Hospital, MRCC "go green" for environment, savings

By Brian Sweeney
A shift to “greener” practices at Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center will save the use of approximately 200,000 foam cups annually.
The decision to cut back on disposable products is just one of the changes being implemented to make the hospital and its sister facility, Mountainside (an 82-bed long-term care facility) more environmentally friendly.
Director of Hospitality Services Connie Mathiesen oversees the dietary, housekeeping and laundry departments and said that “green” changes are being made in every area.
By substituting regular coffee cups for foam cups, the facilities are using 8,000 fewer foam cups per month. A similar savings - for the environment and the budget - is being realized by utilizing regular silverware instead of disposable products.
Mrs. Mathiesen said that plans are in the works to begin utilizing regular cups instead of disposables to administer medications to residents. With medications given three times daily to approximately 80 residents at Mountainside, this switch will save nearly 88,000 additional cups each year.
“Since we started cutting back on cup use a couple of months ago, there’s already a noticeable difference in our supply ordering,” she pointed out.
Among the other changes being made to make Mountainside more environmentally friendly is a conscious shift to products that are made from recyclable containers and packaging.
In addition, many of the cleaning products now being used are highly concentrated formulas so the amount of cleaner used is greatly reduced.
The health care environment requires that disinfectant be used, but Mrs. Mathiesen said her staff has been able to make strides in this area by changing to chemicals such as Envirox H2Orange2 that has reduced toxicity and is less harmful to the environment.
Another step in the green movement at the health care campus is a switch to a micro fiber mop system. This allows for cleaning water to be changed less frequently, saving on water and chemicals, Mrs. Mathiesen explained.
She also noted that heavy duty floor strippers are no longer used, having been replaced with more earth-friendly cleaning products.
Mrs. Mathiesen said that staff are also being reminded that they have to be more conscious of recycling products such as cardboard, because such practices can eventually make a big difference.
“Everybody has started going green. We know it’s better for the environment and it’s better for the employees and the residents,” Mrs. Mathiesen noted.