Greening the Health System

Green Healthcare News

August 2019

Recycling lab gloves via RightCycle program

Can laboratory gloves be recycled? The answer is yes. Learn how leading nonprofit WHOI has partnered with RightCycle to recycle old gloves into new consumer goods.

Troubled Waters in Newark: a Public Health Crisis
Lead exposure can result in growth development issues, neurological damage - even fatalities. Despite years of concern, residents of this New Jersey city still face lead contamination in their water supply and inadequate response from both city government and the EPA.

Plant-based business
Is the future of food plant-based? With the dwindling of dairy sales and the success of companies like Beyond Meat, new Bay Area startups are using plants to create exciting new alternatives.

January 2019

Doctors called to action in climate change efforts
Wildfire deaths. Smoky air. Floods. Droughts. Read about what medical professionals can do to limit the heavy greenhouse gas contributions coming from the healthcare industry.

The planet’s new prescription is on your plate
Scientific research and international discourse are coalescing around the power of plant-based diets to improve our health and nutrition, overcome diet-related disease and rising world hunger, curb food waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production.

Strategies for sustainable surgical units
A majority of waste coming from medical practices comes from operating and delivery rooms. See what forward thinking facilities are doing to cut down on environmental and fiscal costs.

December 2018

Clinical waste watch
There is so much waste in healthcare. Identifying waste streams that can easily be diverted is a great way to push sustainability into these spaces. It’s in our hands and we decide which bin to put it in.

68 of the greenest hospitals in America 2018
UCSF Medical Center and Benioff Children’s Hospital recognized among greenest hospitals for renewable energy generation and sustainable food procurement. See what other hospitals are doing to encourage sustainability!

November 2018

Turning surgical waste into green profits
An estimated 20% or more surgical supplies are wasted unused. See how WestCMR suppliers are transforming the marketplace with innovative supply management.

Burning to solve climate change: The BECCS paradox
A United Nations report details how humanity can limit global temperature rises to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Many governments are banking on bio-energy and carbon capture (BECCS for short), which may not be the end-all solution.

October 2018

Success in sustainability combines these 3 ingredients
Commit. Collaborate. Communicate. Whether the topic is carbon removal, renewable energy procurement, transforming supply chains or creating a circular economy, inevitably the road to success is paved with these three ingredients.

How the architecture of hospitals affects health outcomes
The experience, cost, and results are a key determinant of health interventions. Health care organizations are teaming up with architects to incorporate principles of social design into the built health care environment

Health Professionals as Partners in Values-Based Food Procurement
Half of American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are diet related, so it is critical that health professionals engage in public health prevention strategies.

September 2018

Yale surgeons make sustainability and wellness a focus
These surgeon’s impact has gone beyond the scale of individual lives, and bring impact to the environment to attention. Surgeons Dr. Glenda Callender and Dr. Hulda Einarsdottir tackle sustainability issues in their department.

Health care sector commits to 100% clean electricity at the Global Climate Action Summit
The GCAS call to “take ambition to the next level” has been responded to by the health care sector, committing to power 1,200 facilities, 23 million patients, with renewable electricity. This is part of the worldwide effort to accelerate the transition from fossil fuel electricity generation.

US’ largest nonprofit integrated healthcare system going carbon neutral by 2020
Understanding the significant contributions healthcare systems have regarding carbon dioxide emissions, Kaiser Permanente is assessing ways to address the issue, and lead the way to carbon neutrality.

UC sets higher standards, greater goals for sustainability
Recent announcements of the UC systemwide expansion of sustainability goals will aim for 100% clean energy by 2025, and target energy-efficiency in acute care facilities, among other climate change efforts.

August 2018

More US hospitals go green to stay out of the red
The healthcare sector is responsible for nearly 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions - hundreds of millions of tons worth of carbon each year. Many hospitals are wising up and reaping the benefits of taking a green approach.

Chefs serve hospital food that’s better for patients, employees—and the planet
NYU Langone Medical Center has taken huge steps toward improving its Food and Nutritional Services, to give healthier and more sustainable options that are still delicious; and the movement was started not by the healthcare execs, but the chefs!

Nursing the environment
Beth Schenk, Ph.D., MHI, RN-BC, has received honors for her incentives toward environmental sustainability in the healthcare industry- and lists a few things nurses can do to help the environment.

