Girl Planting seeds

HackensackUMC Continues its Environmental Initiatives by Offering a New Recycling Station and Eliminating Use of Styrofoam

January 17, 2013 03:12 PM
HackensackUMC has a new recycling station in its main café and has eliminated the use of Styrofoam food ware campus-wide.


As part of its continued commitment to the environment and community, Hackensack University Medical Center has launched a new recycling station in its main café, and has eliminated the use of Styrofoam food ware campus-wide. These efforts also align with HackensackUMC’s commitment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continuously improve its programs to reduce waste, minimize the use of hazardous materials, prevent pollution of valuable natural resources, increase recycling and comply with all environmental regulations.  This commitment is outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2012 between HackensackUMC and the (EPA).  It is the only medical center in Bergen County to do so. 

 The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ at HackensackUMC coordinates and oversees all environmental efforts at the hospital.  President and Founder Deirdre Imus is enthusiastic about the progress made by the hospital.  “Our ability to reduce waste is certainly a collaborative effort.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to HackensackUMC’s leadership and staff, from the Plant Operations team who built the recycling station, to the patients, nurses and doctors who honor our medical center’s culture of sustainability.”

The new recycling station will propel HackensackUMC towards its ambitious target recycling rate of 35 percent and further its commitment to a more sustainable hospital environment.  This new system, located in the Second Street Café, serves 3,000 people every day.  Specifically, it provides a more efficient, environmentally-sensitive way for staff and visitors to dispose of trash.   It features five receptacles, with window boxes above each that illustrate which items to discard and where.  The station will ensure that HackensackUMC recycles appropriately to reduce the amount of landfill waste that is disposed ofas a medical center.

                The elimination of Styrofoam food ware on campus fulfills HackensackUMC’s commitment to eliminate use by the end of 2012 in the EPA MOU. The Styrofoam food ware was replaced with environmentally-responsible cups, bowls and plates in all cafés campus-wide. According to a report by the World Health Organization, Styrene, a component of Styrofoam, is a known human carcinogen that seeps into hot food and beverages. Styrofoam is non-recyclable, taking centuries to decompose, and may also contribute to global warming.

Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Health Network, applauded the synergy across the several departments that made possible the hospital’s commitment to sustainability.  “HackensackUMC has an obligation to the community and its patients to serve the public interest at all times, not just inside the hospital.  We look forward to continuing our role as environmental leaders as we continue serving as a model for other hospitals and large organizations.” 

The MOU with the EPA requires HackensackUMC to reach certain benchmarks during the next several years.  Such benchmarks include: reducing the use of plastics, reducing and recycling solid waste, completing the final phase of the green roof at the John Theurer Cancer Center, continuing the use of non-toxic cleaning products, conserving energy and water, reducing air pollution from vehicles, providing guidance and education to make everyone aware of our commitment, and establishing a Green Team comprised of employees throughout HackensackUMC.

About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a non-profit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, New Jersey, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state, and home to the only Level II Trauma Center in the county. This 775-bed facility has created an entire campus of care, including: the Heart & Vascular Hospital, the John Theurer Cancer Center, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, and the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey and one of the top four New York metro area hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report, and has received nine national rankings and four high-performing New York metro rankings. HackensackUMC is among HealthGrades® America’s top 100 hospitals in 10 different areas – more than any other hospital in the nation.  The medical center has also been named one of the Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals®, a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and one of America's 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades® for six years in a row. HackensackUMC received 19 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls, and remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more about one of the nation’s 50 best hospitals, visit:   



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