By Ms. Suzanne Ovel (Army Medicine)June 10, 2016
Madigan Army Medical Center's efforts to stay green earned it the honor of being named as a part of the Practice Greenhealth Circle of Excellence on May 19.
This award is given to healthcare organizations for outstanding performance in reducing their environmental footprints; Madigan was specifically recognized for its waste reduction efforts.
"It's no surprise that Madigan is definitely a leader in that category," said Michael Kyser, the supervisor of Madigan's Environmental Health Service. He attributed the award to Madigan's strong green culture, to being a part of the environmentally-conscious Pacific Northwest and to joining in with Joint Base Lewis-McChord initiatives like their recent waste diversion contract.
Madigan's Green Team boasts a trail of other environmental awards in the past few years, to include Practice Greenhealth's Environmental Excellence Award in 2015, their Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award in 2014, and their Environmental Leadership Circle in 2013.
Thanks to a collaboration between Madigan's Environmental Health Service, Property Management Section and JBLM, 2015 saw Madigan for the first time recycling and repurposing old furniture by recycling its plastic and metal components, and repurposing its pressed wood. The contract also lets Madigan recycle 100 percent of pallets and boxes used to deliver new furniture. Altogether, the effort to recycle and reuse old furniture reduced Madigan's trash by 10 tons last year.
In addition, the ongoing recycling efforts of Madigan resulted in 48 percent of waste being recycled in 2015, said Kyser. Madigan recycles everything from shredded paper to mixed metals to batteries. The efforts to cut back on waste go beyond recycling to areas like composting leftover food and encouraging dining facility patrons to use china instead of disposable containers when eating in.
Kyser is quick to give credit to everyone who has a part in making environmentally-friendly decisions.
"Without Team Madigan, none of this would actually happen," said Kyser, who noted that the key to getting engagement from all levels of the hospital is the decentralization of Madigan's environmental program. Environmental coordinators throughout the hospital help make recycling efforts more successful, as do all of the efforts of staff and patients to recycle and segregate waste appropriately on a daily basis.
Kyser especially thanked housekeeping staff for their role in these efforts.
"We can't say enough about what housekeeping services is doing to make it happen," he said, noting that they are the ones who ensure waste and recycling get collected from areas throughout the hospital and find their ways to the right external bins. He also touted the work of Madigan's Logistics Division, for overseeing housekeeping and property management as well as for their part in hazardous waste management.
"Logistics is pretty much the hub to make sure that waste is collected and properly segregated and turned in," said Kyser.
As someone who's worked at Madigan for more than 20 years, Kyser said that he's seen a huge transformation in the green efforts here which have permeated throughout the organization.
"It's a culture. So to me, that's what we've done. We've developed a sustainable culture. It's now become a way of life a way of life for us to recycle. It wasn't that way when I got her in '95," said Kyser. "We've pretty much transformed this hospital into a culture of sustainability."