Environmental Stewardship

Local Chemical Reduction Efforts

Issue link: https://blog.providence.org/i/1323937

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 2

Environmental Stewardship – Chemical Reduction Efforts Across our family of organizations, caregivers are doing their part to reduce harmful chemicals and create more environmentally just practices in everything from laundry to construction. Below is a sample of regional and local efforts. Regional Efforts Oregon 1. Greening cleaning practices More than twenty years ago, Oregon started partnering with "Coastwide Laboratories," an organization that develops cleaning products without harmful phenolic-basic chemicals. Because of this partnership, ministries in Oregon have since: • Transitioned from phenolic-based chemicals to "green formulary" which include water-based chemicals that are effective yet safe enough for use in all patient areas, including our most vulnerable patients. • Worked with partners to influence the EPA to get hydrogen peroxide-based products approved in the U.S. as they were being used effectively in Canada. • Identified the need to reduce from 25 different products to three primary cleaners, which reduced chemicals of harm and increased efficiencies. The three cleaners are: o Primary disinfectant in 90 percent of applications o Neutral cleaner to neutralize floors o Glass cleaner for mirrors and stainless steel to increase shine after disinfectant • Switched from wet woven mops, which require more energy to use, launder and dry, to microfiber which cleans more efficiently and reduces energy use in the laundering process. • Using these newer "green" cleaning chemicals required surfaces to remain wet for a shorter period of time (one minute), which meant using less product to apply and less exposure to caregivers. • When hand sanitizers were initially introduced, they had harsh effects on surfaces, so we worked with vendors to identify milder versions that were still effective. • Sought out the most sustainable packaging for hand sanitizer and hand soap, which required less chemical to sustain its rigid form and ensured it could be recycled. 2. Reducing harmful chemicals from pesticides Ministries in Oregon have partnered with Ecolab to find more humane ways of managing pests with safer treatments. The compounds chosen are safe for children and dry quickly, which allows rooms to be put back in service faster than when they are cleaned with harsher chemicals that take longer to dry. 3. Greening laundry practices • Oregon's two hospitals with onsite laundry have partnered with Ecolab to find a more sustainable approach. Dispensers measure the exact amount of detergent to avoid any excess use and vendors are asked regularly for the most improved sustainable products that are least harmful. • Caregivers are encouraged to make choices that are both good for the environment and our water shed. Specifically: o Caregivers are encouraged to "take what you really need" for each patient, but don't take a stack because once a stack is "Sustainable products sometimes seem more expensive, but if you really look at how much you are using (number of uses per gallon to dilute and dry), these products tend to be cheaper. Plus, our goal is to deliver quality healthcare, and the reduction of harmful chemicals has a direct health benefit." -Tina Landeros, Regional Director, Environment of Care, Oregon

Articles in this issue

view archives of Environmental Stewardship - Local Chemical Reduction Efforts