At Rochester Regional Health, sustainability is viewed as a global problem with everyday solutions. Throughout the Rochester Regional Health properties, small steps are taken daily to make a greater impact on preserving the earth’s resources.
Director of Sustainability Michael Waller says recycling efforts always get a lot of immediate attention in the conversation, and for good reason: the 1.9 million pounds Rochester Regional Health recycles annually includes cardboard, paper, metals, rigid plastics, organic waste, solvents, cooking oil and grease, e-waste, inkjet and toner cartridges, lead, and medical devices.
“We also have a pretty robust, single-use (medical) device reprocessing program where many devices that would normally be thrown away are collected separately to be cleaned and inspected for quality off-site, and then purchased back at a lower rate than a new product,” says Waller. “This saves a lot on costs and reduces our waste.”
Waller also points out that a bigger impact can be made by first reducing waste.
“This takes more work, and is certainly more difficult, but will often yield substantially greater cost reductions and a more positive environmental impact than trying to recycle more,” he says.
Reducing waste across the Rochester Regional Health properties means first eliminating unnecessary purchases, practices, and processes, and then determining how to switch from a disposable product or packaging to some sort of reusable one.
“These products are often safer, less expensive, generate less waste, and overall of a higher quality,” says Waller. “Only after that does the focus turn to improving recycling rates through education and additional waste bins.”
Another sustainability focus is on the chemicals used daily at Rochester Regional Health. While it’s a complicated process, Waller says his team first tries to identify items that are high touch for prolonged periods of time, or are products that can easily leach chemicals into human bodies through a transfer of fluids intravenously or food consumption.
Rochester Regional Health also donates frequently to InterVol, a non-profit organization that collects unused medical supplies from local area practices and donates them to the places that cannot afford to purchase them, but need them the most.
For example, in 2015, InterVol recovered 29,581 pounds of supplies from hospitals in the Greater Rochester Area, and 20,587 pounds of these supplies were boxed and sent overseas to many developing nations. Intervol is hosted at Rochester Regional Health headquarters, where donated medical supplies are sorted and distributed to areas of the greatest need.
Our Sustainability Department is dedicated to helping improve the healthcare experience, ensure a healthy environment, and lower healthcare costs. We’re reducing waste, eliminating toxins, and creating a more sustainable community now and for the future.Read More
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