Why climate change is a major problem for hospitals
Scientists believe climate change is negatively affecting mental health, which diminishes physical well-being. This is poised to be a major issue for healthcare providers.

July 2018

Through environmental stewardship, hospitals can preserve and protect health
Hospitals are anchors in every community, doing good on a daily basis as a trusted provider of care for those in need. What we rarely equate with hospitals, however, is that they also happen to be major contributors to environmental harm — just by virtue of the work they do.

Hospital design and its influence on patient care
It used to be common practice to treat patients in large, long wards. Today, for infection control purposes, newer hospitals tend to feature single patient rooms. Today, the health care team encourages a family member to spend the night by the child’s bedside.

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Kaiser Powers Forward with Renewable Microgrids
You could say Kaiser Permanente has a healthy interest in solar power. The Oakland, California-based not-for-profit health care organization hosts panels on close to 50 sites.

Hospital unveils five-year plan for upping sustainability
The plan is extensive and divided into eight different categories: Energy Reduction & Renewables, Water Use & Protection, Waste Reduction & Recycling, Healthy Living & Foods, Local & Sustainable Purchasing, Green Building, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Communication & Education.

June 2018

Waste watching: When it comes to infection control measures in long-term care, medical waste disposal can’t be taken lightly. But providers might actually be overdoing it.
If staff are educated about what medical waste actually is, a skilled nursing facility can save a lot of time and money.

Hospitals Seek Recycling Solutions for Medical Plastics
Three hospitals have teamed with the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council to change that notion that medical plastics are non-recyclable.

5 Ways for Businesses to Cut Down On Their Plastic Waste
Read what some of the United Kingdom’s leading experts on plastics, waste and resource efficiency, to gather some advice for firms battling to win the war on plastic waste.

The Hidden Health Hazards of Climate Change
We know that climate change is endangering our planet. What might not be so obvious is that it’s also endangering our health.

May 2018

The Internet of Trash:IoT has a Looming E-waste problem
As we add computing and radios to more of our “things”, we’re also adding to the problem of e-waste.

How the Health Care Industry is Addressing the Fast-growing Medical Waste Problem
About 85 percent of hospital waste is noninfectious, according to the World Health Organization, and a bulk of that is recyclable, yet most of these materials are either landfilled or burned.

Solar Power Super Charges Cost Savings and Energy Efficiency for Hospitals
Energy conservation is a high priority in an industry that spends billions on facilities and equipment to keep pace with patient needs. Innovative healthcare organizations such as CentraState are finding ways to reduce their energy consumption and costs by deploying technologies to improve efficiency.

Clean Water is Essential to Health Care Around the Globe
For many doctors, nurses and midwives struggling to provide care inside tens of thousands of health-care facilities around the world, having no water and sanitation is just a routine day.

April 2018

Microbes Come to the Rescue to Reduce Hospital Waste
One hospital bed can produce up to 0.5 kg of waste per day. A Dutch technology is using microbes to optimize the process with anaerobic digestion.

OSHA to Establish Alert System to Notify 1st Responders of Serious Safety and Environmental Violations
Following the deadly chemical explosion and fire at Verla International cosmetic factory in New Windsor, New York, there has been a hard for a new federal protocol aimed to ensure local emergency responders are notified of serious violations involving flammable liquids and chemical hazards.

Private and Public Sector Responses to Climate Change
Three developments in late 2017 heightened attention to the critical intersection between science, climate change and health. 

March 2018

Baby Steps Toward Big Goals: Dr. Gandhi’s Leadership in the OR
Dr. Seema Gandhi, assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology, is helping to lead environmental stewardship in the perioperative environment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center.

Hospitals Help to Pave the Way for New Resilient Design Standards
Two hospitals are piloting a new USGBC standard designed to help create sustainable communities. Both projects have made resilient design a must-have and chose a standard called RELi to guide the way.

Energy Efficiency Saves live, Avoids Huge Health Costs
How would our health benefit if every state and major city across the country reduced its annual electricity consumption by 15 percent? Achievable and commonsense energy efficiency measures could help save six American lives every day and avoid up to US$20 billion in health harms each year.

The American Center Earns Gold Environmental Certification
UW Health at The American Center has earned LEED Gold Certification- making it the first healthcare building in the state of Wisconsin to do so. “Promoting healthy buildings can support the health of people around them,” Evers Statz, director of sustainability for UW Health, said.

