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Pacific Northwest Hospitals Receive EPA Innovation Grant

Release Date: 6/1/2005
Contact Information: Kathy Johnson
(206) 553-8513

June 1, 2005

A consortium of Pacific Northwest hospitals and public health organizations recently received a $26,820 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an innovative pilot plastic recycling program for rural hospitals.

The grant was awarded to Northwest Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E). H2E is sponsored by the Oregon Center for Environmental Health, in partnership with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ), Good Shepherd Health Care in Hermiston, Oregon, Legacy Health System of Greater Portland, Oregon, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

In addition to increasing recycling, this project will also work to strengthen the existing Northwest H2E network of hospitals and organizations by promoting collaboration and information sharing among an industry that has traditionally not shared information.

The specific objectives of this recycling pilot are to:
  • Establish a comprehensive plastics recycling program for a rural hospital in Oregon that will serve as a model for hospitals throughout the region;
  • Develop a blue plastic wrap (used to wrap sterilized items) recycling program for at least one Idaho hospital.

American hospitals produce at least 6,600 tons of waste everyday. The generation and disposal of wastes has numerous environmental impacts on land, air and water. The American Hospital Association has found that healthcare institutions that have engaged in full-fledged waste reduction efforts have realized disposal cost savings of 40-70 percent.

The H2E project was one of eight innovative projects that received a grant in 2005. This year EPA awarded a total of $445,449 for this grant program across the country.

EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) have sponsored a series of innovative pilots to test new ideas and strategies for environmental and public health protection. A small amount of money is set aside to fund creative approaches to waste minimization, energy recovery, recycling, land revitalization, and homeland security that may be replicated across various sectors, industries, communities, and regions. OSWER hopes these pilots will pave the way for programmatic and policy recommendations by demonstrating the environment and economic benefits of creative, innovative approaches to the difficult environmental challenges we face.

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