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June 17, 2009 > Washington Hospital "Green Team" Leads the Way in Creating a Sustainable Future

Washington Hospital "Green Team" Leads the Way in Creating a Sustainable Future

These days everyone is concerned about conserving energy, recycling, reducing waste and becoming as "green" as possible. From our elementary school classrooms to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., protecting the environment and conserving our resources have become urgent priorities for our communities, our country and our world.

Washington Hospital recognizes the critical link between the health of each individual and the health of the environment. As the hospital reaffirms its commitment to promoting a healthier community, it's taking a leading role in environmental awareness.

Washington Hospital's "Green Team" is an institution-wide initiative that embraces environmental responsibility as a core value. The Green Team was established in 2008 and is comprised of more than 20 employees that work in different parts of the hospital.

"Washington Hospital's Green Team is really diverse and everyone comes from a different cross-section of departments," says Paul Kelley, Green Team Committee Chairperson and manager of the Hospital's Biomedical Engineering Department. "That's one of the keys to making to making our green initiative work because every single department and every member has a different perspective on a variety of issues."

Over the last year, the Green Team has identified several sustainable (green) projects and has implemented a house-wide recycling program that includes recycling wood, cardboard, batteries, and electronic equipment. All Styrofoam has been eliminated from the hospital cafeteria and products with Mercury and Silver have also been greatly reduced or eliminated.

"We believe Washington Hospital has a role in promoting the physical health of residents but also in creating a healthy environment for all of us," says Kelley. "By increasing environmental awareness and accountability, Washington Hospital is setting a good example for the community to become more energized and excited about their recycling programs at home."


Washington Hospital Receives Environmental Achievement Award

Washington Hospital is a charter member of Practice Greenhealth, an organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations and Green Team has joined up with several key environmental organizations such as the Union Sanitary District, PG&E and the City of Fremont Waste division to help develop environmentally friendly solutions.

Washington Hospital was honored in May with a "Partner Recognition Award" by Practice Greenhealth for its commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. The award is one of the organization's Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in the health care sector.

"Washington Hospital has been singled out for their efforts to protect patient health and preserve the environment," said Bob Jarboe, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. "Washington Hospital's approach to providing health care demonstrates a keen understanding of the impact our activities have on the environment and a commitment to build on the achievements they have made so far."

The Practice Greenhealth review committee noted that even though Washington Hospital had only recently formalized its comprehensive program in 2008, the Hospital has made a lot of progress. The review committee noted projects such as: recycling, food services composting, electronic recycling, donation of used medical equipment and an annual swap meet for surplus office supplies, single use device reprocessing, implementation of reusable sterilizer containers, and green certification for Washington Hospital's planned construction.

"Improving environmental performance is an important objective for Washington Hospital," said Nancy Farber, CEO of Washington Hospital Healthcare System. "For our Hospital, this is a long-term commitment as well as another way to make our Hospital an even better place to provide care to our patients."

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 2009, 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.


Learn About the Green Team on InHealth Channel 78

Washington Hospital's Green Team is now being showcased on InHealth, A Washington Hospital Channel on Comcast 78. "Inside Washington Hospital, The Green Team" takes an inside look at the many green initiatives that are being implemented at the Hospital and the staff members that are helping to make a difference. For more information about InHealth or to watch a video downstream of this program, visit www.whhs.com/community/InHealth

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