Waste Minimization: A Survey in Iranian Public and Private Hospitals

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Health Management and Economic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Health Services Administration, School of Management and Economic Sciences, Islamic Azad University-Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

3 Health Management Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Health Services Administration, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background and Objectives: Hospitals usually generate large amounts of hazardous waste. If not managed properly, hospital waste can pose threats to public safety and damage the environment. Waste minimization is a waste management approach that focuses on reducing the amount and toxicity of hazardous wastes. This study pursues a two-fold purpose: 1) to gain insight into hospital waste minimization performance in Iran using a sample of public and private hospitals , 2) to compare WM performance between public and private hospitals.
Methods: Data were collected using a questionnaire, designed based on WHO measures of hospital waste minimization. Ninety individuals from four public and three private hospitals were enrolled in this study using stratified sampling. Data was summarized using descriptive statistical methods. T-test and ANOVA were used to compare the mean values.
Findings: Average waste minimization score of the surveyed hospitals was 2.92 (from 5). No significant differ‌ence in overall waste minimization performance was found between public and private hospitals. Waste segre‌gation performance was found to be significantly higher in public hospitals, whereas private hospitals showed higher performance in managing storage of chemicals and pharmaceutical products.
Conclusions: According to our results the status of waste minimization is unsatisfactory in Iranian hospitals. Our results also reflect on lack of employee familiarity with the concepts and practices of waste minimization in Iranian hospitals. Insignificant difference in score of waste minimization between public and private hospitals undermines the role of hospital ownership as a determinant of hospital waste minimization performance. Overall, this study em‌phasizes the immediacy of devising effective strategies to address the challenge of hospital waste management.