February 2018

A Greener Bill of Health: UCSF’s Dr. Seema Gandhi Tackles Sleeper Pollutants in the Operating Room
The U.S. health-care sector contributes nearly 10% of the country’s carbon footprint.Hospital operating rooms are home to more obscure greenhouse gases: inhaled anesthetics used to sedate patients for surgery and other medical procedures.

RGH Pilot Program Lets You Mail Leftover Drugs to be Destroyed
Once or twice a week, someone at Rochester General Hospital asks where they can safely get rid of unwanted medication. As part of Rochester Regional’s sustainability initiative, its flagship hospital is part of a six-month pilot program to reduce the public health and environmental impact of unused prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Efficiency of Buildings Increase, with a Focus on Facility Managers
In 2010, the U.S. building sector generated 45 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the country. Much of this is because of the fact that residential and commercial buildings use 75 percent of all electricity produced in the U.S., for lighting, pumping, heating and cooling.

FDA Restricts Healthcare Hand Soap Chemicals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration restricted the use of triclosan and 23 other ingredients in antiseptic washes and rubs effective December 2018, citing a “lack of sufficient safety and efficacy data.”

A New Remedy: Introducing Biophilic Design into Hospitals
Biophilic is derived from the term, “biophilia,” meaning “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” This term introduces the idea of incorporating natural materials, light, views and vegetation into the modern world and modern medical environments.

January 2018

How Drugged-up Shellfish Help Scientists Understand Human Pollution
Every Advil you pop or antidepressant you swallow is processed in your body and excreted, often as chemical byproducts that can still affect other organisms.In their quest to understand the effects of drugs on marine life, however, scientists have found an involuntary ally: shellfish.

How Blockchain Can Reduce Waste for Pharmaceutical Companies
The revolutionary technology that is changing the way we use money through Bitcoin can also help pharmacies reduce waste. Blockchain technology takes something that is typically centralized and operates it on a peer to peer network.

New Report Predicts Renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020
The lower price of renewable energy will certainly make it harder for the fossil fuel industry to ignore. Renewables will soon be both environmentally friendly, and cost-effective.

2017: The Year the Climate Change Came Home
It’s increasingly clear that we can no longer support healthy people on a sick planet.” Health care providers are taking heroic steps to address the collective trauma our communities are enduring.

How a Girl Scout Inspired a Health Care Giant to Ditch Plastic Straws
Most people don’t use plastic straws at home, so why are they so commonplace in restaurants? That was California teenager Shelby O’Neil’s revelation after watching a television spot for her state’s largest health care provider, Dignity Health.

The Case for Energy Saving Retrofits
Retrofitting smart technology to commercial buildings can cut energy bills by 8 percent in hospitals. Explore the cost and benefits of a wide range of options that are open to building owners and managers now. Tech that includes, occupancy sensors, smart thermostats, demand-controlled ventilation, electronic films for windows, and much more.

December 2017

The US health care industry could learn a lot from India’s doctors
According to one study, the health care sector accounts for 10 percent of carbon pollution in the U.S.The medical industry produces plenty of waste from treatments, tossing disposable gowns, caps, booties, gloves and blankets, in addition to using loads of energy to drive machines needed in diagnosis and surgery.

Hospitals save lives and money by investing in climate resilience
Safe haven in the storm: Protecting lives and margins with climate smart health care analyzes billions of dollars in losses and resilience-related savings to demonstrate how preparing for extreme weather can make or break a health system.

Hospitals are scrambling to solve their air pollution issue
Carbon dioxide is perhaps the most famous climate-changing chemical, but some of the gases used to knock people out in the operating room are many times more potent. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Services estimates that anesthesia alone accounts for around 5 percent of the carbon footprint of the health care system.

Carbon footprinting in health systems: 1 small step toward planetary health
Climate change is without doubt one of the major threats facing public health. With increasing populations and antimicrobial resistance, the pressures on health systems will be substantial.

Doctors warn: Air pollution harm to unborn babies may be global health catastrophe
Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study. Globally, 2 billion children are exposed to air pollution above World Health Organization guidelines.

