Going green isn’t easy, but Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH is taking on the task. Unlike many organizations that focus their efforts in one or two areas, the Peterborough hospital is tackling all six of the challenges presented under the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a free national program designed to help hospitals increase the use of sustainable products while also lowering costs.

 Laura Gingras, the hospital’s vice president for community relations is serving as the executive champion for the hospital’s team, which is focusing on six areas — engaged leadership, healthier food, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals and smarter purchasing.  Liz Fazio, the hospital’s environmental services manager, said the hospital has already made significant progress in reducing waste.  “Since 2010, we’ve had a big reduction in the amount of biohazard waste we generate,” Fazio said on Thursday. “The HHI target is that no more than 10 percent of waste material be biohazard. We are at 6 percent.”

The reduction in medical waste meant the hospital achieved level 1 certification in that area under the HHI program. The next goal is to reduce overall recycling to 15 percent of total waste, with the eventual target of having 80 percent recycling.

The HHI initiative is just getting started, but Gingras said results so far are encouraging.  It’s a long-term project for us,” Gingras said. “We have so many folks here who really care about sustainability. They are the ones who are leading the charge.”

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