The effort focuses on replacing limited-life transport packaging materials—such as cardboard boxes, wood pallets and plastic film—with durable, reusable alternatives. To help its members with this transition, Novation is working closely with Practice Greenhealth and the Use Reusables campaign (www.UseReusables.com), a joint project of public agency StopWaste.Org and the Reusable Packaging Association (Reusables.org), with financial support from US EPA's Climate Showcase Community programme.
Novation's goals with this initiative include:
helping hospitals implement and sustain reusable transport packaging alternatives in both distributed and direct-from-supplier supplies, where feasible;
helping hospitals identify and overcome common roadblocks with suppliers in their effort to introduce reusables;
developing a toolkit for use by all hospitals interested in implementing reusable transport packaging with their distributors and suppliers; and
bringing awareness to the benefits and applicability of reusable transport packaging opportunities.
"We have launched pilot programs with several hospital members we serve, and are optimistic that we will see adoption and success," said Jennifer Waddell, RN, Senior Clinical Manager at Novation. "A shift to reusable transport packaging is possible but requires collaboration between the hospital and the distributor or supplier. When hospitals push for reusable packaging, suppliers are more likely to put these initiatives in place."
"We firmly believe that efforts to reduce health care's environmental footprint can not only have a direct, positive effect on patient and caregiver safety, but also can help hospitals reduce their overall costs," Waddell added.
Although reusable packaging requires an upfront investment, the long-term savings far outweigh initial costs, as the repeated purchase and handling of one-time use packaging is eliminated.
"We commend Novation for their leadership in helping hospitals drive the conversion of their supply chains to reusable packaging," said Justin Lehrer, programme manager at Stopwaste.Org, the public agency leading the Use Reusables campaign. "I am confident that the organizations behind this initiative can provide the expertise, influence and buying power to overcome the challenges in this effort, and will ultimately contribute to a transformation of transport packaging practices in the health care industry."
Novation is the supply chain expertise and contracting company for the USA's leading not-for-profit hospitals, pediatric facilities and academic medical centres. Novation has been an active advocate for the successful linkage between environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility and economic efficiencies.
Novation has a strong track record of supporting sustainability initiatives. For example, in October 2011, Novation announced its support of Practice Greenhealth's Greening the Supply Chain Initiative and its Standardized Environmental Questions for Medical Products. And Novation has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth's Champion for Change Award for nine consecutive years.