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What about recycling in your facility?

October 25, 2009
by Kathleen Mears
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Ever since I came to a nursing home 13 years ago, I wondered why this facility did not recycle. I know there are recycling centers in the area. But I do not what the fees were to have recycled items picked up. I did know that it is expensive to have trash picked up and hauled to the landfill three times a week. It is still difficult for me to believe how much cardboard from here goes to the dumpster and then to the landfill.

I used to recycle when I lived on my own. I worked in a community action agency building and they sold me on it. Of course, back in the 80s it was somewhat profitable to save your glass, aluminum, cardboard, and even newspapers. Recycling made me feel that I was doing my part to keep the Earth clean. My father always stressed respecting the Earth. He was into ecology ahead of his time.

I have read a few articles here about helping facilities to become more green either by composting or by growing their own vegetables. But so far I have not read anything about facilities and their recycling policies.

I can think of some reasons why recycling would be a good idea. It saves the Earth therefore it is good for business. Recycling trash could put less carbon into our environment which would be good for business.

I know that some will say recycling is too expensive. They will say that we are wasting oil to remake old products. I know there is controversy around the issue. But when I pass a recycling pickup center in an adjacent county, I have to say that it is totally fascinating to me.

That there could be business in our trash seems to be quite a revelation. It also reaffirms my parents’ Depression belief that everything is reusable.

I would really like to see some input from those who run nursing facilities about recycling. Does your facility do it? Are you thinking about it for the future?

If you do not think it is a good idea based on costs or other reasons please put those comments down.

I hope you will participate.

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Comments

Heritage Day Health Centers is an adult day care organization with 5 centers in central Ohio. We started a small scale recycling program in 2009. Volunteer employees are managing the internal removal of the collected items. Primarily the volunteers would carry the items to a public dumping site. Going forward we will improve this system by relying on Waste Management. Single stream recycling with Waste Management will save us between 20 and 40% on our trash bill.

Waste Management became the first major solid waste company to focus on residential single-stream recycling, which allows customers to mix recyclable paper, plastic and glass in one bin. Residential single-stream programs have greatly increased the recycling rates, recovering as much as three times the amount of recyclable materials. (http://www.wm.com/wm/services/wmra.asp)

Renee Keels
Community Relation Coordinator
Heritage Day Health Centers
www.heritagedayhealth.org

Our assisted living community is comprised of 64 apartments recycles on a limited basis and is coordinated by a resident family member and a resident who does the sorting & pickup of newspaper, magazines and plastic medicine cups. It is then brought to recycling. We have also curtailed the use of stirofoam take-out containers unless absolutely needed. We are looking to expand the recycling to the cans and bottles used by employees.


In my experience in the waste collection industry in London, I've worked with a nursing facility in the past. Perhaps waste collection is a bit more expensive in London than it is in other countries, but the facility really had a hard time. They had a fair amount of medical waste as well, which required a second licensed company to collect their hazardous waste. Recycling their waste and having a waste collection company come in every week took more staff time and more expenses . On a separate note, though, I spoke with the managing executive one time and he reported to me that separating recyclable waste from food waste and non-recyclables was a project that the seniors welcomed.
Christabel Benoit,
Business consultant,
Fantastic Waste Removal

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...