Green Washington 2011: Health Care


Winner: Seattle Children’s Hospital
250-bed pediatric hospital in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood.

GREEN ACTIONS The regulations surrounding the handing of medical waste can be stringent, making recycling and reuse in a health care setting difficult.  Seattle Children's Hospital has found new ways to reprocess medical devices. The hospital also purchases eco-friendly materials and has established transportation programs that encourage ride sharing and bicycle commuting.

RESULTS The hospital estimates it has diverted 42,000 pounds of plastic from the landfill by reusing containers for sharp implements such as needles and lancets, and saved more than $392,000 by reprocessing pulse oximeters and catheters. Children’s staff bicycled more than 439,000 miles to work last year, avoiding 71,000 vehicle trips and saving about $136,000 in personal vehicle costs.

Runner Up: Animal Critical Care & Emergency Services
Emergency veterinary service.

GREEN ACTIONS In addition to improving recycling and composting programs, the practice employed environmentally sound building and landscaping materials and methods when opening its Renton office in 2010 and has offered incentives to increase staff commuter efficiency. At both locations, it switched to microfiber cloths for cleaning intensive care units, and it recycles medical and other materials. It asked medical suppliers to improve packaging and changed radiology and cleaning practices to cut down on paper waste.

RESULTS Paper towel use dropped by 30 to 40 percent. All developer and film waste has been eliminated. Other changes together have led to its being one of the first veterinary practices in Washington to earn a 5-star EnviroStar rating.

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