Environmental Stewardship

Local waste reduction efforts_Providence Alaska

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Environmental Stewardship – Local Waste Reduction Efforts Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska Despite being in Alaska where many recycling programs are unavailable, the Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC) team has worked hard to find creative opportunities to reuse, recycle, repurpose and reduce waste. Efforts include: • The Alaska Green Team (AGT) at PAMC put in tremendous effort to transition to reusable dishware in the cafeteria. This initiative has saved hundreds of pounds of polystyrene from being sent to the landfill. • In partnership with an organization called Alpine Fit, PAMC began repurposing blue wrap used for surgical instruments in the OR to make masks when COVID-19 hit. When PPE was limited, the masks made from the blue wrap were given to those entering the hospital that did not have a face mask. • A local sewing group (comprised of community members and past/present PAMC caregivers) has also been sewing masks out of clean lab coats as a result of COVID-19. To date, they've created 200 masks from 40 lab coats. Kid-friendly fabrics from the sewers' personal collections were used to make reversible masks that could provide extra cheer for the parents of little ones at The Children's Hospital at Providence. • A new rag linen program has diverted 7,700 pounds from landfill in five months saving $531 which has earned over $3,000 for a local non-profit called The ARC of Anchorage. • A "surplus" page, similar to "Craigslist", has been created so caregivers can exchange items for reuse, instead of sending them to the landfill. Special notes are added when items must be kept within Providence. • The hospital transitioned from single use to reusable slide tubes. This purchasing decision saved over 12,000 pounds of plastic from going into the waste stream over two years. Slide tubes are slick pieces of fabric or plastic that make it easier for caregivers to reposition patients, which reduces caregiver injuries and the risk of skin tears in patients. • The AGT also held a plastic-free caregiver picnic with water filling stations and canned aluminum water which are reusable, easily recyclable, and have an infinite life! • The AGT also facilitates regular donations of items in disrepair to "Anchorage re:MADE", an organization that transforms and resells items while supporting people in times of need. This effort continues to save truckloads of "junk" from going to the landfill. • Another effort to divert waste from the landfill included donating desk chairs, conference room tables, wall clocks, office lamps to Habitat for Humanity. PAMC Caregiver wearing hand- sewn mask Before After

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