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Going green at Weiss

A lot has changed in the decades since Weiss Memorial Hospital first opened its doors in 1953, and the changes go beyond medical advancements. The “Green Team” at Weiss wants to make the hospital a leader in healthcare environmentalism and green technology. br />
“Everything is exciting. Everything costs a little money, but we know that. Weiss is willing to invest in the future,” says Terry Tuohy, director of volunteerism and the co-chair of the hospital’s “Green Team.” Vanguard Health Systems, which includes Weiss and hospitals across the country, gave all of its hospitals the task of starting green committees dedicated to increasing sustainability.

“The time was right. We’d already started going green out of a health perspective,” adds Tuohy, alluding to the rooftop garden and farmers market started at the hospital last year. “Our incentive was to make people healthy. They’ve got to eat better, to grow good foods locally.”

As employees supported the farmers market and garden, they began asking questions about composting and water usage. What further steps could they take at home? What more could be done at the hospital?

Before the Green Team formed at Weiss this past fall, groups throughout the hospital had independently started researching and purchasing environmentally-conscious options. Environmental services, plant operations and construction had all taken measures, such as installing light fixtures that use less electricity and water pipes that conserve water. These materials are also less toxic than other more traditional materials on the market, making the hospital safer for patients.

Coming together collectively, people from across disciplines within the hospital have pooled their expertise and created new initiatives to help make Weiss an environmental leader—for the health of patients, staff and the community.

The hospital also offers:

  • Battery deposit boxes, to deter people from throwing away batteries in the garbage. Batteries are highly corrosive, and when they end up in landfills, they run the risk of leaching heavy metals and exposing land and water to lead and acid.
  • Recyclable or biodegradable to-go containers in the cafeteria.
  • Glass carafes and water glasses for meetings and special events, to avoid using disposable water bottles.
In April, Weiss will celebrate Earth Month with a series of tips and events. Be on the lookout for more details in the next few weeks!

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