Hartshorn Health Center audited nearly 171 pounds of trash this month to determine what type and the amount of waste the building puts out in an effort to strategically create a sustainability plan.
Volunteers sifted through three days worth of trash to determine how much waste the center could potentially reduce, reuse or recycle, which they feel could be representative of the rest of the campus’ waste.
“The trash we audited is fairly typical of the trash you would find in dumpsters around campus,” Sheela Backen, manager for the integrated solid waste program, said.
The results of the three-day audit, not including biohazardous wastes, concluded:
/29% of the generated trash has the potential to be recycled.
/48% of the generated trash has the potential to be composted.
/77% of the health centers current trash that is generated has the potential to be kept out of landfills.
“This is not something we are being forced to do, but it is something that our building feels strongly about, and many of the staff already have a passion to improve on this practice,” said Gwen Sieving, a health educator for Hartshorn.
Hartshorn encouraged their employees to practice a more sustainable lifestyle by creating a sustainability team.
“We hope we can serve as a role model for the students when they see the different practices that we use in the health center and observe behaviors of our staff such as recycling and using less paper,” Sieving said.
Backen agreed that the campus could be doing much more in ways of recycling, and she said she hopes this audit will bring the issue to attention.
“People just don’t take the time to take stuff to the recycling bins, and we need people to be more conscience of what they are putting in the trash,” Backen said. “We are trying to make it as easy as possible for the campus population to recycle, and we are hoping that by doing this we will gain more participation.”
Hartshorn will take the results from the audit, as well as results from their other audits of water usage and utility usage and make a plan of guidelines and practices to incorporate into their business.
“Down the road we would love to take what we learn about being more sustainable and sharing that with other building on the campus,” Sieving said. “We hope to support the mission of Penley’s vision.”
Recently the Hartshorn Health Center underwent a survey from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare, earning a new three-year reaccreditation.
Voluntarily process where the AAAHC makes sure that the health center meets their nationally recognized standards for quality healthcare and healthcare business practices.
The center has been accredited since 1996, and this year it was considered a model program according to Stephen Blom, executive director of Hartshorn Health Service and University Counseling Center.
Blom said, “It was one of the best surveys the health center has ever had.”
According to the AAAHC website, many standards need to be met in order to receive accreditation. The main core standards include:
/Rights of patients
/Quality of care provided
/Quality management and improvement
/Clinical records and health information
/Facilities and environment
/Surgical and related services
“[Getting accredited] is nothing that we have to do, but it is a commitment of our staff and by actually getting the accreditation, it proves that we are actually providing the best services and health care we can,” Blom said.
Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.