West Palm VA Receives National Award For Sustainability

In recognition for achievements in sustainability and waste reduction, the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center received a Partner Recognition Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare. The award is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the healthcare sector.

The award is given to healthcare facilities that are changing their practices to become more sustainable and have achieved progress in areas such as waste reduction, renewable energy adoption, food purchasing and mercury elimination. They also must have a recycling rate of at least 10 percent for the entire waste stream.

In fiscal year 2017, the medical center diverted 714.5 tons of potential waste. A total of 676.1 tons of material was recycled and 38.1 tons of material reused. In addition, 98.5 tons of construction waste was recycled. Because of these activities, the medical center diverted 53.5 percent of the waste generated from being sent to the county solid waste authority for final disposal. These activities resulted in the saving of the EPA equivalent of 86,658 gallons of gasoline. Reducing the demand for 1,777 barrels of oil and saving 9,366.7 British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy. This benefited the planet by reducing the generation of greenhouse gases by 764.1 metric tons.

“Our medical center continues to strive to achieve superior performance in all environmental programs and activities with the goal of providing sustainable healthcare to our nation’s veterans and being an environmentally responsible member of our community,” said Donna Katen-Bahensky, director of the medical center. “We look forward to continuing our efforts and make our practices even more sustainable in the future.”

This is the second year the medical center has received the award, which was presented at the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards Gala, on May 9 in San Diego.

The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center opened in 1995 and is a general medical and surgical facility and teaching hospital. The facility provides health services to veterans throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast at its main facility in West Palm Beach and six contractor-operated community-based outpatient clinics.

Practice Greenhealth is dedicated to transforming healthcare worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. To learn more, visit www.practicegreenhealth.org.