Published on April 02, 2013

Genesis Recognized For Reducing Environmental Impact

Genesis Health System is still several shades away from "green," but the progress of the health system to reduce its environmental footprint is being noticed.

Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Cintas and Ag Medical Systems, Inc. all have recently recognized Genesis with separate awards for efforts to reduce environmental waste, and for reduction of the use of natural resources.

Genesis Health System earned a Silver Award from Stryker Sustainability Solutions.

The Stryker recognition noted that in 2012, Genesis Medical Center, Davenport had a total waste avoidance of 6,915 pounds by reprocessing and remanufacturing medical supplies. The waste reduction represented $254,354 in total savings.

Cintas recognized Genesis Health System for its environmental stewardship in reducing document waste. According to Cintas, Genesis Health System saved 4,675 trees, 550 barrels of oil, 1,925,000 gallons of water and avoided the creation of 825 cubic yards of landfill waste.

Ohio-based Cintas provides specialized services to businesses of all types throughout North America. Those services include uniforms, entrance mats, restroom supplies, tile and carpet cleaning and first aid, safety and fire protection products.

Ag Medical Systems, Inc. has presented a Recycling/Sustainability Award to Genesis Health System. In 2012, Ag Medical Systems purged and recycled 33,497 pounds of archival film (x-ray film) at Genesis.

"We are always exploring the ways we can be more responsible and environmentally friendly as an organization,’’ explained Mike Sharp, Vice President of Support Services, Genesis Health System. "We're not where we would like to eventually be, but we are headed in the direction of being a more environmentally friendly organization.''

The Stryker Sustainability Solutions focuses on recognizing health systems for their use of reprocessing and remanufacturing medical devices specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"When it is possible to safely reprocess and remanufacture a device, we are doing that,'' said Steve Thomas, purchasing manager, Genesis Health System. "That includes everything from drill bits to saw blades and supplies we use in the operating rooms and the cardiac catheterization labs.

"We look at single-use equipment as assets that can be repurposed, not as trash.''

Here are more examples of how Genesis is reducing its environmental footprint:

  • Genesis no longer incinerates trash. Hazardous waste is prepared to be safely hauled and disposed of by an outside vendor.
  • Genesis practices energy conservation measures that include turning off all lights when rooms are not in use for more than 15 minutes; turning off computers when they are not in use; turning off non-essential office equipment; lowering temperatures by 2-3 degrees in non-patient areas in the heating season and raising them by 2-3 degrees in the cooling season.
  • Lower water use by converting to low-flow toilets and water fixtures.
  • Installation of rain gardens to reduce water and chemical runoff.
  • Conversion to more environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals.
  • Recycling of electronic waste – e-waste – from computers, office equipment.
  • Lighting modification for energy efficiency.
  • Improved recycling program for plastic and paper waste.
  • Removal of existing mercury products and equipment containing mercury.
  • Integrating "green" features into new construction and the remodeling of existing buildings.

These steps, while progressive, are only a starting point, Sharp said.

"We are considering many more ideas,’’ Sharp said. "Just about everything you can imagine has been discussed or is being discussed.’’

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