It’s Not Easy Being “Green”

by: Sarah McClanahan

According to Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, an estimated 6,600 tons of waste are generated each day in U.S. hospitals and almost 85% of that waste is considered non-hazardous such as paper, cardboard and plastic containers. These facts are what led Lexington Medical Center to create programs and initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint in the community. In 1993, Lexington Medical Center started a hospital-wide recycling program, which began on Earth Day that year. The hospital recycled approximately 100,000 pounds of cardboard, paper, newspapers, glass bottles and tin cans during the first year. Last year, Lexington Medical Center recycled more than 885,000 pounds of municipal waste at its main campus – about 30% of its total waste.

Lexington Medical Center has become synonymous with quality “Green” initiatives. The hospital was first recognized in 2003 by the Business Recycling Assistance Program and received its “Best Industry Recycling Program.” Other awards have included Paper Recycler of the Year, Outstanding Air Quality Business of the Year, Best Overall Environmental Program and South Carolina Smart Business Recycling Award. Most recently, the hospital became a Lexington County Green Certified Business.

“We’re proud of the staff that is helping Lexington Medical Center make such impressive progress with our environmental initiatives,” said Mike Greeley, vice president of operations at Lexington Medical Center. “As one of the largest organizations in Lexington County, we feel it is our obligation to set the right example when it comes to environmental stewardship.”

In addition to its recycling programs, Lexington Medical Center built the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified medical office building in 2008. This designation comes from the U.S. Green Building Council, which sets the standards for sustainable site development, energy efficiency, conservation of materials and resources and indoor environment quality. The “green” medical office building has several important eco-friendly characteristics such recycled construction materials, energy-efficient roofing and windows, and improved building insulation.

This month, Lexington Medical Center celebrates its 40th anniversary. We opened as a small county hospital on January 6, 1971. Today, we’ve grown into a modern medical complex with state-of-the-art technology and an unsurpassed culture of caring. Each day this month, we’ll share a story from our hospital’s history book.

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