Submission of Sustainable Ideas

Submission of Sustainable Ideas

As of now, it is also possible to submit applications from the medical faculty and the UKB on the topic of sustainability within the framework of the University Sustainability Program.

This budget is used to support investments that lead, for example, to a sustainable reduction in energy, material or water consumption, wastewater, exhaust air or waste, but also nature conservation measures or those aimed at changing behavior (e.g. information offerings). Applications with a pilot character are given priority. If measures are associated with an improvement for the work of the applying agency, an own contribution increases the probability of funding.

A review panel with members from students, scientific staff, professors of the medical faculty, as well as areas of administration and the GB6 of the UKB will review the applications together with Prorector Annette Scheersoi and Dean Bernd Weber.

Please submit applications directly to the university:

Already Funded Projects

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© ShrinkMyTrash

ShrinkMyTrash - Sustainability at the Hospital

Social awareness of sustainability has increased in recent years. The Clinic for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (CAI) took this development into account by founding the "Green Team" under the leadership of Prof. Coburn.

The main goal of the interprofessional group is to bring the topic of sustainability into clinical focus in order to design work processes according to the 5-Rs of sustainability (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Rethink).

In a first project, KAI's Green Team was able to reduce emissions from volatile anesthetics, which act as highly potent greenhouse gases, by almost 100 t CO2 equivalents within half a year. Our projects are always accompanied by scientific research. In addition, we would like to sensitize future medical personnel to the topic of "sustainability in healthcare" already during their training.

For our latest project, called "ShrinkMyTrash," we were able to attract funding from the sustainability funding pot of the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn at the end of last year. In Germany, five to six kilograms of waste are produced per hospital bed every day. This means that not only does the amount of waste produced represent an environmental burden, but also its improper disposal. This is where our "ShrinkMyTrash" project comes in. The aim is to improve waste disposal in the first mile. The project consists of two interlocking measures.

The first measure involves the implementation of comprehensive, professional disposal in the clinical area. On the one hand, this is intended to increase the recycling rate and, on the other, to establish safe, environmentally friendly disposal of medications. It is essential to prevent drugs from leaking into the groundwater because they are often environmentally toxic substances. Propofol is a relevant substance for anesthesia due to its high PBT index (persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity).

Another important class of drugs are antibiotics, which are used in almost all medical fields. In addition to an inadequate infrastructure, a lack of knowledge is a frequent obstacle to proper disposal in clinical practice. Therefore, accompanying training measures and information materials are created. In addition to using already established communication channels such as the employee newspaper "ukb mittendrin" and the intranet, we will also take advantage of the opportunities offered by new digital media. For this purpose, we are striving for cooperations with other institutes and departments at the UKB.

The second measure of "ShrinkMyTrash" involves scientific analysis. On the one hand, a before-and-after comparison is carried out. On the other hand, the ecological effects are analyzed by means of a life cycle assessment with the GaBi software. The knowledge gained in this process is intended to ensure sustainable success.

The long-term goal is to serve as a model for other hospitals and medical facilities.

If you have any questions or are interested in further information or cooperation, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Philippe Kruse.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Colourbox

Sustainable Surgery

In addition to a great deal of packaging waste (plastic, cardboard), complex disposable devices are used, particularly in the surgical disciplines, which are thrown away after use. This also includes systems for sealing and connecting organs and tissues - e.g. stapling instruments. In addition to plastics, these devices also contain recyclable materials such as titanium, aluminum, etc. Ultimately, only small portions of the expensive and complex devices remain in the patient's body (e.g., small titanium staples or clips) and the majority of the device is discarded. Until now, these have been disposed of with the normal surgical waste from the operating room.

The project is a pilot for the recycling of resource-limited recyclables and also promotes awareness of more sustainable use of equipment in the workplace.

More information follows.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Klinik für Anästhesie

Upcycling: From Breath Lime to Fruit Cultivation

Breathing lime is used in the application of the anesthetic rebreathing technique to remove carbon dioxide from the patient's exhaled air. It mainly contains calcium dihydroxide (CaOH2), but also sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and calcium chloride (CaCl2). Due to its chemical composition, breathing lime is classified as "hazardous waste" and must be disposed of in accordance with waste code (AS) 180106. The user is legally obligated to dispose of the waste in a legally compliant manner and to provide proof of correct disposal. The soda lime cartridges used in anesthesia must be changed from a CO2 concentration of 1%, at the latest after 4 weeks. The Clinic for Anesthesia and Surgical Intensive Care Medicine (CAI) uses approx. 3000 of these cartridges per year. With a filling weight of approx. 1.75 kg, this results in approx. 5 tons of hazardous waste per year.

The company Dräger, manufacturer of most of the anesthesia devices used in CAI, actively offers the possibility of recycling some of its products. Used breathing lime cartridges, for example, can be taken back and dismantled. The lime produced after one of the reprocessing processes can then be made available to agriculture as a soil conditioner, for example.
The Green Team (GT) of CAI would like to use this possibility of upcycling and accompany the project scientifically. The user-friendliness of the process and its efficiency are to be examined, as well as the ecological and economic benefits compared to the previous procedure. The project is intended to act as a beacon and, if the results are positive, to be transferred to other hospitals. We are very grateful that our work in this area is being supported by the "sustainability funding pot" of the medical dean's office!

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.

LED Retrofit Hematology and Transfusion Medicine

Sustainability is the buzzword of our time.
It is not only a trend among companies but also a necessity in hospitals. As UKB, we want to do our part by integrating sustainability into our hospital. We have been implementing climate protection projects for many years.

Our next project is to replace the outdated lighting with LEDs in the UG, Hematology and Transfusion Medicine.

