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Hospitals Divert 100m Pounds From Landfill

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative kept more than 100 million pounds of waste out of landfills in its initial year, according to the program’s first progress report.

The program’s 370 member hospitals recycled more than 50 million pounds of materials and diverted an additional 61.5 million pounds of construction and demolition from landfills through reuse and recycling last year, according to the initiative’s 2012 Milestone Report.

Data in the report was collected from HHI-member hospitals in six key “challenge” areas: leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals, engaged leadership, smarter purchasing and healthier food. Each HHI member is participating in at least one challenge.

Some 172 hospitals provided HHI with data related to its waste challenge — one of the highest levels of any challenge category. Though many more hospitals enrolled in this challenge during HHI’s first year, most are still developing the internal framework and tracking mechanisms for reporting on their waste performance, the report says.

The 44 hospitals that shared information about their construction and demolition recycling activities realized an average recycling rate of 87.33 percent in 2012. 

By focusing on better managing the waste created during the course of construction and demolition projects, 34 Hospital Corporation of America hospitals prevented more than 59 million pounds of construction and demolition debris from entering landfills in 2012 alone. This is an average of 87.59 percent recycling rate.

Some 118 hospitals enrolled in the leaner energy challenge in 2012, providing HHI with their annual energy consumption data through Energy Star Portfolio Manager. On a whole, HHI says its 2012 leaner energy challenge results show “extreme variations” in the health care industry’s experience with energy management and progress towards energy efficiency.

Members could report just for 2012, or for a number of years going further back. The average greenhouse gas intensity of enrollees who only reported for 2012 was .0243 metric tons of greenhouse gas per square foot. This is noticeably higher than the 2012 average of the enrollees who provided data going back several years, which stood at .0211 metric tons of greenhouse gas per square foot. HHI believes this discrepancy is probably evident because those organizations with only 2012 data have just recently started focusing on energy management within their facilities.

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