Mercy Medical Center wins state honor as recycling project of the year

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Mercy Medical Center has earned the 2013 Award for Excellence as the Recycling Project of the Year in recognition of the hospital’s expanded commitment to reducing trash significantly by using cutting-edge technology.

Mercy is the only facility receiving the top honor in this category from the Iowa Recycling Association (IRA). City Carton Recycling of Cedar Rapids, Mercy’s recycling service provider, nominated Mercy for the award for the hospital’s commitment to recycling and other “impressive” green business practices.

Mercy is the first business and only hospital in the area to use a split compactor and begin an organic composting program. The state-of-the-art recycle/trash compactor (purchased in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency) allows co-mingled recycling hospital-wide. Mercy also began an organic composting program last December. As a result of those two efforts, Mercy diverted nearly 40 percent of its waste between January 2012 and March 2013.

Les Etscheidt, Director of Mercy’s Environmental Services Department, stressed the importance of the commitment hospital-wide to “going green” that helped make the program successful.

“We’re pleased to have our recycling initiatives recognized through this award,” Etscheidt said. “Mercy is committed to working for a healthy environment, economy and community, and pro-active recycling is a big part of that.”

In 2012, Mercy:

• Diverted a monthly average of 3.48 tons from the landfill through recycling

• Diverted an average of 5.45 tons per month from the landfill by composting

• Reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated by 87%

Blue recycling containers are located throughout the hospital for staff, patients and visitors to use. In addition to diverting clean plastic, newspapers, magazines, rinsed tin cans, water bottles, chipboard and non-confidential papers through the co-mingled recycling program; Mercy also recycles cardboard, batteries, pallets, plastic wrap and sterile wrap from surgical products.

The Iowa Recycling Association will present Mercy with its award at a July 18 ceremony in Des Moines.


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