Going green

July 1, 2019| Epworth News /

Did you know – healthcare produces 7% of Australia’s carbon emissions, with hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry alone responsible for two-thirds of these emissions.

As a result, the industry is now looking at innovative ways to reduce its environmental footprint and Epworth is leading from the front, with new campaigns and initiatives including cutting down on single-use medical equipment and surgical waste from operating theatres.

In 2017 – 2018, we were diverting 20% of our waste from landfill, with a target to increase this to 30% by July this year which we’re on track to reach.

We’re looking to reduce the size of our environmental footprint across 10 hospitals, with sustainability a primary pillar in our strategic plan. We’ve also recently employed a Group Sustainability Manager and are getting team members involved with coming up with unique ways that we can reduce waste.

Epworth Richmond has received a Green Eco food waste dehydrator courtesy of a City of Yarra and Sustainability Victoria Food Waste Minimisation Pilot Program. By the end of May, the dehydrator will process up to 400L of food waste each day, turning it into a soil conditioner as well as a fuel source for a new waste-to-energy facility in Melbourne.

We’ve also been focused on reducing coffee cup waste, starting with all onsite cafes in a bid to tackle the 1 billion disposable cups Australians use each year. Anyone who brings their own reusable cup or mug will receive a discount on their daily brew.

Water reduction is also a strong focus and recently, Epworth Geelong recorded an impressive saving of one million litres in just over four months, all thanks to a simple but innovative initiative to divert reject water produced from the reverse osmosis process in dialysis. Instead of being wasted down the drain, this water is now being used to fill onsite rainwater tanks previously supplemented by millions of litres of potable water for ongoing use in gardens and toilet flushing.

Other sustainability initiatives underway

  • Recycling of single-use items including Kimguard sterile wraps, aluminum canisters, metal implements, batteries and PVC oxygen tubing and masks

  • Reducing the amount of single-use hand towel used across the organisation

  • Ensuring team members have access to bike racks to encourage riding to work

  • Working with social enterprises such as genU in Geelong to assist with meal preparations

  • We’ve become a member of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, an international network of health organisations dedicated to reducing their environmental footprint and promoting environmental health


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