4/22/19

Earth Day: Help keep our world and our community green

There’s only one Earth, and it’s our job to protect it. Achieving sustainability allows Earth to continue supporting life. We can’t hop on a space flight and take off to another Earth or planet that mirrors it to survive, at least not yet.

On Earth Day and every day, you and your family can do plenty to help your neighborhood and home be a little greener. At Carle, we’re coming up with ways to increase our recycling efforts in Champaign-Urbana.

“We started the Green Team many years ago as part of our partnership with Stericycle. They provided a sustainability coordinator who helps us find ways to increase our recycling and sustainability,” said Debbie Schmidt, director of Supply Chain Services. “As we’ve hired more millennials and people from other areas of the country into the Carle workforce, they’ve brought a sense of urgency and more passion to the importance of recycling.”

In 2018 alone, Carle recycled approximately 40 40-yard containers, and the containers are a single stream. What does that mean? All our recycling – plastics, paper, metal, glass, etc. – end up mixed together. 

Of the waste we produce, paper with no protected health information (PHI) and cardboard are two items people throw out the most. Did you read that? They become trash.

“Paper is the most valuable thing to recycle, so put it in a recycling bin instead of throwing it out,” Bruce Osborne, Environmental Services manager, reminds employees. “Your mindset needs to be, ‘Oh! This is plastic. I wonder if we can recycle this.’ Odds are, yes we can. It’s better to recycle than not to.”

Carle recycles a long list of items, but two other big ones are electronics and batteries.

“Electronic recycling costs money, and Carle pays for it. It’s a free service we provide because we care about the environment and our community,” Osborne said. On top of that, “Every two weeks we recycle a 55-gallon drum of used batteries. A lot of the nursing equipment requires them.”

If you think we should be recycling something else, speak up.

“At Carle, we talk a lot about doing the right thing – for our patients, our communities and each other. And we talk about being good stewards of our resources, including the environment. Recycling fits right in with that. It’s the right thing to do, and when employees see opportunities for us to be even better, we want them to speak up so we can make changes,” said James Leonard, MD, president and chief executive officer.

From 2011 until last year, Carle has kept 172,696 pounds of plastic and 7,778 pounds of cardboard out of landfills, which creates a smaller carbon footprint and helps slow climate change.