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St. Mary Medical Center Receives Trailblazer Award from the Environmental Protection Agency
The Medical Center is recognized as a leader in the Delaware Valley in reducing its environmental footprint.

LANGHORNE, Pa., November 11, 2008 – St. Mary Medical Center today announces that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Region with a Trailblazer Award for its environmental leadership. The Trailblazer Award honors hospitals in the Philadelphia region for reducing their environmental impact on patients, workers, and the surrounding community. St. Mary’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint is further evidence of the Medical Center’s dedication to quality care, patient safety, and giving back to the community.

The award was presented to Nancy Kocher, Director of Environmental Services at St. Mary Medical Center, on Thursday, October 30, 2008, during the annual meeting of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council at the Wanamaker Building’s Crystal Tea Room. “We’re excited and pleased to be recognized for the work that St. Mary Medical Center has done to move toward environmentally sustainable healthcare,” notes Kocher.

Approximately 18 months ago, St. Mary Medical Center joined the Green Hospitals Pilot Project, funded by an EPA Mid-Atlantic Region grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Southeast Regional Office. Of the 20 hospitals that are also part of the Green Hospitals Pilot Project, St. Mary was recognized with the Trailblazer Award for developing and implementing waste minimization strategies that resulted in significant reductions in waste and increased recycling.

Specifically, St. Mary targeted the reduction of infectious (called red bag) medical waste. The operating rooms of hospitals typically produce the most red bag waste so St. Mary initiated its program in that area of the Medical Center. Before introducing a more environmentally friendly approach to red bag waste, the hospital’s operating room was creating 400 pounds of such waste each day. In just over a year St. Mary’s efforts made a major impact and the Medical Center met its goal of cutting this amount to 100 pounds of medical waste per day. The St. Mary Oncology Unit has also taken part in the infectious waste reduction program and seen significant results. There are now plans in place to spread this practice throughout the hospital.

St. Mary is dedicated to continuing its commitment to environmentally sustainable operations. A single-source recycling program was initiated in September to provide one container for the recycling of plastic, paper, aluminum, and cardboard at the Medical Center. St. Mary also created a rooftop garden that captures rainwater runoff and uses it for plant life while also providing enhanced insulation from heat and cold. “St. Mary Medical Center has taken many positive steps towards reducing waste, yet there is always more that we can do,” adds Kocher. “We look forward to continuing our environmental leadership and finding new and innovative ways to reduce our footprint,” she says.