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Recycling Expands In Clinical Areas

Recycling now extends across the University Campus with April’s roll-out of a co-mingled recycling program by UMass Memorial Medical Center to align with a similar program already in place at the Medical School. 

The new recycling program covers cans, bottles and plastic containers with recycling codes 1 through 7 and also extends to the UMass Memorial Medical Center Hahnemann and Memorial Campuses in Worcester. “We’ve been working to start the co-mingled program in the hospitals for some time and are pleased to have it now fully operational,” said John Jepsen, director of housekeeping services for the Medical Center. 

Co-mingled collection bins are now located throughout the hospitals, in all nursing break rooms and staff lounges, beside vending machines and on patient floors. “We’ve all changed our attitudes about recycling,” Jepsen said. “When we talked about recycling 10 years ago, it was like pulling teeth. No one wanted to do it. That’s not the case anymore. I expect the new program to go very well.” 

UMass Memorial began large-scale paper recycling October 2009, working with Cintas Document Management, a company equipped to handle disposal of paper with patient records and other “HIPPA-sensitive” materials. Since the system-wide paper recycling began, 584,911 pounds, or 292.5 tons, of paper have been shredded and recycled. “For each ton that Cintas recycles, we save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 84 gallons of oil and 3 cubic yards of landfill,” Jepsen said. 

Although the primary objective was to securely collect documents with patient information, “we’re encouraging people to put any paper possible into the Cintas bins,” Jepsen said. The paper is collected in locked bins and then securely transported to the Cintas plant where it is shredded. 

Recycling of bottles, cans and similar items has taken place in the Medical School areas of the University Campus since 2008. Materials collected in the new program will be hauled by Allied Waste, the school’s vendor, and will help the community as a whole reach its long-term goal of diverting 50 percent of its solid waste stream via recycling. 

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