Turning Trash into Treasure

April 11, 2011

 

Alice Shell, a Mercy co-worker in Fort Smith,
Ark., boxes up supplies for donation to
Mission Outreach. Each month, Mercy hospitals
send 4 to 5 pallets of boxes for use in medical
clinics around the world. 

Outdated or obsolete supplies once bound for
the trash will soon find a new home in the
mission field thanks to Mercy’s partnership
with Mission Outreach.

By Mercy's Laura Keep

If you think it’s tough cleaning out your garage, imagine trying to get rid of surplus medical supplies, obsolete equipment and slightly damaged surgical goods. It’s not an easy task but the Sisters of Mercy Health System is committed to keeping these items out of the landfill and getting them into the hands of people who need them.

“Co-workers really made this happen,” said Julie Jones, Mercy’s executive director of mission and ministry. “Out of their desire to help others and reduce waste, a number of people began investigating what Mercy could do with extra resources.”

ROi, Mercy’s supply chain division, spent two years looking for an outlet for supplies and equipment that could not be resold or repurposed. Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach fit the bill with a worldwide distribution network.

“They have a team of volunteers that sorts all the donations into usable and unusable. They even have vendors who will refurbish equipment that doesn’t work,” says Greg Goddard, Mercy’s ROi director of operation logistics. “What’s still not usable is disposed of in an ecologically responsible manner and the rest is organized into categories and donated to medical missions around the world.”

Each month, Mercy trucks about four pallets of supplies – worth an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 – to the Mission Outreach warehouse in Springfield, Ill.  In the last year, Mercy has donated 44,000 pounds of goods. The items come from any of Mercy’s 28 hospitals and 200 outpatient facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma with the bulk from surgery, lab and nursing units. They include things like stainless steel tools, suture kits, syringes and gauze. Mercy also gathers up durable equipment, such as outdated metal cribs and incubators, which were once gathering dust in storage but have since been refurbished and found a second life in the mission field.

“This program ensures that usable resources are not wasted, but rather continue to serve patients in places where needs are great and supplies are not readily available,” Jones said. “It also shows compassion for the limited resources of the earth. By keeping all of this out of landfills, Mercy reduces waste and is environmentally responsible.”

This unique “recycling” program is making a difference around the world. So far, Mercy donations have made their way to places like Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras and Macedonia.

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01 – Kera Griggs, a Mercy co-worker in Oklahoma City, Okla., puts the finishing touches on a box of donated medical supplies headed for Mission Outreach. Each month, Mercy hospitals send 4 to 5 pallets of items for use in medical clinics around the world.
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02 – Outdated or obsolete supplies once bound for the trash will soon find a new home in the mission field thanks to Mercy’s partnership with Mission Outreach. .
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03 – Alice Shell, a Mercy co-worker in Fort Smith, Ark., boxes up supplies for donation to Mission Outreach. Each month, Mercy hospitals send 4 to 5 pallets of boxes for use in medical clinics around the world.
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04 – Kera Griggs, a Mercy co-worker in Oklahoma City, Okla., fills a box with donated medical supplies for Mission Outreach. Each month, Mercy hospitals send 4 to 5 pallets of boxes for use in medical clinics around the world.
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05 – Each month, Mercy hospitals send 4 to 5 pallets of boxes for use in medical clinics around the world. Kera Griggs, a Mercy co-worker in Oklahoma City, Okla., loads a box with donated medical supplies for the Mission Outreach program.
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06 – Kera Griggs, a Mercy co-worker in Oklahoma City, Okla., fills a box with donated medical supplies headed to clinics around the world.
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07 – Boxes of supplies ready for delivery to Mission Outreach. In the last year, Mercy has kept more than 44,000 pounds of unusable medical supplies and equipment out of landfills by donating them to medical clinics overseas.
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08 – Outdated or obsolete supplies once bound for the trash will soon find a new home in the mission field thanks to Mercy’s partnership with Mission Outreach.
Download Hi-Res Image

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