November 2017

A hospital without patients
Doctors and nurses sit at carrels in front of monitors that include camera-eye views of the patients and their rooms, graphs of their blood chemicals and images of their lungs and limbs, and lists of problems that computer programs tell them to look out for. The nurses wear scrubs, but the scrubs are very, very clean. The patients are elsewhere.

University report indicates future homes could be made form medical waste
Researchers at Deakin University recently reported that adding plastic medical waste from dialysis treatments to concrete for construction can make the concrete more durable and waterproof — and prevent 5,100 tonnes of plastic ending up in landfill every year. 

Hospitals are helping make us all sick
As temperatures go up due to climate change, extreme weather events become more frequent, and more intense. The changing climate is making people sick. Between powering facilities, manufacturing medical supplies, creating pharmaceuticals, and other activities, the U.S. healthcare system is responsible for a solid chunk of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Sustainability tips and using greywater properly
One of the many ways commercial facilities are reducing water consumption is to use greywater. While some greywater may look discolored, even “dirty,” it is usually safe, even beneficial to use to irrigate vegetation, even though it should not be used for human consumption.

Tips to reduce facility waste
The U.S. EPA reports that each person creates an average of 4.4 pounds of waste per day. To reduce the environmental impact facilities have on the environment, and to elevate some of the work from custodial staffs, businesses are making some changes to their waste management programs.

Hospitals are working to change by growing their own produce
High atop the roof of a hospital power plant in the middle of the city, farm manager Lindsay Allen is on her hands and knees, cutting sprays of leafy greens and arugula and packing them into boxes. These particular greens will go to the Boston Medical Center kitchen, where they will be prepared for use in the cafeteria salad bar.

October 2017

48 environmental rules on the way out
Since taking office in January, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry. According to this New York Times analysis, the administration has sought to reverse nearly 50 environmental rules.

Health care is driving climate action, for community health and the bottom line
Which of the following causes the most deaths each year — war, murder, traffic accidents or fossil fuels?
It’s fossil fuels. By a lot. Fossil fuels and the serious consequences of climate change kill more people annually than the other three combined.

High-performance Buildings Zero in on Zero-Net Energy
State and local regulations are driving new building construction as well as existing buildings to implement energy-efficient technologies in order to meet future carbon emissions reduction goals. These facilities, known as high-performance buildings, strive to deliver optimal efficiency, reliability, value and comfort to tenants. 

Boston Medical Center Rooftop Farm concludes 1st season
Boston Medical Center has transformed the once barren roof on top of its power plant building into the largest rooftop farm in that city. This past summer, the 7,000 square feet of growing space flourished with fresh produce, including arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard and kale.

September 2017

Flesh-eating bacteria, cancer-causing chemicals and mold: Harvey and Irma;s lingering health threats
In the weeks following Hurricane Irma, parts of Florida have been awash in millions of gallons of sewage. Meanwhile, in Texas, oil refineries and chemical plants have dumped a year’s worth of cancer-causing pollutants into the air following Hurricane Harvey.

Nurses’ regular use of disinfectants is associated with developing COPD
certain tasks involving frequent exposure to disinfectants, such as cleaning surfaces, and specific chemicals in disinfectants, were associated with a 22% to 32% increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

HHA offers hurricane guidance to health care facilities
With Florida still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma, a federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services has issued draft guidance to help healthcare facilities with disaster planning and recovery for major hurricanes.

Designing buildings for an uncertain future
Winners of Modern Healthcare’s 32nd annual Design Awards are at the forefront of two major industry trends: building flexible spaces that can withstand dramatic changes to the healthcare delivery model and re-connecting patients and their providers to nature in environmentally friendly facilities.

Study: Microfibers found in tap water around the world
Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analyzed by scientists. Overall, 83 percent of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibers.

Tapping into water conservation strategies
Health care facilities are the third-largest water consumers of all buildings in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star data, and are responsible for 7 percent of water use among all commercial buildings.

Sustainable practices enhance quality at Memorial Sloan Kettering
New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Food and Nutrition Services department believes hospitals can and should deliver important preventative health messages and solutions to patients, staff and the communities they serve.

August 2017

Anesthesia providers go green
One of the paradoxes of the medical marvel known as general anaesthesia is that in helping us to get well, those anaesthetic gases are also heating our planet. Now, a remedy may be at hand in the form of an innocuous-looking white powder…

Banned yesterday, here today: Banned flame retardants present in umbilical blood
Restricted over a decade ago in the United States, persistent and health-harming flame retardants are still being passed through blood from mothers to their babies.

