will involve food waste being collected and hauled to a commercial facility to turn it into fertile soil. Additionally, the hospital plans to take steps to cut energy costs by $130,000 annually.