If it’s good for the planet, it’s good for the patient.
At Northridge Hospital Medical Center, we recognize that as community leaders and stewards of community health, we can have a lasting impact on the environment by Reducing, Recycling, Replenishing, Reusing, Reprocessing and Donating.
Environmental sustainability programs help hospitals significantly improve environmental health. These efforts also can lower costs, improve organizational performance and enhance the patient and employee experience.
We are proud to have achieved recognition as a National Practice Greenhealth Award Winner
- 2010, 2011 & 2012 – Partner for Change Award
- 2009 – Partner Recognition Award/Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
One of the most significant steps in the organization's waste reduction efforts was to work with the Purchasing Department to move from disposable to reusable or reduced packaging when possible. In fact, a reduction in waste is included in some vendor contracts. Moreover, many vendors have been instructed not to leave waste behind when they make deliveries.
This eye-opening practice has alerted vendors to the amount of waste and spurred some to make changes.
- Efforts have resulted in a 242 percent reduction of medical waste over the past six years.
- Since fiscal year 2006, the amount of paper and cardboard recycled at Northridge Hospital has increased 231 percent from 183 tons to an all-time high of 606 tons in 2011.
- In September 2010, our Department of Radiation Oncology became paper-free and film-free with the addition of electronic patient records. This enhancement along with our Picture Archiving System is not only safer for patients; it also reduces our paper usage and saves other resources, as images are stored digitally instead of on film. (http://www.northridgehospital.org/Medical_Services/Diagnostic_Imaging/index.htm) • Northridge Hospital has been “Mercury-free” since 2001.
- We are part of the first healthcare system in the nation to begin using pigment-free patient plastics in all of its hospitals. Northridge Hospital replaced everyday products that are used at the patient’s bedside, such as bedpans, washbasins, water pitchers and drinking cups, with pigment-free products. Pigment-free products support greener manufacturing because they eliminate the need for potentially harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process. Based on its annual usage of these products, Dignity Health will divert an estimated 2,935 lbs. (1.33 tons) of pigment from leaching into the soil and groundwater.
- PVC/DEHP-Free Products: In 2005, we transitioned to PVC/DEHP-free intravenous bags, solutions and tubing. Dignity Health was the first major health system to take such a strong position on the use of PVC/DEHP-free products. With this effort, we eliminated approximately 840 tons of this toxic material from both the patient care setting and the waste stream.
- In 2011, through the use of reusable sharps containers, Dignity Health eliminated 1,344,227 tons of red plastic and 73,098 tons of corrugated packaging containers waste, and prevented carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 31,255 gallons of gasoline.
- In 2012, an innovative, quiet, vibration-free operation and energy efficiency Fanwall replaced the traditional single fans in one of the buildings in the Hospital. The energy savings for the new Fanwall are estimated to be:
- The existing motor consumes 65.8kWh. At existing power rates it costs $69,745.00 per year to operate.
- The new fan wall will consume 43.03kWh. At existing power rates it would cost $45,610.00 per year to operate.
- At existing power rates there will be a net savings of $24,135.00 with the new fan wall, and a 35 percent savings in kWh.
- Since 2006, the amount of paper and cardboard recycled at Northridge Hospital has increased 231 percent from 183 tons to an all-time high of 606 tons in 2011. This represents 980,793 pounds of paper and 231,327 pounds of cardboard. This equals a savings of 10,303 Trees and 1,818 Cubic Feet of Landfill Space
- Employee recycling efforts for florescent bulbs, CFLs, ink and toner cartridges, batteries, used sharps and mercury containing products help keep harmful toxin out of the regular garbage.
- As a smoke-free environment, we help to keep the air clean while supporting our environment.
- Low-flow sprinkler heads are used for landscaping irrigation.
- Environmentally-friendly mulch for landscaping blocks weeds reducing the need of toxic weed killer, regulates soil temperature and moisture so less water is needed and helps fights erosion.
- The Dietary Department transitioned to paperless non-skid patient trays with reusable tableware.
- In 2011, $127,034 was saved and 4,578 lbs. of waste were prevented with single-use device processing.
- Dignity Health has contracted with Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Inc. (formerly known as Ascent Healthcare Solutions), an independent third-party reprocessor of single-use medical devices (SUDs). This company reprocesses selected items, such as electro-physiology catheters, orthopedic burrs, bits and blades, trocars, arthroscopic instruments, making them safe for repeated use.
We have been working diligently to assure a responsible approach to reprocessing, which conserves resources without placing our patients at risk. In 2011 Dignity Health eliminated 198,080 lbs. of medical waste from the waste stream at a fiscal cost avoidance of $5,596,218.
- Northridge Hospital, with assistance from Dignity Health, has donated more than two tons of medical equipment for mission work in Guatemala.
Northridge Hospital and Dignity Health are dedicated to ecological change through their membership in the following organizations:
- Dignity Health is also a partner of Just Label It, a national coalition of 500 diverse organizations dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.
- Dignity Health is a co-founder of Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a national campaign which launched on April 3, 2012, to implement a completely new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the healthcare sector.
- California Climate Action Registry: Dignity Health was the first hospital system in the state to join the California Climate Action Registry and commit to voluntarily measure and report all emissions of greenhouse gases.
Healthcare Without Harm: This international coalition is working to reform the environmental and public health practices of the healthcare industry. We partner with the organization on educational conferences and advocacy initiatives focused on reducing the volume and toxicity of waste.
As health care providers, we also recognize the interdependence between human health and our environment and believe in the caring environmental stewardship. We incorporate environmental principles into the work we do every day—designing efficient buildings, conserving water, reducing waste, eliminating hazardous chemicals, tracking greenhouse gases, advocating for change, and even in the nourishment of our own bodies. For more information read our 2011 Social Responsibility Report.