Union Hospital Employees Launch Recycling Program

An enthusiastic group of Union Hospital employees is ready to launch a new recycling program at Union Hospital in Dover. During the month of March, blue recycling containers will be placed at key locations around the hospital. Employees, patients and visitors will asked to place their plastic and glass beverage containers, metal cans, paper and cardboard in the container for recycling.

The recycling initiative is the result of the “YUHR Lead” leadership training program offered by the hospital to employees, now in its second year. According to Carey Gardner, director of Community Relations, one of the YUHR Lead employee project committees chose recycling and worked with the hospital’s housekeeping staff and the Kimble Recycling and Disposal Company to iron out the details.

“The recycling project will collect the everyday consumables that we all use every day,” Gardner said. “The goal is to work toward a 20 percent reduction in the amount of waste generated by the hospital.”

Gardner says the hospital has already been recycling cardboard boxes, toner cartridges, light bulbs, kitchen grease and shredded documents for years. The hospital operates a separate collection and disposal process for biohazard waste and sharps to prevent infection or injury from such materials.

Ten blue recycling containers will be placed around the hospital in the vending areas, cafeteria, and waiting areas along with signs indicating the types of materials to be deposited. The signs note that styrofoam products cannot be recycled.

“Kimble Recycling has been very helpful in getting this program started,” Gardner said. “We will not need separate collection bins for glass, plastic, metal, and paper. Those materials all go into a single container. The containers will be emptied daily by our Housekeeping staff and the materials placed in a Kimble dumpster outside.”

Gardner says 40 percent of the hospital’s consumer waste is paper, but the kitchen operation produces a large amount of metal waste from the 300 large cans of food products used every day.

The employee committee spearheading the Recycling Project includes Teresa Goss, quality improvement, Hilary Dunn, human resources, Mark Lancaster, vascular lab, Shannon Robinson, employee wellness, Ann Strauss, educational services, Paul Creighton, environmental services, and Bob Craig, administration.

The group will begin the recycling project with a “soft launch” during the week of March 23 and plans special recognition of the program within the hospital on Earth Day, April 22.

Gardner says the YUHR Lead project committee is an enthusiastic group of recycling advocates who understand the important benefits of recycling.

“These employees recognize the value of recycling to keep these materials out of the landfills which is a terrific benefit all by itself,” Gardner said. “And if the goal of reducing the volume of hospital waste by 20 percent can be achieved, the hospital could save money by reducing the number of trash pickups needed and the cost of landfill disposal.”

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