“Restore Our Earth” is this year’s Earth Day theme and here at Alameda Health System, the Green Team led by Drs. Hava Liberman and Laura Wise, is committed to sustainability, patient safety, and environmental justice while raising awareness about AHS’s impact on our earth. The team is working to reduce the large environmental footprint that healthcare facilities create.

“The delivery of health care services often inadvertently contributes to significant environmental health impacts both upstream and downstream from service delivery, to the products we consume and the waste we generate,” said Dr. Liberman, AHS Pathologist. “It’s important that we take steps to reduce our environmental footprint and at AHS we’re beginning to do just that.”

One way is the Medline ReNewal Program. Located at Highland, Alameda, and San Leandro hospitals, ReNewal bins and hampers are now available for the recycling of some single use devices including pulsoximeters, hovermats, tourniquets, and compression sleeves. ReNewal bins and hampers are located in operating rooms, emergency rooms, and inpatient units and are usually found in the Soiled Utility Rooms.

Not only does this program reduce waste, it can also reduce expenses. “Recycling these single-use devices helps reduce our environmental footprint and, if fully utilized, could save AHS approximately $20,000 per month”, says Dr. Liberman.

Everyone is encouraged to get involved in reducing the impact our facilities have on the environment. No effort is too small and everyone can contribute to the solution.

“Although we understand that our facilities have varying capabilities, we know that every facility and every employee can contribute to creating a healthier environment” says Dr. Wise, AHS Ambulatory Physician. “Each person can contribute to sustainability in a number of simple ways.” Some of these include:
• Dispose of all waste correctly
• Recycle medical devices and instruments when possible
• Speak up when you see opportunities for saving energy and reducing waste

The AHS Green Team began meeting just before the pandemic and has identified a number of objectives including:
• Raising awareness (ReNewal Program, proper medical waste disposal)
• Expanding the recycling program throughout AHS
• Education for staff on environmental stewardship
• Environmentally sound investment options for AHS staff

The Green Team welcomes all AHS employees to contact them with suggestions and ideas for improvement at GreenTeam@alamedahealthsystem.org
Green Team Members: Heidi Chang, Esteban Cubillos-Torres, MD, Martha George, Alexandra Hill, MD, Daniel Mantuani, MD, Bernard Nelson, MD, Emily Miraflor, MD, Jordan Newmark, MD, Julia Peterson, MD
Green Team Leaders: Hava Liberman, MD, Laura Wise, MD