Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Through Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), AMH's employees are encouraged to purchase the safest, least toxic and most environmentally-friendly products and services available. The goal of this policy is to reduce the consumption of resources, reuse materials when possible, recycle or re-sell materials and explore alternative practices for the hospital that are less damaging to the environment and human health.
With the help of partners such as Novation, vendors are educated about AMH's packaging goals and expected to comply or risk losing the hospital's business. For example, by asking one vendor to stop wrapping its pallet of IV bags in plastic, AMH has eliminated 10 tons of plastic wrap waste per year.
AMH's office supply partner, Corporate Express, now offers more than 3,000 environmentally-friendly office products and facility supplies, including recycled paper, recycled plastic desk accessories, rechargeable batteries, refillable inkjet cartridges, remanufactured toner cartridges and Green Seal cleaning products. Most Corporate Express products are shipped in boxes that are made from 35 to 100 percent recycled materials.
Specific Environmental Criteria for all Purchasing Decisions
Avoid Products containing:
- Persistent bioaccumulative toxic compounds
- Carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxic chemicals
- Halogenated flame-retardants and other halogenated organic chemicals
- Phthalates (DEHP)
Promote the Purchase of these Products:
- Building products, materials and furnishings that do not adversely impact indoor air quality
- Building products, materials and furnishings that are approved by National Facilities Services Planning & Standards
- Products with high post-consumer recycled content
- Products that are readily recycled, reprocessed and/or reused
- Products that are latex-free
- Products that contain minimal to no toxins
- Products that have "Take Back" provisions
- Paper products that are chlorine-free
Encourage Vendors to:
- Package and transport units in minimally with recyclable, non-toxic, and/or bio-based packaging
- Manufacture products that use less energy and water during normal use and manufacturing
- Manufacture products that are mercury-free, latex-free, and non-toxic
As of July 4, 2009, AMH has switched all house-wide paper usage to an environmentally-friendly eucalyptus paper as a substitute to traditional, less-sustainable paper. The new paper, which has no impact on cost, was piloted in three high-volume printing departments — the Print Shop, Public Relations and HIS — with perfect results.
Eucalyptus paper is manufactured from 100% farm-grown Eucalyptus Trees, helping to preserve native rain forests, and packaged using BOPP (Bi-oriented polypropylene), a 100% recyclable film providing outstanding moisture protection. Eucalyptus trees yield a very white pulp, eliminating the need for chlorine bleaching and excessive processing. This keeps run-off water clean, protecting local streams and rivers.
Environmental Services has converted all of the chemicals they use to "green" chemicals, which are equal in price and effectiveness and much healthier for patients, staff and the environment.
Provided by AmSan, the nation's premiere sanitary supplier, the cleaning chemicals used at AMH are Green Seal Certified environmentally-safe and are compliant with federal green purchasing programs for institutional and industrial use. The chemicals are 100 percent bio-based and are biodegradable in 28 days.
One of the most significant sustainability initiatives for healthcare purchasing is the reprocessing (cleaning, testing/verifying, packaging and sterilizing) and remanufacturing (disassembling, repairing, and manufacturing) of medical devices.
By partnering with Ascent Healthcare Solutions — an expert in sustainable resources for healthcare facilities — AMH is able to reprocess costly devices such as pulse oximetry probes (an attachment that links a patient's finger to a computerized system for monitoring the percentage of haemoglobin saturated with oxygen) that are marketed as "single use" by the original manufacturer and often needlessly thrown away. This allows the hospital to divert thousands of pounds of medical waste from landfills and avoid substantial costs for newly manufactured equipment.
AMH saves nearly $300,000 per year in cost avoidance and roughly 7,000 lbs. per year in waste by reprocessing:
- Pulse Oximetry Probes
- Compression Devices
- Diagnostic Ultrasound Catheters
- Electrophysiology Catheters & Cables
- Femoral Compression Devices
- Tourniquet Cuffs
The Green Team and the Purchasing Department are currently meeting with Ascent to further expand the hospital's participation in sustainable medical resources.