Mag. Dr. Kornelia Giersig

Head of the Waste Management Department
Innsbruck University Hospital



Case Study: Managing healthcare (and related) waste in a large hospital
– Constant observation and adaption of procedures are the keys to success.

Prípadová štúdia: Riadenie nemocničného (a súvisiaceho) odpadu vo veľkej nemocnici
– Neustále pozorovanie a prispôsobovanie postupov ako kľúč k úspechu.


Managing waste in a large university hospital is complex. In a broader sense, waste management includes the management of information, employees, cleaning and logistics companies and extends to political committees. Every day there are small or large implementation decisions, reviews and new planning.

At the same time, conservative forces within the institution, employees and even authorities oppose updates. Planning therefore requires great sensitivity, persuasion, time and perseverance. The goal orientation must always be kept in mind and the paths to get there must be continually updated.

In my lecture, I describe planning processes for the Innsbruck State University Hospital, a company of Tirol Kliniken GmbH. Legislation at EU and national level specifies which categories of waste must be disposed of separately. Waste management in hospitals begins with procurement, continues through waste separation, collection and transport logistics up to the point at which the waste is handed over to an authorized disposal company.

What are the factors behind a successful waste management system? Legal compliance, sustainability from an ecological, economic and social perspective and last but not least the correct implementation of the specifications.

What might good planning look like? It requires master plans regarding the implementation of legal requirements, employee motivation and controlling. The aim is to keep the expensive fractions as low as necessary, to optimize disposal costs and to close material cycles.

Using practical examples, it is shown how material flows can be controlled and logistics can be optimized through planning. A key aspect of implementation is integrating employees and ensuring acceptance of new systems. Monitoring and staying on track are necessary to ensure the implementation of the plans.



Doctorate rer. nat. (General microbiology, focus on biotechnology).

1994 to 1997:

Expert for waste management in TBU GmbH (Technisches Büro für Umweltschutz, Innsbruck (focus on supra-regional waste management concepts e.g. Tyrol, Vinschgau, Ljubljana).

1997 to 1999:

Laboratory manager of a microbiological research laboratory (strain improvement) in Biochemie GmbH (Sandoz) Kundl, Tyrol.

Since 1999:

Head of Ecology Department and waste management officer at the Innsbruck State Hospital, University Hospitals.

Since 2000:

Lessons on waste and recycling management at the Innsbruck Nursing School (AZW/FHG), introductory days for new doctors, at the MCI

Since 2006:

Dangerous goods officer for the Innsbruck State Hospital, University Hospitals: Introduction of dangerous goods management for classes 2, 3, 6.1, 6.2, 7 and 9.

Since 2008:

Member of the standardization group for Önorm S2104 “Waste in the medical sector”


Introduction of a UN 3373 biological substance shipping system (150 senders, 4000 packages per year).


Introduction of central collection points for sending study packages.


Introduction and coordination of central waste and dangerous goods management for all Tirol Kliniken GmbH locations (Innsbruck State Hospital – University Hospitals, Hochzirl-Natters State Hospital, Hall State Hospital, Schwaz District Hospital) and work as hazardous goods officer.


Collaboration on the new version of the Önoms S 2104 and co-author of the concept “Waste management in medical facilities”


Establishment of the “Procurement and Resources” specialist group as part of the sustainability initiative for the entire Tirol Kliniken GmbH


Development of the “Sustainable Procurement Guideline” with the involvement of key internal and external stakeholders

2020 – 2022

Implementation of emergency disposal in the context of the Corona pandemic (first hospital affected in Austria) and monkeypox


Lectures at the University of Innsbruck, Medical University of Innsbruck



Established in 1991, Tirol Kliniken GmbH (formerly known as TILAK – Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten GmbH until June 24, 2015) stands as the largest and most diverse healthcare provider in Western Austria. Comprising a network of specialized facilities, Tirol Kliniken GmbH serves as the backbone of medical care in the Tyrol region. Functioning as the umbrella organization for the hospital network, Tirol Kliniken GmbH oversees and coordinates the operations of its various facilities.


Our primary objective is to improve the wellbeing and health of people. However, we are also quite aware that the way we act as a company has a great and lasting impact on the environment and the living conditions of future generations. In recognition of that impact, we decided to not only work for people’s health today, but also work towards the sustainable health of our community in the future.
Our work in this area began in the fields of construction and sustainable energy, but we are now working on various sustainability projects company-wide. Employees are as equally embedded as our partners and stakeholders, and we are in the process of defining our strategic sustainability goals, guided by the SDGs. We are rethinking health and doing our part to inspire and create sustainable change.

