Hackensack University Medical Center Expands Green Initiatives
Hackensack University Medical Center significantly improved its sustainability initiatives in 2013, demonstrating its commitment to environmentally responsible programs and business practices. The efforts included strategic partnerships with organizations such as PSE&G, TerraCycle, Green Demolitions and Benjamin Moore & Co.
Specifically, HackensackUMC successfully diverted nearly 250,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill by utilizing a biodigester, a technology that uses micro-organisms that breaks down the food into a liquid substance for the drainage system. Another 7,000 pounds of vegetable oil waste was sent to the Department of Public Works in Westwood, NJ, to be converted into a biodiesel fuel,withfar lower greenhouse gasemissions thanpetroleum-based diesel. Thanks to a donation of a colorant system by Benjamin Moore, the hospital fostered a cleaner environment by using zero-volatile organic compound (VOC) paint throughout the campus in Hackensack. Conventional paints contain VOCs that can contribute to poor indoor air quality.
“Last year, across HackensackUMC’s facilities, we made great strides in terms of advancing our green initiatives,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer, Hackensack University Health Network. “As an example, we reduced our medical waste by nearly half in just one year from 1.35 million pounds to just 765,000 pounds. As one of the largest employers in the state and a public health organization, we have a responsibility to be top environmental stewards, and we will continue to accelerate our work to achieve a more sustainable future.”
Moreover, with the help of PSE&G, two new chillers are currently replacing older models. The initial infrastructure investment will cost $7.4 million for the upgrade with annual savings of $645,000. Thus, the hospital will soon be able to save money from these investments. This follows a transition to LED lighting after an investment-grade energy audit was commissioned by the medical center. The entire efficiency program will be complete in 2014.
“I would like to sincerely thank every HackensackUMC health professional and team member for their dedication and hard work to making our workplace significantly greener this year,” said Deirdre Imus, president and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center. “In the past year, we saw our ‘green team’ jump from 14 members to 165 as our sustainability proposals quickly became a reality. We look forward to eclipsing our already impressive results in 2014.”
Trenton-based TerraCycle also played a crucial role. Their expertise allowed the hospital to recycle more than one ton of materials including diaper packaging, keyboards and mice, shoes, candy wrappers and chip bags. More than 30 departments at HackensackUMC joined the program.
Smaller changes also garnered substantial results. The medical center unveiled its second recycling station at the Aquarium Café and a third station is currently being built in the Medical Plaza building located on the HackensackUMC campus. It was also a year of firsts as HackensackUMC held its first electronic waste collection for its healthcare team, its first tree planting event during earth week and its first campus-wide spring cleaning paper shred day. These efforts resulted in the Partner for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth.
Among the most important proposals was the creation of a sustainable garden outside of the John Theurer Cancer Center, donated by Tode Landscaping of Midland Park, New Jersey which features all native trees and plants, including: Serviceberry trees Inkberry Holly shrubs, Black Eyed Susan flowers, and Roxanne Geraniums. The garden also features permeable pavers that absorb rain water and reduce runoff, making the community more resilient during future storms.
As the new year begins, HackensackUMC continues to improve upon waste management, recycling and energy efficiency by expanding its efforts network-wide. Moreover, the medical center’s dedicated sustainability teamwill pursue new proposals to further decrease its carbon footprint and engage neighboring communities.
About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,140 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,200 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey and one of the top three New York metro area hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings for 2013-14. It also received 10 national rankings in: Cancer; Cardiology & Heart Surgery; Ear, Nose & Throat; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery; Geriatrics; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; Pulmonology; Urology; and the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital ranked as one of the Top 50 Best Children’s Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospitals list. The children’s hospital is housed with the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital in the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center using the highest “green building” standards, and was included on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is among Healthgrades® America’s Best 100 Hospitals in five different areas – more than any other hospital in the state, is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for seven years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 12 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 22 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls, and remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.