FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2011
Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment
Press Contact: Molly Englund, Communications Coordinator, 410-706-6832
Hospitals Across Maryland Celebrate Green Initiatives for Earth Day
Enter a hospital in Maryland on April 22nd, and there’s a good chance a lot more will be going on than patient care. It’s Earth Day – and they’re celebrating big.
A dozen hospitals in Maryland will be beating the environmental drum on Earth Day, according to a survey administered by Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E). The activities will range in size and scope, but all will attempt to combine education and fun.
Health care accounts for 8% of the U.S. carbon-footprint, and Maryland hospitals are stepping up to be stewards of the health of the whole community, including patients, staff, and surrounding neighbors, by taking concrete steps to reduce their environmental impact.
In 2007, only four hospitals in Maryland had a green team, a group of employees dedicated to fostering sustainable programs. Today, over two-thirds of acute care hospitals in Maryland have one. And what better way to showcase their hard work and environmental policies and educate the community than with Earth Day festivities?
Have sensitive papers to get rid of? Go to Carroll Hospital Center, where a truck outfitted with a shredder will be ready to shred onsite and recycle the papers of hospital staff and Carroll County residents. A local vendor will also be available to collect used batteries. But it’s not all about recycling – a local landscaper will be handing out free evergreen seedlings, and the cafeteria will be serving local sustainable chicken and increasing their vegetarian options all week long. Said Colleen Duerr, Carroll Hospital Center’s Green Team Chair, “Everyone here [at the hospital], from the executive team down, knows how hard the green team is working. So we’re excited to show that to the community and to engage with them.” Carroll Hospital Center is the first hospital in Maryland to use sustainability management software, which the green team will be displaying with their savings – greening can indeed save money – from the past year.
Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) will be throwing their Earth Day fair for employees and volunteers, which will include a four zoned event: Farmers’ Market, GBMC Green Team, Individual/Home Sustainability, and Plants and Gardening. According to Mike Forthman, Vice President of Facilities and Support Services, “This event allows employees to participate as well as to be educated on way to improve their environmental sustainability at both work and home. There are many small steps that they can take that add up to big improvements.” GBMC will provide recycling stations for cell phones, eyeglasses, and alkaline batteries. Community Supported Agricultures (CSAs) will be available for sign-up; a CSA allows employees to prepay for a season’s worth of produce, delivered to GBMC right from the farm.
Going green is also a great way to save resources. On Earth Day, University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) will host a scrub swap, where staff can bring their gently used scrubs and trade with each other. UMMC will also feature a water test station to encourage employees to drink tap water instead of buying bottled water (but make sure to recycle the bottle if you do). “It provides an excellent opportunity to educate folks on what we’ve been doing regarding sustainability, which staff are always happy to hear about,” said Sustainability Manager Denise Choiniere. “We have giveaways and prizes, too!” Educational posters will include topics from the effects of plastic on the environment to Baltimore City public transportation options.
Events are taking place at hospitals across the state, celebrating sustainable efforts that will continue to grow as healthcare delves deeper into all things “green.”
For a complete list of hospitals that responded to MD H2E’s Earth Day Event Survey, contact Molly Englund at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E) is a technical assistance and networking initiative that promotes environmental sustainability in health care. Participants include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, research laboratories, and other ancillary health care providers in Maryland.
For more information on MD H2E see www.mdh2e.org.