North Shore-LIJ will be doing its part to help the planet may get a little greener.
The health system will honor Earth Day with a number of events at several of its hospitals, including in New Hyde Park and Plainview, during the week of April 21, including a drug take-back day that lets people safely dispose of unused medications.
Informational tables will be staffed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at several hospitals during the week, during which time paper shredding will also be available. People can turn in their unused medicines on April 26 at all health system facilities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other Earth Day-related events within the health system include a tree planting at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and LIJ Medical Center, both in New Hyde Park, on April 24, and a clean-up along Central Park Road in Plainview on April 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Officials at North Shore-LIJ say the health system spends the entire year focusing on green initiatives. North Shore University Hospital has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth in 2012 and 2013 for its work to have less of an environmental impact. Last year, the hospital received the Partner for Change with Distinction award from Practice Greenhealth.
Examples of the health system’s efforts include reducing waste for the past 15 years through a partnership with Stericycle in which facilities employ reusable sharps containers that allow needles and other sharp objects to be disposed of safely and with less environmental impact than traditional disposal methods. This initiative prevents the emissions of 199,641 pounds of CO2 and eliminates 342,800 pounds of plastic and 14,043 pounds of cardboard usually being disposed of in landfills, said Lisa Burch, North Shore-LIJ director of sustainability and social responsibility. These numbers equate to not burning 10,280 gallons of gas and 3,776 home BBQ propane tanks, according to Stericycle’s carbon footprint estimator. Each reusable sharps container equates to 600 disposable containers not winding up in a landfill.
“Collaborative efforts with our suppliers and engaged workforce as well as the partnership with companies like Stericycle are integral to helping us achieve sustainable and measurable results such as the ones we are seeing,” Burch said. “We are proud to help protect the natural beauty of our region.”
North Shore-LIJ has recycled more than 17,000 tons of waste since it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2009, according to Donald Ophals, North Shore-LIJ corporate director of environmental and linen services.