Does washing your hands cause harm? Triclosan use linked to growing antimicrobial resistance
A connection has been identified between the mechanism of antimicrobial resistance to the disinfectant triclosan and resistance to the group of quinolone antibiotics.

Macaroni and cheese and… phthalates
A new report finds that fatty cheese products, especially packaged macaroni and cheese, contain a notable amount of phthalates.

Another reason to clean your room: Link identified between household dust and weight gain
Exposure to commonly encountered endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in household dust linked to increased weight gain.

Higher urinary phthalate concentrations associated with chronic disease in men
High concentrations of phthalates detected in urine is linked to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic low-grade inflammation in Australian men.

Global Medical Device Manufacturer Moves Forward Removing Materials of Concern
Global medical equipment producer Becton Dickinson’s newly released 2016 sustainability report includes concrete progress toward eliminating known toxic chemicals such as phthalates, PVC, and brominated flame retardants from their products.

July 2017

Something’s cooking at hospital farmers market
The salad that Raquel Rivera-Pablo whipped together outside St. Vincent’s Medical Center Tuesday afternoon was a symphony of color. “Look how pretty this salad is,” Rivera-Pablo declared to a crowd gathered to watch her cook. “And there’s not much to it.” And that was roughly the point of her cooking exhibition — that eating healthy needn’t be difficult nor expensive.

Single-Use Medical Device Reprocessing Market — Global Industry Insights

Single-use medical device reprocessing is gaining popularity as it helps to reduce hospital waste and allows for major cost savings.

That drug expiration date may be more myth than fact
The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

What makes hospital microgrids efficient and green?
While hospital sustainability plans tend to focus on issues surrounding disposal of hazardous waste or green product purchases, the importance of energy planning is coming into focus.

Why California’s climate change fight is also about public health
In addition to mitigating extreme weather impacts, environmental policy experts say the state’s aggressive global warming program will also help solve a longstanding public health problem

Could the future of hospital food be healthy, plant-based and delicious?
If you know anything about hospital food, you know that healthy, fresh, plant-based menus are far from typical. But what if the food served at hospitals actually supported health and healing?

5 tips to maximize the benefits of SUD reprocessing
A reprocessed device can provide a significant savings, some up to 50 percent, compared to a new device. As a result, many hospitals save between half a million and a million dollars a year. Some save even more.

June 2017

Climate change puts health care in harm’s way
Worsening climate change means more intense, frequent extreme weather events – and more disruptions to healthcare delivery.

US air pollution still kills thousands every year, study concludes
Air pollution is still killing thousands in the U.S. every year, even at the levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a recent study.

Doctors want sugar and ‘cancer-causing’ foods out of hospitals
A major doctors’ group hopes to put an end to a great irony served up daily at most U.S. hospitals: The food offered there tends to contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Boston’s healthcare sector is on front line of climate readiness
Boston’s medical professionals see climate impacts in emergency rooms during extended heat waves, in treating more patients with asthma and other respiratory ailments and in investments to make facilities resilient to effects such as sea level rise.

Hospital microgrids become an integral part of the energy value chain
The evolution in microgrid technology is making it possible to produce reliable, critical power, more efficiently and for less money

Health experts are furious with Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate agreement
But the people who pay attention to public health want to remind you that a warmer planet will bring more air pollution, fuel the spread of infectious diseases and increase the incidence of certain cancers, among many other things.

The dishonest HONEST Act
More subtle and dangerous are attempts in Congress to undermine public health and environmental protections by limiting the use of scientific evidence under the guise of increased transparency.

By Serving Antibiotic-Free Meat, Wisconsin Hospitals Try To Keep Superbugs At Bay
Hospitals rely on antibiotics to fend off bad bacteria. But they’re also concerned about overuse, because too much of a good thing promotes resistance, meaning antibiotics don’t always work.

30 Under 30, one year later: Acclaim, aspirations and advice for Trump
Since the inaugural GreenBiz 30 Under 30 list was published one year ago, the climate (if you will) has undergone a radical transformation. Just 12 months ago, federal support for the cause of sustainability seemed certain.

