Green Departments Program Taking Root Across Mercy

December 30, 2014

MTS Distribution Center (from left): Tom Dalaviras, J.P.

Peltier, Tom Russell, Mike Durbin, Steve Becker, Doyle

Childers, Mike Rieder and Carey Adams. Not pictured:

Anita Irmen.

By Mercy's Madelynn Innes

In just three weeks since Mercy's Green Departments Sustainability Program kicked off, Mercy Hospital Lebanon’s Finance and Patient Advocate departments, as well as Mercy's MTS Distribution Center in Springfield have earned their “Level One” certifications.

Meanwhile, several others in Lebanon and Springfield are working in that direction.

“It’s exciting to see more departments making the effort to engage around waste reduction, energy management and recycling,” said Sustainability Program manager Joshua Jones. As they do, he added, “The potential for sharing best practices across Mercy is immense – a unique solution or innovation that’s identified in one hospital may very well be of value to all of our hospitals.”

Sharing best practices and innovations is integral to the way Mercy’s Green Departments program works. Participants are encouraged to use our online tool - dubbed the Sustainability Wiki - to learn about the program and share ideas with others who also want to help create more sustainable workplaces.

Mike Durbin and his managers from Mercy's MTS Distribution Center, for example, had an idea how to streamline and simplify printer cartridge recycling. After sharing their ideas with other participating departments, that conversation has sparked other discussions and research that’s leading to a standard procedure for recycling printer cartridges across Mercy. “We’ll roll that out as we refresh printers across all of Mercy,” Mike said. “The first part of that is currently planned for January.”

This particular department has been “green” long before our Green Departments program started. Since 2005, it’s been responsible for purchasing every personal computer and printer across Mercy. In that time, they’ve also had a hand in helping recycle those models after they’ve become obsolete or irreparable. When that happens, those models return to this group of nine where they’re stripped of data and trucked by the pallet-loads to our vendor in Chicago.

Since July, Mercy has shipped 16 truckload, or about 200 tons, to our vendor. “It’s about three shipments a month,” Mike said. Besides the satisfaction of knowing we’re helping to keep our equipment out of the waste stream, our vendor shares the profit with us on models that can be refurbished and resold.

Patient Advocate department (from left): Susie Williams, Teresa Esparza and Russ Pickup.

Finance department (from left): Phyllis Woodrum, LeeAnn Pendergraft, Pam Wyant and Doug Hoban.