8 ways to clean greener

Looking for ways to “go green”? If you haven’t already, consider switching to cleaning products that are safe alternatives and not harmful to the environment. Listed below are “Do it yourself”(DIY)mixtures you can make with products you probably have on hand.

  1. Cleaning counter tops: Cut a lemon in half, dip in baking soda and use on counter top. Wipe with a wet sponge. Do not use on stainless steel or marble surfaces.
  2. Dirt or rust stains: Combine salt and lemon juice together. Apply to area.
  3. Clogs: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down clogged drain followed by ½ cup white vinegar. After about 15 minutes, flush with four cups of boiling water. For plastic pipes, use hot tap water.
  4. Windows or glass surfaces: Combine ¼ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well before use.
  5. Water stains: Combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into the water stain. For tough stains, pour vinegar on stained area and then continue scrubbing.
  6. Freshening garbage disposals: Cut a lemon into slices and run through the disposal.
  7. Soap scum: Heat one cup of white vinegar in a microwave and combine in a spray bottle with one cup of dish detergent. Spray on soap scum and wait a minute before wiping off.
  8. Grease stains: Sprinkle cornstarch on problem spots. Let stand 20-30 minutes before vacuuming.

These are only a few easy-to-create and safe-to-use mixtures. Click here to learn more about the different type of mixtures.

Happy cleaning!

http://www.gundersenenvision.org/

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Walk, ride, share for cleaner air

walk, ride, share

Champion a Walk, Ride, Share for Cleaner Air employee challenge at your work place and start making a difference today!

Gundersen Health System’s Walk, Ride, Share for Cleaner Air commuting challenge gives staff incentives for biking, car-pooling, taking the bus or walking to work. Each month through the end of August, employees who participate in the challenge have a chance to win gift cards and other great prizes.

Active and alternative commuting not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, it helps reduce greenhouse emissions, which can cause illness and disease such as cancer, asthma, cardiac, and reproductive problems.

Active/alternative commuting options

  • Walking
  • Bicycle riding
  • Car pooling
  • Using mass transit transportation
  • Any other travel without driving yourself (rollerblading, skateboarding)

 

It’s OK if you are not able to actively or alternatively commute every day. Do it as often as you are able.

Start your challenge today!

Learn more about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions from the environmental leaders at 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.

 

 

Cut the Cup

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How often do you use a disposable cup at work when you purchase coffee, soda or even water? It’s alarming to think that over 500 billion disposable cups are sent to the landfill every year.1

To bring awareness to the amount of disposable cups used at Gundersen Health System, and to encourage employees to reduce their use of throw away cups, Gundersen Envision is launching the “Cut the Cup” initiative.

To participate in Cut the Cup, employees must use reusable cups for the beverages they consume at work. Employees are encouraged to show off to their co-workers by taking a creative photo of themselves using their reusable cup. Photos are displayed on the Cut the Cup website for all employees to see. Every quarter, the Envision committee will determine who submitted the most creative “mug shot” and will award a grand prize. Other participants will also be eligible for prizes.

“We as employees can make a difference with the choices we make each day,” says Jeff Rich, executive director of Envision. Whether it is printing less paper, turning off lights in an empty room or reducing disposable cup usage, the decisions we make have an impact on health, finances and the environment.  Wasting less is a healthy and cost conscious choice that we can make at work and at home.”

Why not get creative and launch a sustainability initiative at your organization? By rethinking, reusing and recycling, each one of  us can make a difference!

1International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2014

For more information on sustainability initiatives, visit www.gundersenenvision.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin leaders discuss impact of Paris sustainability agreement

Two months after 200 nations ratified a global agreement on sustainability and the environment, Wisconsin leaders are reconvening to continue the discussion on how to build upon the agreement for better health.

Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus, who represented Gundersen Health System last December at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, will be on a panel Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for The Promise of Paris, session two in the Connecting Wisconsin and the UN Climate Talks series.

The Promise of Paris, hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute, features experts and innovators in environmental and sustainable change. A live stream of the session will be available.

Gundersen Envison, is helping organizations turn theory into action and results. For more information and to schedule a speaker, envision@gundersenhealth.org, call toll-free (855) 669-1653 or log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen achieves another energy independence milestone

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Gundersen Health System has reached another significant milestone in its effort to be energy independent.

In November 2015, Gundersen produced more energy than it consumed from fossil fuels, the first calendar month since the system announced its first days of energy independence in October 2014.

Achieving energy independence was and remains a challenging and moving target. Hospitals typically use two and a half times more energy than commercial buildings. In Wisconsin, which has one of the most energy-intensive climates in the nation, the challenges are amplified.

Gundersen has met these challenges with fossil fuel energy efficiency improvement of over 50 percent, resulting in a cumulative financial savings of more than $8.5 million from conservation alone. In addition, the health system established regional partnerships for energy generation, including dairy digesters, wind turbines and a landfill gas-to-energy initiative. Local projects also include geothermal energy and a biomass boiler.

“Producing more energy than we consumed for an entire month is a remarkable achievement,” says Jeff Rich, executive director of Gundersen Envision, the organization’s sustainability and environmental program. “We’ve said from the beginning energy independence is a work in progress and we are committed to continuous improvement. Our staff and our local and regional partners should be credited for helping move us closer to the ultimate goal: sustained energy independence that leads to healthier patients and communities, a better environment and lower costs.”

To learn more about Gundersen’s sustainability efforts, visit gundersenenvision.org