Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

Vennie Henderson, GM Environmental Services at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in San Diego, Calif., has reduced both organic and non-organic waste at his site by taking a multifaceted approach to recycling. Here’s a look at how he used Sodexo’s Waste Reduction Program as a guide to change recycling behaviors, improve processes and measure the impact of his initiatives.

Engaging Patients and Staff in Recycling

One of the simplest yet most effective steps Henderson took to reduce waste was implementing a facility-wide recycling program aimed at patients and staff.

  • First, several clearly labeled recycling bins with distinguishing green liners were ordered and placed next to every trash bin.
  • Patients and staff were educated about the recycling program with flyers that were hung in high-traffic areas.
  • Staff participation was encouraged by placing the bins at the most convenient locations so as not to create extra steps for busy employees. Participation was reinforced in team meetings and the program, now an autonomous part of day-to-day operations, was widely adopted.

Partnering with Vendors to Rethink Purchasing

“First, tour your facilities first-hand and identify where you can reduce waste. Then, start small. Work from the easiest fixes to the more difficult ones, and don’t try to do everything at once. Also, don’t be afraid to get help with your assessment—other people will see things that you might not. The most important thing is to find out where you’re starting from, so you know how to improve.”

-Vennie Henderson
GM EVS Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

Taking a broader look at how to increase recycling and reduce waste, Henderson, asked the question, “How can we increase the number of recyclable supplies we use?”

  • Henderson had discussions with vendors, who informed him of what options were available for recyclable medical supplies.
  • He then began replacing non-recyclable products with recyclable ones, including reusable polypropylene medical curtains, and recyclable blood pressure pumps, needles, and sharps containers.

The practice of re-evaluating purchasing options for better waste management opportunities and ROI has dramatically reduced waste and increased efficiency.

Measuring Waste with the Help of Contractors

After implementing these simple steps to increase recycling on site, Henderson wanted to establish a system to measure the amount of waste and recycling produced at his operation.

  • He contacted a waste contractor to see what types of solutions were available.
  • Working with the contractor, a system was established to compact both waste and recycling, weigh them both daily, and generate regular reports based on the results.
  • Henderson now has a baseline to evaluate whether the measures he has taken are effective, and to measure against when implementing any new waste reduction initiatives.