Tirol Kliniken GmbH in Numbers

For detailed statistics and performance reports regarding Tirol Kliniken GmbH and its individual locations, please refer to the respective annual reports.

Key Components of Tirol Kliniken GmbH

The Tirol Kliniken GmbH network encompasses a diverse range of healthcare institutions, including:

  • Three Regional Hospitals:
    • Innsbruck Regional Hospital
    • Hall Regional Hospital
    • Hochzirl – Natters Regional Hospital
  • One Nursing Care Facility:
    • Tyrolean Nursing Care Center
  • One Educational Institution:
    • West Tyrolean Training Center for Healthcare Professions (AZW)
  • Eleven Subsidiary Companies

Innsbruck Regional Hospital: A Center of Excellence

As the central hospital, A.ö. Landeskrankenhaus – Universitätskliniken Innsbruck offers a comprehensive spectrum of medical disciplines. With its team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals, cutting-edge technology, and rapid implementation of innovative procedures, Innsbruck Regional Hospital has established itself as a trusted partner for both basic healthcare and internationally recognized specialized medical services.

Hall Regional Hospital: Providing Modern Medical Care

A.ö. Landeskrankenhaus Hall delivers a wide range of modern medical treatments, nursing care, and therapeutic interventions. Already the second-largest hospital in Tyrol, this facility is poised to gain further prominence in the coming years through ongoing expansion efforts.

Hochzirl – Natters Regional Hospital: Specialized Care amidst Breathtaking Scenery

Ö. Landeskrankenhaus Hochzirl – Natters, with its two locations nestled amidst the captivating Tyrolean mountains, offers a specialized healthcare focus. Hochzirl houses an internal medicine department with acute geriatrics and a neurology department. The internal medicine division boasts particular expertise in rheumatology and metabolic disorders. Additionally, geriatrics plays a pioneering role in its collaboration with surgical departments. The neurology department specializes in acute post-treatment care for damaged nervous systems and chronic conditions, utilizing state-of-the-art robotics among its treatment modalities.

Natters serves as a modern specialized hospital, concentrating on pneumology and internal medicine, and equipped with its own anesthesiology institute. The pneumology department stands as the leading lung department in Western Austria, serving as a center for the diagnosis and treatment of all lung, respiratory tract, and chest diseases. Key areas of focus include the management of obstructive respiratory diseases, interstitial lung diseases, lung transplant recipients, tuberculosis, post-Covid patients, and sleep lab patients.

The close collaboration between the anesthesiology and pneumology departments has established a bronchoscopy competence center recognized beyond Tyrolean borders. Further areas of expertise within the pneumology department encompass endoscopy, the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary space-occupying lesions, RCU, and ventilation.

The internal medicine department comprises two divisions:

  • An acute care unit for treating cardiology and postoperative cardiac surgery patients, offering continuous telemetry monitoring for multiple patients.
  • An oncology ward providing care for cancer patients, including palliative care.

Across the entire hospital, the department’s staff members provide diagnostic services, particularly abdominal, vascular, and thyroid sonography, as well as echocardiography, long-term ECG monitoring, long-term blood pressure measurements, and exercise testing.

Anesthesiology further emphasizes pain therapy and emergency medical care.

Tyrolean Nursing Care Center: Specialized Care for High-Needs Patients

Landes-Pflegeklinik Tirol opened its doors in 1999, specializing in the care of individuals with high nursing needs. As the sole facility of its kind in Austria, it delivers high-quality nursing care coupled with medical supervision and a comprehensive range of therapeutic interventions.

West Tyrolean Training Center for Healthcare Professions: Nurturing the Future of Healthcare

The West Tyrolean Training Center for Healthcare Professions (AZW) in Innsbruck and Hall annually educates hundreds of individuals into competent and sought-after healthcare professionals. Exciting educational pathways in the healthcare sector, well-founded training programs, and modern facilities and teaching aids distinguish this institution as the largest training center for healthcare professions in Western Austria.

Subsidiary Companies: Expanding the Healthcare Landscape

Tirol Kliniken GmbH also holds various shareholdings, including BKH Schwaz (2002), the Hospice in Hall in Tirol (2001), and service companies.