Sustainability: How Fairview Is Greening Health Care

We’re committed to reducing waste and our use of energy.

Fairview is doing our part to diminish our impact on the environment

Each and every year, the health care industry is a leading producer of waste and consumer of energy. The average hospital generates more than 2,000 pounds of trash a day.

That’s why Fairview’s doing our part to diminish our impact on the environment.

Leading the way

With the launch of our Green Team program in 2010, Fairview began empowering our employees to create a better, safer, greener workplace and community.

We’re now recognized both locally and nationally for our sustainability work.

Fairview has been recognized again by Practice Greenhealth for our work to set system-wide sustainability goals, track data, benchmark against others and share successes.

“These awards are a great indicator that we are doing things right,” says April Schumacher, Fairview’s sustainability specialist. “However, there’s always room for improvement and more initiatives to develop.”

Ideas become reality

On average, operating rooms (OR) generate the most waste in a hospital. One of the biggest contributors is the "blue wrap" that keeps surgical instruments sterile as they wait to be used in the OR.

Back in 2011, members of the OR Green Team at University of Minnesota Medical Center - East Bank were determined to find a way to recycle it.

After collaborating with our trash vendor, the hospital became the first locally to recycle blue wrap—and this program is still going strong. More than 80 tons of blue wrap has been kept out of landfills so far.

Other great ideas and successes are happening throughout our system:
  •  Our retail pharmacies converted their delivery coolers from plastic foam to biodegradable starch material, saving more than 50,000 polystyrene containers from being sent to patient homes annually.
  • We eliminated 2.8 million plastic foam cups, bowls, plates and to-go containers in our hospital cafeterias and now use compostable ones instead.
  • New trash can labels reduced the amount of waste and increased the amount of recycling.
“We want all staff to feel empowered and be problem solvers,” says Osman Akhtar, chief operating officer. “Doing so will not only drive our sustainability program, but also elevate our patient experience."

Make every day Earth Day

Fairview will continue to take steps to provide a healthier environment for our patients and community as more sustainability programs are rolled out in 2018 and the future.

“Making a difference can be really simple,” April says. “Treat every day like it’s Earth Day. Implement and activate your ideas year-round.”

What are you doing this Earth Day to make a difference?

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