Hospital cleanup creates tons of reuse

October 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- While working on conservation and environmentalism for the present and future, employees at Washington County Hospital took a break to clean out the past.

The hospital got rid of about 50 tons of refuse -- of which about 96 percent was recycled or reused.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County accepted about 20 truckloads of tables, desks, whirlpool baths, overhead projectors and other used items. Habitat could earn about $5,000 to $10,000 from selling the used goods at its ReStore shop, store manager Ken Welch said.

Goodwill Industries was another beneficiary.

The hospital figures it saved the equivalent of:

o Energy to heat and cool 10 homes for a year (about 51 barrels of No. 2 fuel oil)

o Almost 500 trees

o Enough water for daily use by 2,000 people

Deborah Addo, the hospital's vice president for patient care services, led a recognition ceremony Friday as the cleanup concluded.


The radiology department produced the most materials for recycling or reuse.

There was a lot of sorting involved, but "it wasn't hard after we started," said Linda Walla, the department's administrative director.

Departments shared unusual or old items they found.

Mitch Towe, director of volunteer services, held up an old cookbook compiled by the ladies' auxiliary. The publication date isn't listed, but it came with a note that the 1913 annual report will be published soon.

The radiology department found books and letterhead stationery from Dr. Stanley H. Macht, chief of radiology from 1950 to 1975.

Items were presented to Macht's son, Harold Macht, who recognized books from his father's residency at a Philadelphia hospital. He said his father told him about once X-raying the hand of former baseball star Joe DiMaggio when the New York Yankees were playing the Philadelphia Athletics.

Waste Management, which helped organize the cleanup, has a division to help health care facilities recycle, said Stefanie Feldman, the company's senior program manager.

"We were kind of the orchestrators behind the scenes," she said.

The cleanup began last month at the hospital's Franklin Street warehouse. Work at the hospital went on this past week.

Addo said the hospital has a volunteer Green Team that works on making the hospital more efficient and environmental.

Recyclable materials are used for food trays. A farmers' market is held once a week. Documents are printed with a font that uses less ink.

The Green Team thought up the October cleanup, Addo said.

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