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ECMC Plays Its Part in Helping the Environment

BUFFALO, NEW YORK; August 3, 2012-Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation is continuing its sustainable solutions for managing hospital waste that includes a strong focus on preventing carbon emissions by keeping plastic and cardboard out of landfills and decreasing regulated medical and municipal waste volumes.  After being the first in Buffalo to implement a pharmaceutical waste compliance program a year ago, ECMC is striving to reach a goal of recycling almost one third of total waste - a Practice Greenhealth industry best practice.  

The American healthcare sector accounts for 8 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1.  The analysis found that hospitals are by far the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the healthcare sector.  

"ECMC's responsibility to our residents isn't just about improving the health of our patients.  It's about promoting and supporting healthy communities," said Juan Santiago, assistant vice president of support and hospital services at Erie County Medical Center.  "We are decreasing the medical center's total impact on the environment and helping to improve air quality, public health and overall safety.  This sustainable solutions initiative is also designed for the hospital to reduce risk, increase compliance and maximize operational and financial efficiencies. It's a win-win for everyone involved," noted Santiago. 

The recycling rate of the center's total waste volume has increased by 10%, while its municipal solid waste has decreased the same amount.  Carbon emissions are being reduced by using reusable sharps containers for items such as needles and scalpels.  Each reusable container keeps an average of 600 disposable sharps containers from ending up in landfills.  Last year, Erie County Medical Center prevented 39,592 pounds of CO2 emissions by diverting 67,796 pounds of plastic and 3,137 pounds of cardboard from the landfill.  These numbers equate to not burning 2,039 gallons of gasoline2.  

About Erie County Medical Center: The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and a long-term care facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, transplantation and rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo.  Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan.  More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service-the difference between healthcare and true careTM

1 The University of Chicago, JAMA, December 2009

2 http://www.stericycle.com/carbon-footprint-estimator.html


ECMC: Joe Cirillo: 716-898-4300 -or- jcirillo@ecmc.edu      



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