Recycling is an ongoing effort at Tomah Health and 2021 was a good year for waste reduction according to hospital Facility Services director Steve Loging.
From October 2021 – April 2022, Loging said Tomah Health collected 28,910 lbs. of recyclables compared to 27,740 from Oct. 2020 to April 2021. “Our recyclable totals have increased while our waste, which goes to the landfill, continues to decrease,” Loging said.
He said the hospital collected 53,240 lbs. of recyclables last fiscal year (Oct. 2020- Sept. 2021). “It is our goal and will always remain our goal to reduce our footprint on the environment.”
Loging said that with support from hospital staff, the organization reduces waste through recycling, reducing disposable containers and utilizing bulk items to minimize the amount of packaging that needs to be disposed. “It’s a team effort. It takes everybody in every department throwing the recyclable paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastics in a recyclable container instead of the regular trash,” he said. “As a whole, we have gotten requests from many departments asking for additional recyclable containers. So staff is very upfront and conscious about recycling.”
Loging said the design of Tomah Health has also contributed to waste reduction. “When we built this hospital, we installed all LED light fixtures, instead of using fluorescent fixtures so that we would not have the fluorescent bulbs to change out and recycle. In addition to the LED light fixtures, all of our emergency lights and exit signs are backed-up with our emergency generator power, which reduces the number of batteries utilized in the building and going into the waste stream.”
He said the organization also converted to LED bulbs in other buildings. “This conversion reduces the energy consumption and the quantity of fluorescent bulbs returning to the waste stream. While reducing energy consumption does have a cost savings associated with it, the reduction in our carbon footprint is equally as important,” he added.
Loging credits the hospital’s Waste Reduction Committee, which he is a member, for continuing to cut waste while looking for ways to recycle. “I think it’s more important for a hospital –like Tomah Health to recycle. Part of our mission is to offer services that support a healthy life and one of our values is to do no harm, so recycling is part of that mission and values because the environment is as important as our patients,” Loging said. “It takes a little more effort to recycle some things like hazardous and biological waste, but as a whole we can still do our part.”
Hospital staff will mark Earth Day on April 22 with reminders about recycling and reducing waste along with a photo contest and complimentary ice cream.
“Earth Day is a day that we like to bring attention to waste reduction, but it’s a 365 day a year process,” Loging said.