May 2017

Smart Buildings: Giving Buildings Consciousness
More than 130 years after Edison’s bright idea transformed society and workplace productivity, lighting technology is being revolutionized. This time, it’s not just about bulbs. The transformation, in the words of one lighting-technology executive, “will give buildings consciousness.”

How Health Care Planning, Design Can Foster Community
As the role of health care facilities change, developers are finding more opportunities to design and develop properties that provide a strong connection to their communities.

Health Leaders Must Focus on the Threats From Factory Farms
This week, the World Health Organization — which works globally to improve human health — will meet in Geneva to select a new director general. We have a mission for that leader: take on factory farms, a major threat to health and the environment.

New World Bank Report Calls for Health Sector Leadership on Climate
The World Bank Group’s health and climate directors released a report today establishing a new framework for health systems in every country to become leaders in addressing climate change.

7th annual Africa Health Exhibition: the largest African Healthcare Congress
The 7th annual Africa Health Exhibition & Congress will be taking place this June 2017 with the intention of promoting global and regional initiatives throughout key African countries.

Big Pharma’s Pollution Is Creating Deadly Superbugs, While The World Looks The Other Way
A major study published today in the prestigious scientific journal Infection found “excessively high” levels of antibiotic and antifungal drug residue in water sources in and around a major drug production hub in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

Amcor to Highlight Innovative Packaging Solutions at Interpack 2017
Amcor, a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, will showcase some of its latest packaging solutions for food and beverage, home and personal care, medical and pharmaceutical industries at Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Public health on high alert for Zika as mosquito season looms: Preparations ramping up in states

President’s 2018 budget devastating to public health: Cuts to prevention, research, programs

Communities working to improve their health, thanks to challenge: Changing behaviors

April 2017

Living Green: Virginia Mason Memorial receives awards for its sustainability
Virginia Mason Memorial in the Yakima Valley has been recognized as one of the most sustainable health care facilities in America, with not one but three different awards recognizing this achievement.

Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water Goes Far Beyond Flint
In fact, 63 percent of Americans worry “a great deal” about polluted drinking water, and ranked it as more concerning than air pollution, climate change and the extinction of plant and animal species, according to a Gallup poll conducted in March.

Use sustainable landscaping for a positive mark
There are ways to use resources more efficiently and cut back on energy consumption inside, of course, but one eco-friendly idea for businesses exists that you might not have considered: sustainable landscaping.

Designs That Heal
Healthcare designers and researchers are starting to ask what they can do to better support patients, staff, and families in these settings.

Practice Greenhealth Announces Winners of Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards
Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, has announced the winners of its annual Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards.

The profitable hospital system with sustainability in its DNA
We have all heard the aphorism “health is wealth.” Gundersen Health Systems, a nonprofit hospital network operating in 19 counties across three Midwest states, is proving this.

66 percent of the world faces water shortages every year
While it has been known for some time that the world water crisis is among the top three global problems, we now have a more accurate number and percentage of people who are currently facing this problem.

How a Laboratory Energy Retrofit Can Improve Sustainability and Reduce Utility Consumption
Existing laboratories provide significant opportunities to reduce utility consumption, improve sustainability, and manage costs.

Fairview to cut pop, other sugar-sweetened drinks at hospitals, clinics
Fairview Health Services will stop selling sugar-sweetened drinks at its facilities, including hospitals, to promote healthier lifestyles.

Boxborough firm is shredding medical waste — and expectations
Instead of the convoluted packaging, hauling, tracking, and incineration, Sterilis has created a medical waste shredder.

8 ways cities are upping the ante on building efficiency
Buildings account for about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions (PDF) and it’s more like half in many big cities.

March 2017

Healthcare Sustainability
Today we’re seeing efforts to tackle root causes and complex, sector-wide problems like climate change and greening the supply chain — reducing health care’s impact on the environment and the environment’s impact on public health.

Medical supply surpluses a common source of hospital waste
Much has been made about the costliness of the American healthcare system, but one factor that may be driving up medical costs is the prevalence of “medical surplus,” essentially usable supplies that hospitals discard when new equipment comes in…

New Device Combines Steam Sterilization with a Grinder for Onsite Medical Waste Treatment
Sterilis LLC has developed a device that combines steam sterilization with a grinder, allowing it to be treated on-site and at point-of-care in about 60 minutes and requiring no dedicated plumbing, drainage, or fixtures.

Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions’ Bill Scott talks reprocessed medical devices
Faced with rising operational costs and healthcare policy’s unclear direction, many hospitals have begun utilizing reprocessed medical devices, a trend that could cut $500,000 to $2 million off a facility’s budget every year.

A Gas Turbine Microgrid Offers a Prescription for Sustainable Energy
To meet both needs, Seton chose to power their new facility with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that would not only provide power, but also capture waste heat from the combustion process to provide district heating.

February 2017

Health and Safety Regulations Hang in the Balance As Trump Signs New Executive Order
President Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 stating that federal agencies must eliminate two regulations for each new one issued.

Final EPA Assessment of Ethylene Oxide Sets Strict Cancer Potency Estimate
In December 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its third and final assessment of ethylene Oxide (EtO), a commonly used sterilizing chemical in health care.

Protecting world’s most vulnerable populations from climate change
Many lessons for addressing the effects of climate change were shared throughout the course of the Climate & Health Meeting, held Feb. 16 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and one panel discussed ways we can find solutions from a less obvious source: low- and middle-income countries.

10 reasons health care needs sustainability treatments
Health care is in conflict with itself — in some ways, it’s its own worst enemy. A sound treatment protocol has to be balanced with resource conservation and management.

Here’s how hospitals can heal through sustainability
While the current debates around health care focus on the financial costs, we also need to consider the cost to our environment.

Test and scale: Action-based approach to sustainable healthcare
Long committed to working with partners and stakeholders to improve health care sustainability in Europe, AbbVie is developing pilot programs to identify problems, test solutions and scale up successful initiatives.

In America’s Heartland, A Power Company Leads Charge For Electric Cars
A $20 million project launched two years ago by investor-owned Kansas City Power & Light, whose service area straddles the Kansas-Missouri border, has turned a Midwestern metropolitan area into one of the fastest-growing electric vehicle markets in the country.

Renewable NRG producing 100 percent of energy on-site
Vermont Business Magazine Renewable NRG Systems (RNRG) has added two fixed solar arrays to its LEED Gold-certified headquarters in Hinesburg, allowing the company to meet all of its electricity needs with on-site, renewable energy.

On the light track to improved design for healthcare
As a member of the Light and Health Alliance, USAI Lighting recently worked with Mariana Figueiro, Program Director at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to stay up to date with research findings from the latest metric in lighting (and health), Circadian Stimulus (CS).

Healthcare plastics recycling project identifies challenges, opportunities
More than 10 billion pounds of plastic healthcare packaging were placed on the market in 2013, only 14% of which were collected for recycling, according to BCC Research in its Plastics for Healthcare Packaging report.

Is your sustainable supply chain program really as good as you think?
“While the principle of having a sustainable supply chain program is clear and widely accepted, there is still a lack of consensus on the practice.”

Health Care Sustainable Purchasing Tool Under Development
A new partnership between Underwriters Laboratories and Greenhealth Exchange aims to help health care companies realize these financial and EHS benefits by sourcing safer and healthier products and services.

‘Green’ Buildings May Boost Productivity, Cut Down on Sick Days
A series of new studies, led by Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University, found that occupants of high-performing green buildings showed higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick-building symptoms and higher sleep quality scores than workers in high-performing buildings without green certification.

January 2017

Greenhealth Exchange Sees Significant Growth in 2016
Greenhealth Exchange, launched in May of 2016, has seen its health system ownership nearly double in the span of just seven months.

Healthcare Sustainable Purchasing Tool Under Development
A new partnership between Underwriters Laboratories and Greenhealth Exchange aims to help health care companies realize these financial and EHS benefits by sourcing safer and healthier products and services.

How Hospitals, Recyclers Can Make Recycling Healthcare Plastics Economically Viable
To address low recycling rates and increase the amount of healthcare plastics managed in a circular economy approach, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and the Plastics Industry Association launched a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in the Chicago area.

Practice Greenhealth’s Sustainability Benchmark Report Shows Strong Progress in Environmental Performance Among Nation’s Leading Hospitals
On January 4th, Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, released its eighth annual Sustainability Benchmark Report.

