Thinking Green: Beaumont, Royal Oak celebrates Earth Day with eco-friendly activities

4/17/2014

Community invited to bring in medications, thermometers, medical sharps

To commemorate Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak invites area residents to bring in unused and expired medications, mercury thermometers and medical sharps. These items, found in many households, can be hazardous to people in the community.

Those interested in bringing items for the Medications, Mercury Thermometers and Sharps Recovery Day should:

  • Bring unused or expired medications, prescription and over-the-counter – pills only
  • Place mercury thermometers in two zip-style plastic bags
  • Place medical sharps: syringes, needles and lancets in rigid containers with lids, such as coffee cans or detergent bottles.

Residents are also invited to attend an Earth Day Fair.

Both the collection of household medical hazards and the Earth Day Fair will take place in the South Tower lobby of Beaumont, 3601 West 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The many displays will feature information about:

  • gardening
  • recycling
  • green products
  • bicycling
  • carpooling
  • hybrid automobiles
  • leaner energy
  • environmental programs

The fair is being organized by Beaumont’s Green Team.

The Medications, Mercury Thermometers and Sharps Recovery Day is sponsored by Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak Police Department and Stericycle, a national company known for green health care waste solutions.

Explains Kay Winokur, vice president of Quality and Professional Services, who chairs Beaumont’s Green Team, “We take our sustainability and green initiatives very seriously. They’re tied directly to the health outcomes of our community, the patients we serve and the staff we employ.”

The Green Team was the recipient of the 2012 Michigan Green Leader Award by the Detroit Free Press and Corp! Magazine’s 101 Most Sustainable Companies in 2012 and 2013. This past year Corp! honored them with their “Best of the Best” award. In addition, they received the Practice Greenhealth’s Partner for Change Award. These awards focus on identifying organizations committed to leading environmentally friendly initiatives and exhibiting excellence in environmental responsibility.

“The notion of a health system Green Team was a grassroots effort that bubbled up from our employees,” adds Winokur. “However, it has been embraced by our leadership. In three years, Beaumont, Royal Oak has implemented 29 initiatives that have saved water and electricity equal to powering 1,919 houses for a year; filling 1,065 swimming pools; removing 3,770 cars from the road; and planting 5,164 trees.”

With the help of Stericycle, Beaumont is reducing potential environmental impact from hospital waste. By using reusable containers to manage its sharps waste, such as needles and scalpels, the hospital system is keeping tens of thousands of pounds of plastic and cardboard out of landfills.

Through efforts to reduce energy and water consumption, Beaumont is being eco-friendly and saves a minimum of $1.3 million each year. Beaumont Health System is dedicated to implementing cost-effective solutions to reduce waste, conserving energy and educating employees on conservation.

The Earth Day movement goes back to 1970, led by the initiatives of Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson. His efforts spurred 20 million Americans to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums in large rallies to demonstrate for a healthier, sustainable environment. Groups joined forces against oil spills, factory and power plant pollution, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, extinction of wildlife and other concerns. Today, Beaumont Health System’s three hospitals in Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak and Troy are among 1,300 hospitals nationwide committed to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.