UW News

July 10, 2008

Medical center lauded again as top environmental performer

Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering

UW Medical Center’s Tim Nguyen, manager of Waste Operations, and Sheila Lockwood, Environmental Health and Safety, accepted in May UWMC’s second consecutive Environmental Leadership Award from Practice Greenhealth.

The award is the most prestigious presented in the realm of “green” leadership, said Gary Butrymowicz, director, Environmental Services & Waste Management.

Practice Greenhealth was previously known as Hospitals for a Healthy Environment or H2E, a group founded by the American Hospital Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Health Care Without Harm, and the American Nurses Association.

The organization presented awards to 141 hospitals and health systems for outstanding achievements in reducing waste, eliminating mercury and improving environmental performance.

Butrymowicz said the environmental work has been a group effort and the awards serve as a tribute to all staff who have created a culture of environmental stewardship at UWMC. The medical center’s efforts also align with the UW Environmental Stewardship program, led by President Mark Emmert.

As part of ongoing green efforts, UWMC recently implemented a program that reprocesses costly surgical instruments and avoids disposal costs.

Savings through the program can run as high as 55 percent, compared with buying new instruments (and throwing out old ones). Butrymowicz said the medical center also plans to implement additional food/ compost recycling in the near future.

“The best thing we could all do at UWMC is to eliminate waste and reduce our consumption of supplies, products and utilities,” he said. “Reduction is the highest value of the 3 R’s — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

For more on the award and Practice Greenhealth, visit www.h2e-online.org/.