Challenges of hospital plastics recycling include contamination, low commodity values
A recent Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) report found that although it is possible to recover value from various types of plastic medical waste, there are many logistical challenges.

Turning operating room trash into artistic treasure at UW Hospital
Environmentalism, medicine and art all have one thing in common at UW Hospital. Staff members are now recycling and reusing medical plastic, like vial caps, that otherwise would have been thrown away, largely for art projects.

Women bear the brunt of climate-forced migration
Climate Change Knows no Borders, prepared by ActionAid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World (Brot Fuer Die Welt) calls on national policymakers to especially monitor impacts of climate-induced migration on women and urgently address the policy gap.

Living Among Warehouses, Community Fights to Breathe
About 1,341 people in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area are estimated to die each year because of pollution levels.

Hospital touts success of recycling program
The San Juan Regional Medical Center has been actively working on reducing its carbon footprint since 2007, a hospital officials says, resulting in a reduction of 200 tons of waste taken to the landfill each year and a total savings of $2 million to the hospital.

Tunable LED patient-room lighting offers energy efficiency, more
With the help of Department of Energy (DOE) funding, Philips Lighting Research North America is developing an innovative prototype LED patient-suite lighting system that’s not only energy-efficient, but also goes beyond meeting the visual needs of patients, caregivers and visitors to also meet their nonvisual needs.

Hospitals Share Successes, Challenges from Pilot Healthcare Plastics Recycling Program
In December 2016, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) announced the completion of a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in Chicago, collaborating with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).

Cape Town center a standout for sustainable hospital operations management
A range of green technologies is making the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a model facility for sustainable hospital operations management.

Hispanics more likely to be affected by climate change
Hispanics in the U.S. face greater health impacts from climate change than people of other races and ethnicities, and are also likely to favor measures that would curb its effects, according to a new report.

December 2016

Over 70 Hospitals Engaged in Conscientious Culinary Creativity for Food Day
With more than 70 participants from California to Massachusetts, Wisconsin to Florida and the places in between such as Wyoming and Colorado, hospitals answered the call to source and serve food that makes a difference.

Greenhealth Cost of Ownership Calculator
Practice Greenhealth and our partners have developed the the Greenhealth Cost of Ownership (GCO) Calculator that brings the hidden costs of various medical devices to the surface.

Florida Health Systems Share Regional Energy and Water Efficiency Best Practices
In response to the human and ecological health challenges associated with these conditions, the Florida Hospital Association, a member of Practice Greenhealth, recently launched its Hospital Sustainability Collaborative.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Announces Funding for Zero Emission Research The Federal Transit Administration recently announced a $2.75 million opportunity for nonprofit organizations to apply for funding to facilitate the advancement, production, and deployment of zero-emission public transportation vehicle technology and related infrastructure.

Google will soon deliver on 100% renewables promise
Sometime within the next 12 months, internet search and cloud services giant Google will be buying enough clean power on an ongoing basis to account for the electricity needs of both its 13 data centers (so far) and offices in more than 150 cities around the world.

Medical waste recycling process could provide NHS with revenue source
One of Wales’ oldest hospitals is pioneering a new recycling process, which its developers say could ‘revolutionise how healthcare providers worldwide deal with medical waste wrap material’.

Vulnerable populations at risk from effects of climate change: Public health working to find solutions
For vulnerable populations, such as children, low-income people, people with disabilities, pregnant people and minorities, the health effects of climate change-related extreme weather events can be especially devastating.

How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place
Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place.

November 2016

Health and environment ministers pledge climate actions to reduce 12.6 million environment-related deaths Gathering at the COP22 climate meeting in Marrakech, over two dozen high level officials from both sectors signed up to the Declaration for Health, Environment and Climate Change this November.

The power of climate-competent boards
Tangible action that locks us into a net zero greenhouse gas emissions trajectory, as quickly as possible, is more vital than ever. But just as Paris entered into force, the geo-political landscape shifted dramatically.

EU unveils plans to boost ‘clean energy’ use
The EU on Wednesday unveiled “clean energy” plans to boost renewable use, cut waste and reduce subsidies for coal power in a bid to meet its commitments to the Paris climate deal.

Education and Health Sectors Align through Sustainable Food Standards
The Real Food Challenge recently released a set of comprehensive sustainable food standards with which to evaluate the ecological, sociological, and economical impact of individual food products and enable i