Protecting the environment is a top priority for the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.  In its journey to greener options, it has published its first “sustainability report,” which documents a variety of sustainability efforts to save money, reduce waste, reduce emissions, improve quality and increase efficiency, as well as shift the culture, reducing UCSF’s impact on the environment and community.

UCSF recognizes that health care’s ethical responsibility is “first, do no harm.”  However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 1 percent of all solid waste in the U.S. originates at health care facilities. In fact, the EPA reports that the medical industry generates more than two million tons of waste annually and consumes more than 8 percent of the total energy used in U.S.  hospitals and other health care facilities are on average among the most energy-intensive buildings in the country.

The medical center is a signatory of the Healthier Hospital Initiative, an initiative founded by 11 of the largest, most influential U.S. health systems, comprising more than 490 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power. It serves as a guide to help hospitals reduce energy and waste, purchase safer and less toxic materials and serve healthier foods.

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