Celebrate Earth Day by reducing paper consumption

Celebrate Earth Day by reducing paper consumption

At Gundersen, we try to reduce the amount of paper we consume daily by unsubscribing from unwanted junk mail and switching to digital file formats. We ask you to join us this Earth Day in our pursuit. Here are some easy ways to limit how much paper you use at home and, ultimately, pave the way to a paperless lifestyle:

Paper or plastic? How about neither! Bring a reusable bag when grocery shopping.
Forget notebooks and use the Notes app on your phone instead.
Ditch your paper calendar for a reusable dry erase one.
Pay your bills digitally.
Unsubscribe from unsolicited mail.
Use online payment services like Venmo instead of sending checks or money in the mail.
Compile digital files of your important documents like family members’ medical history, educational accolades, etc.
Schedule self-audits.
Save everything to a hard drive.

For more eco-friendly tips and ideas, check out the Envision® blog at gundersenenvision.org. Happy Earth Day!

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Going green in 2019

Going green in 2019

Going green in 2019

Are you itching to make a change in 2019? Consider becoming an environmentalist by consciously decreasing your carbon footprint. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Use reusable grocery bags when you shop. Some markets will even give you a discount for bringing your own bags.
  • Try to avoid purchasing new clothes. Instead, find hand-me-downs or shop for secondhand apparel.
  • Decrease your meat consumption. Meat packing plants release considerable methane gas into our atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
  • Be a conscious consumer and only purchase household necessities.
  • Compost your unwanted food waste instead of throwing it out.
  • Conserve water and don’t let it run when you wash food, brush your teeth, wash your hands or clean your dishes.
  • Limit your air travel when possible.
  • Ask for no straw at local restaurants.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce purchasing one-use plastic and packaging (cereal, coffee, beans, rice, pasta, nuts, etc.).
  • Go paperless by paying your bills online, sending letters via email, etc.
  •  Line dry your clothing instead of using energy to dry them in a drier.

E-waste eye openers

Gas mask

The term “E-waste” is generally applied to corporate and consumer electronic equipment that are near or at the end of its immediate useful life. E-waste includes discarded or obsolete cell phones, computers, notebooks, computer game consoles and other electronic devices.

Did you know?

  • e-Waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.
  • A report from United Nations University (UNU) found that the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste in 2014 – an amount that would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. Lined up, those trucks would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back.
  • Large amounts of e-Waste are sent to China, India, Kenya where lower environmental standards and working conditions make processing e-Waste more profitable. It is reported that 80% of all Asian children have elevated levels of lead in their systems.
  • Health impacts from improperly disposed e-waste: i.e. nose bleeds, seizures, child development, sinus perforations
    o   Mouth, teeth, gum damage, thyroid damage
    o   High blood pressure, irregular heartbeat
    o   Lung damage, asthma, bronchitis, cancer
    o   Kidney, liver, digestive system damage, fetus neurologic damage, ulcers
    o   Skin cancer, paralysis
    o   Death
  • e-Waste in landfills releases greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 178,000 cars

What is your e-Waste contribution?

For more information, contact us at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Sources
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-e-waste
https://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/crazy-e-waste-statistics-explored-in-infographic.html
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/e-waste-infographic.html

Think “reuse” when it comes to back-to-school supplies

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Most kids like the idea of buying new school supplies each year, but going back to school doesn’t have to be expensive. Before shelling out lots of dough purchasing new supplies, look at what was left over from last year. You may be surprised to find most notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, and markers can be used again. Use paper bags, leftover wrapping paper, or even a couple layers of newspapers to make book covers.

Reusing school supplies not only saves money, it is better for the environment. Reusing results in less trash sent to the landfill. The plastic found in pens, folders, and calculators are produced with fossil fuels; fossil fuel emissions negatively impact the environment. Paper comes from trees; cutting trees on a massive scale is harmful to the environment.

So think “reuse” when it comes to this year’s school supplies. You can save money and teach your children what it means to be good stewards of their resources at the same time. If you must purchase a few new items, look for products made from recycled paper, plastic, and reclaimed materials.

Learn about other ways to save energy and money at Gundersen Envision.

Visit us at CleanMed – booth 403

May 17-19, Dallas, TX

What happens when longtime sustainability leaders Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm bring together people from across the country and around the world to talk about green healthcare? CleanMed happens.

CleanMed is the premier conference behind the movement for greener, more effective healthcare. Over a thousand people come to a different city every year to take part in three days of learning, networking, and inspiration. This includes representatives from hospitals, healthcare systems, group purchasing organizations, food service directors and healthcare architects and designers—and representatives from Gundersen Health System.

This year’s Gundersen presenters or co-presenters at CleanMed include:

  • Eric Bashaw, Facilities Operation Manager
  • Mark Platt, senior vice president of Business Services
  • Stephen B. Shapiro, MD, GACS, General Surgery and Colorectal Surgery
  • Jeff Thompson, MD, Executive Advisor and Chief Executive Officer Emeritus

At Gundersen Health System we’re passionate about helping healthcare leaders deliver greener healthcare. Gundersen Health System’s environmental program, Envision® has become known as a model for healthcare organizations nationwide. We can show you how developing or enhancing a portfolio of sustainability projects can help lower costs while improving the health of the communities you serve.

CleanMed is a chance for us to learn more about where healthcare is headed including the sector’s biggest challenges and opportunities, and how our products and services can help bridge those challenges.

Visit us at booth 403 to get a firsthand look at the services we offer.

Find out more about Envision at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Employees step up to reduce cost of hazardous waste disposal

It is no secret that Gundersen Health System has a nationally recognized in-house pharmaceutical waste program. However, the program wouldn’t be as successful if it weren’t for the hard work of employees who directly handle the pharmaceutical waste. Thanks to them, the program has undergone significant improvements since its creation in 2009.

For example, at the beginning of the program, Gundersen was spending $151,000 per year disposing of pharmaceutical waste. Through comprehensive measures and teamwork, Gundersen spent less than $10,000 on hazardous waste disposal in 2015.

The ongoing efforts of employees allows the program to improve each year. The success is a collaboration of many departments including Pharmacy, Nursing, Environmental Services, Security, Environmental Compliance, Sustainability and Facilities.

The following images showcase a few Gundersen employees who directly participate in the pharmaceutical waste program on a daily basis. Pictured below is Theresa Seebruck, lead pharmacy technician in the Pharmacy department, disposing of pharmaceutical waste in the hazardous waste bins.

Harzardous waste 1

Gundersen’s controlled substance witness waste program prevents controlled substances from being dumped down the sewage drains. Since the creation of the pharmaceutical waste program, 345 pounds of controlled pharmaceutical waste was diverted from going down the sewers in the first six months.

Gundersen no longer flushes any pharmaceutical waste and instead ensures that all pharmaceuticals are incinerated according to best environmental practices. Shown below is Jennifer Lee, also a pharmacy technician, showing how to use the witness waste container.

Hazardous waste 2

Chad Olstad, environmental specialist in Environmental Services, is shown removing a hazardous waste container from a department.

Hazardous waste 3.jpg

The waste is taken to Facilities employees  who sort and separate the waste for shipment. These efforts have eliminated the need for a third party vendor to package the waste.

These are just a few examples of employees who participate in the pharmaceutical waste program. Many others are involved in making the program successful and their hard work is commended.

Please share your waste management or other sustainable practices by emailing envision@gundersenhealth.org.