Green Business Spotlight: PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
The 2022 Clark County Green Business of the Year Award for large businesses has been presented to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has had numerous environmental successes in the past year including adopting specialty recycling efforts, food waste reduction and energy conservation practices.
The PeaceHealth Green Team is comprised of staff members from many different hospital departments. Green Team founding member, Dr. Stan Freidberg is a retired cardiologist of 40 years with The Vancouver Clinic and is currently active as a Director Emeritus member of the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Foundation. He was the main driver for the creation of a full-time sustainability role by working through the Foundation for funding and the hospital executive leadership team. Through his work to champion sustainability efforts and build partnerships between the Foundation and Hospital Staff, his work continues to inspire the community and drive forward environmentally friendly hospital practices.
Innovative Recycling Efforts
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has worked to greatly reduce waste within their organization. Over the last year PeaceHealth has worked to successfully recycle polypropylene surgical wraps. In just four months, this recycling program has already diverted over 3 tons of material from the landfill, with the goal of diverting over 14 tons annually.
The Green Team has also increased the number of other polypropylene items that can safely be recycled from operating rooms. Through working with the national green-hospitals partner, Practice Greenhealth, PeaceHealth identified nearly 30 additional items that can be recycled along with polypropylene surgical wraps.
Food Waste Diversion
All food served in the hospital cafeteria is made from scratch daily. Food waste generated in the kitchen from the meal prep process is collected and donated to a staff member who owns a local pig farm. This cafeteria food waste collection has been very successful and is responsible for diverting over 13 tons of food waste annually.
The hospital plans to install a food digestor that will capture all patient, staff, and customer food waste that would otherwise go into landfill and produce greenhouse gases. This effort paired with the animal feed program will work to divert 100% of the hospital's food waste from landfills in the future.
In 2022 PeaceHealth launched a program to replace disposable containers with reusable ones, significantly reducing landfill waste from packaging. This program will work to replace the annual purchase of 91,000 disposable containers and divert a significant amount of waste from the landfill.
To further expand waste reduction and prevent unnecessary purchasing within the organization, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has created an intranet site for staff to list no-longer-needed office supplies and furniture items for reuse by other departments.
The Columbian recently featured PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center's sustainable business practices.
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