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Practice Greenhealth Partner Recognition Award

Pat Tuller, Director of Dietary (left) and Derek Sailors hold the new plastic cups used in Community Hospital’s Harvest Café to reduce the use of Styrofoam in the landfill. Stacey Aguilar presents the Practice Greenhealth Partner Recognition award recently awarded to Community Hospital for their recycling efforts. Sailors and Aguilar are co-chairs of hospital’s new recycling team.

Practice Greenhealth Partner Recognition Award

(McCook, Nebraska) –Community Hospital was honored May 2010 with a “Partner Recognition Award” by Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations. The award is one of the organization’s Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in health care sector.

“Community Hospital has been singled out for their efforts to protect patient health and preserve the environment,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. “Community Hospital’s approach to health care demonstrates a keen understanding of the impact our activities have on the environment and a commitments to build on the achievements they have made so far.”

Community Hospital Recycling Efforts
This past year, Community Hospital and the City of McCook worked together to make recycling more accessible to the public. A recycling trailer, which was acquired by the city from federal surplus for approximately 25% of the cost of a new one, is parked on hospital grounds to allow the public and the hospital the option of recycling 24 hours a day.

It is equipped with marked bins for plastic, newspaper, magazines, office paper/junk mail, plastic shopping bags, aluminum cans and tin cans. Due to breakage, the trailer is not equipped to accept glass, batteries, white goods, or any other metal. There is also a separate container nearby for cardboard.

Although the trailer is available for the public to use, its accessibility on the hospital campus has allowed Community Hospital employees to step up their recycling efforts. One year ago, the hospital formed its recycling team, Environmental Activities that Really Take Heart, or E.A.R.T.H.

In addition to items from the public, the hospital does its part to recycle. Recycling containers for aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and batteries have been placed throughout the facility. This spring, the E.A.R.T.H. team worked with the dietary department to consider ways to reduce the use of Styrofoam products. Plastic cups with lids were purchased which can be washed in the cafeteria’s dishwasher and reused. Community Hospital purchased 113,500 Styrofoam cups a year prior to adding the reusable cups. The dietary department has noted a marked decrease in the amount of trash collected in the Community Hospital Harvest Café. They are now considering replacing the Styrofoam plates used with a paper plate which will break down much quicker in the environment.

This year, the E.A.R.T.H. team asked employees to participate in a recycling survey to learn the frequency and amount which departments recycle, their roadblocks to recycling and receptiveness to becoming more committed.

The E.A.R.T.H. team would also like to apply for a grant to acquire another recycling trailer, to enable the city to have two 24-hour recycling locations.

“Improving environmental performance is essential for the health care sector,” said Derek Sailors and Stacey Aguilar, Community Hospital co-chairs of E.A.R.T.H. “If we want a sustainable future, every facility needs to become involved. Practice Greenhealth created the vision for our industry. For Community Hospital this is just the start of a permanent commitment.”

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of health care’s environmental champions. This year’s awards were held in conjunction with CleanMed 2010, a global conference for environmental leaders in health care.

The Partner Recognition award is for healthcare facilities that have begun to work on environmental improvements, achieved some progress, and have less than 10 percent recycling rate for the total waste stream.

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Members include hospitals, healthcare systems, businesses and other stakeholders engaged in the greening of healthcare to improve the health of patients, staff and the environment. Practice Greenhealth is a source of environmental solutions for the health care sector. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, healthy initiatives, current trends, news and views, and other links to earth-friendly organizations, visit www.practicegreenhealth.org.

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