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OHSU Wins Prestigious Environmental Award

Oregon Health & Science University has received the 2007 Environmental Leadership and the Making Medicine Mercury Free awards from the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E).

The Annual H2E Awards and Recognition Program is the premier source of national recognition for environmental leadership and achievements in health care. The nonprofit group, H2E, focuses on educating, motivating and engaging health care professionals to adopt best environmental practices to better support an environmentally sustainable system that improves the health of patients, staff and the community.

OHSU was honored for:

    * Eliminating all mercury from its hospitals, except for trace amounts in fluorescent light bulbs. OHSU inventoried and collected all clinical mercury-containing devices in 2000 and all facilities’ mercury-containing devices in 2002 and recycled 60,341 lineal feet of fluorescent light bulbs, 742 pounds of CFL bulbs (including those from employees' homes) 48 pounds of street light bulbs and 4 pounds of mercury at the annual household hazardous waste event.

    *   Reducing water consumption. Even thought OHSU has grown by more than 2 million square feet of building space, water consumption continues to drop, energy consumption does not increase relative to the amount of space added and OHSU’s recycling commitment continues to reduce its impact on landfills

Besides these outstanding efforts, OHSU also has an innovative food waste recycling system. A pulper was installed in the dish room instead of a garbage disposal. The pulper works in the same way that a garbage disposal works, but instead of grinding and sending the material down the drain, it is pulped into little pieces, and that material is sent to Cedar Grove Composting to be turned into a use able product.

Last year OHSU recycled: 582,000 pounds of cardboard; 84,000 pounds of plastics; 38,000 pounds of glass; 32,000 pounds of metal; 26,000 pounds of wood, 69,760 pounds of computers and electronic equipment; 20,850 pounds of batteries and 78,000 pounds of landscaping material.

This award joins the growing number of accolades OHSU has recently received for its commitment to sustainable and environmentally aware practices, including the recent designation of its Center for Health & Healing as the only medical facility in the nation to receive platinum LEED certification. OHSU also won a 2007 City of Portland Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow Award for Green Building.

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