From cutting down on paper products to using more environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, a new Children's Hospital Boston committee is organizing the hospital's "green" initiative. The committee is made up of employees who are interested in helping implement and spread the word about the hospitals' many eco-friendly efforts. Below are ways departments have started to green-ify the hospital:
The first visible green effort is the reverse vending machine installed in the Cafe in August. Similar to the machines you've see at supermarkets, it takes back your cans and bottles and the proceeds go toward the cost of the machine. Food Services is working with vendors to exclusively purchase beverage containers that can be recycled through the machine. The wrap station started wrapping sandwiches in paper instead of using plastic boxes and did away with Styrofoam containers. Also, August marked the first of many organic produce events, where local farmers sold their chemical-free, all-natural foods.
Real Estate Planning and Development
Children's is working closely with the Green Guide for Health Care, a manual that enables developers, owners and landlords of health care facilities to achieve certification in planning, constructing, designing, operating and maintaining buildings. Boston has created a city ordinance requiring that all new buildings follow these practices, which has requirements for ventilation and energy conservation. The current Longwood campus buildings were built after this ordinance was set, but Children's is moving toward going completely green with its existing and new buildings alike. "We have 1.8 million square feet of occupied space, and you can't change that overnight," says Charles Weinstein, VP, Real Estate Planning and Development. "But we're committed to making the physical environment healthful and not harmful—not only in the construction of buildings, but in how they're operated." Weinstein has developed a 10-year plan that will adhere to green standards.
Additionally, Children's at Waltham was renovated with the Green Guide for Health Care's codes in mind and the renovation of 241 Kent Street (the new patient-family housing facility in Brookline) will also be green.
Materials Management is working to recycle more than bottles and cans. They're also recycling paper, computer monitors, TVs, old electronics, beds, dressers, medical equipment and other furniture—even counter tops. Materials Management will create a "one stop shop" where everything can be picked up, making it easier to recycle. This new initiative seized its first recycling opportunity with the renovation of Bader 5 by donating the old inpatient psychiatric unit's wooden beds and dressers.
The department is also working with the office supplier WB Mason to buy more recyclable products. Children's is already a leader in this area compared to the other businesses WB Mason distributes to, but plans to do even more.
Security needed more mobile presence, but instead of another vehicle, it opted for the environmentally safe bike squad.
Parking and Commuter Services
Parking is exploring the possibility of adding shuttle services to decrease the number of people who need to drive into the city.
Environmental Services is making a major switch to using green cleaning products that contain fewer toxins. Their goal is to find cost-effective, environmentally safe products that are effective cleaning tools and don't compromise the quality of infection control.
There will be opportunities to get involved with Children's "green" efforts, look to future issues of Children's News and Small Talk to find out how you can help.