Hematology and Transfusion Medicine was built in 1967, the laboratories take up 70% of the total floor space, and the lighting in the basement accounts for about 6% of the total electricity consumption in the building. This is a considerable number, which we want to reduce through the planned measure. We will replace 457 outdated light fixtures. Not only do they cost an incredible amount of electricity, but they are also an environmental problem to manufacture as well as to dispose of. The LED retrofit will save us approximately 13,501 kWh of electricity each year, which is equivalent to 6 tons of carbon dioxide less in the atmosphere and 2,795 euros saved. 6 tons of CO2 saved by our project is equivalent to 37,037.03 km, which is almost equivalent to driving around the world in an electric car. Who benefits most from the implementation of this project is our environment based on the reduction of 6 tons of CO2/a, the patients and employees due to the improved lighting situation and the UKB itself.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© ShrinkMyTrash

Bicycle Parking at Nußallee 11

According to the German Federal Statistical Office, more than two-thirds of all working people currently drive to work by car and only 9% regularly cycle. The high volume of car traffic leads to the well-known problems in cities such as increased CO2 emissions, full parking lots and crowded streets.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Institutes of Physiology I and II are located at Nußallee 11. A total of at least 120 employees work there. In addition, there are about 400 students who attend courses in the building. In contrast, there are 16 bicycle racks at the building, which are often overcrowded. These bicycle parking spaces are also not lockable, which leads to regular bicycle thefts. As a result, it is unattractive to come to Nußallee 11 by bicycle or bicycles are parked in inconvenient areas. On the initiative of staff from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a suitable area was found at the rear of the internship building for the construction of a lockable bicycle parking area with 15 bicycle racks. The UKB sustainability program supports the construction of the parking space. This should make it more attractive to come to work at Nußallee 11 by bicycle. We hope that this will motivate employees to come to the institutes by bicycle instead of by car in the future.      

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Colourbox

Food for Future – on the Way to Sustainable Hospital Catering

The project "Food for Future" addresses meat consumption in hospital catering at UKB. High meat consumption has a negative impact on individual and planetary health, as especially high consumption of red or processed meat is associated with a higher risk of nontransmissible diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or cancer. A meat-free diet is one of the most effective steps to reduce an individual's carbon footprint, as the production of plant-based foods uses water more efficiently, protects biodiversity, and releases fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere overall. In addition, factory farming impacts animal welfare.
The core objective of our project is therefore to scientifically accompany the conversion process to (nearly) meat-free catering at the UKB and to support it with evidence-based advice. 

At the same time, for many patients, hospital food is a key aspect of their stay that influences patient satisfaction.

In Phase 1, we will first test a modification of the current menu in online experiments. Studies show that small changes in menu design (e.g., presenting vegetarian dishes and non-vegetarian dishes together) can increase the choice of vegetarian dishes. The modified menu will then be introduced and tested at UKB to see if the new menu design leads to a reduction in meat consumption. These modifications have the potential to directly reduce meat consumption at UKB.

In phase 2, the meat offering in the UKB will then be successively reduced. The "Health for Future" group will support the catering with vegetarian recipe suggestions.  At the same time, the recipes will be made available to patients so that they can recook the food after their hospital stay. Patient satisfaction will be recorded throughout the process. By switching to a meat-free menu that takes patient acceptance and patient satisfaction into account, UKB is making an important contribution to sustainable and healthy nutrition. In addition, we provide patients with recipes on how to integrate a meat-free diet into their daily lives after their stay in the hospital.

Our project thus offers the possibility of a long-term change in behavior. Through scientific monitoring, the success of the project can be shared with other hospitals and the UKB can take on a pioneering role in the conversion to sustainable hospital catering.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Privat

"DIY Bicycle Service Stations"

In the sustainability commission meeting on 06.06.2023, a request for four "DIY bicycle service stations" from the company "malu" was brought forward by the GB6 mobility management team at the UKB. These are approx. 150 cm high columns with integrated tools. This is intended for small repairs to bicycles.

Due to a lack of possibilities to obtain tools for small repair measures on the UKB campus, these "DIY bicycle service stations" should lead to an expansion of the offer for sustainable mobility. Reaching the bicycle workshop of the AStA, which is located in Poppelsdorf, is not reasonable, depending on the damage to the bicycle. This currently leads to discontent among cyclists and in some cases to a switch back to motorized private transport. To counteract this and to achieve further positive synergy effects, the vandalism-proof DIY bike service stations are an important component of the sustainability strategy.

The specifications of the bike column:

  • Standard 8 tools and air pump
  • Screwdriver slot
  • Screwdriver cross
  • Adjustable tensioner
  • 2 x tire levers
  • Allen wrench 4/5
  • Flat tensioner 13/15
  • Dimensions 200 x 200 x 1460 mm

Base plate 300 x 300 mm

Own weight 34 kg

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© colourbox

Quantitative Analysis of Waste in Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery

In the 1980s, findings on infectious diseases led to increased use of single-use items and a corresponding increase in the amount of waste. The surgical disciplines are leading the way in this area, especially orthopedics and and trauma surgery with their many complex interventions.

The quantity and composition of the waste has not yet been scientifically investigated. The amount of regular, partially recyclable household waste, and of infectious waste, which is energy-intensive and expensive to dispose of, is as yet unknown. It is believed that 50-90% of the waste in the OR is mistakenly disposed of as biohazardous waste. This erroneous disposal not only results in increased toxic fumes and heavy metals such as mercury when this waste is incinerated, but it is also particularly costly to process. Our goal is to first determine how much regular and infectious waste is produced in the operating room by the different procedures (including elective vs. emergency procedures, primary hip TEP vs. revision arthroplasty). Subsequently, our project has the further goal of analyzing whether and where there are potential savings opportunities, not only to protect the environment, but also to minimize costs.

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