Featured Article| Volume 224, ISSUE 6, P1370-1373, December 2022

The impact of waste reduction in general surgery operating rooms

Published:October 16, 2022DOI:


      • Operating rooms are responsible for a significant portion of hospital waste.
      • An intervention to reduce unused supplies in surgical packs is feasible.
      • Eliminating unused surgical items from standard packs is cost-saving and reduces waste.



      Operating rooms are responsible for a significant burden of waste and negative environmental impact. This study aimed to reduce OR waste and improve both environmental impact and hospital cost savings.


      The unused items in two standard single-use surgical packs were tracked for general surgery cases. A new pack was created excluding the most frequently unused items. The feasibility of the new pack was then tested, and a projected cost savings analysis was performed.


      A total of 35 general surgery operations were tracked using two standard packs ($89.51 or $93.68 per case, each 23.2 lbs). The new pack ($46.88 per case, 20.8 lbs) was then successfully used in nine cases. The projected cost-savings of substituting the new pack was $45,719 annually with a 2437 pounds annual waste reduction.


      Simple and feasible adjustments to standard single-use surgical packs can have a significant impact on waste reduction and cost-savings.
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