KeepHealthCare.ORG – UVM Medical Center top 25 honors for environmental excellence
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Going green is a concept Vermonters take very seriously. One of the state’s biggest employers continues to reflect that statistic. UVM Medical Center was recently recognized as one of the country’s top 25 hospitals for environmental excellence.
The honors come from Practice Greenhealth, a national healthcare sustainability nonprofit.
Officials say the hospital is looking to communicate with patients and staff on what the different recycling items are to help reduce the contamination of recycling. It starts with signs and bins.
“We consistently have a trash and recycling bin right next to each other and they have adequate signage,” said Jen Bergeron, the hospital’s environmental services supervisor. “Even though it has a logo on it doesn’t mean we can recycle it here, so that’s a challenge within our own district.”
Besides education and permanent waste and recycling bins, they are recognized for how their employees get to work. Practice Greenhealth says Medical Center employees use alternative transportation like walking, car sharing or biking. In 2017, employees drove 1.6 million fewer miles than in 2016.
“We care about this issue certainly the impacts of climate change are a concern and as a health care organization it’s a big responsibility to impact to the health of the community,” said Dawn LeBaron, the VP of hospital services.
It’s not just common areas where the hospital has gone green. Officials say about 30 percent of the hospital’s waste comes from the operating room. That’s where the blue wrap program comes in. Since 2012 the Medical Center has been able to recycle more than 50 tons of blue wrap.
Moving forward the hospital wants to focus its efforts on making little changes for big impacts. LeBaron says this is just the beginning and the hospital is always looking at new ways to be green.