Wednesday, August 31, 2016 12:00 AM

Recycling 1.4 million lbs. last year to create cleaner environment

In the past year, Community Medical Centers has saved nearly 1.4 million lbs. of waste from landfills by working with vendors to recycle everything from cardboard packaging and paper to used surgical towels, surgical instruments and old electronic equipment and office machinery. It’s part of our commitment to be greener and reduce our hospital network’s carbon footprint. As a member of the national Healthier Hospitals Initiative, Community is working to raise awareness of the connection between a cleaner, greener environment and better public health.

Community was one of the first local hospitals to partner with Stericycle to divert plastic sharps containers from landfills through a program to sterilize and reuse them up to 600 times to collect used needles and scalpels. It has saved more than 150,500 lbs. of plastic from landfills since 2009, reducing Community’s carbon footprint by 539,000 lbs., an amount equal to using 26,950 gallons of gasoline.

Community also took 3,300 lbs. of disposable surgical towels out of landfills last year by selling them to a company that sterilizes and reuses them in industrial settings.

A team of employees meets monthly to look at ways Community can be more sustainable in its operations. Through the efforts of the Sustainability Team, the hospital network has also reduced costs and earned nearly $25,000 in recycling rebates in fiscal year 2016.

Environmental Services supervisor James Norton tosses boxes into a compactor
Environmental Services supervisor James Norton tosses boxes into a compactor at Community Regional Medical Center, readying the cardboard for recycling. This load is part of the more than 353,000 lbs. of cardboard Community recycled over the past year.

Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at