August 8, 2008
Making recycling easy at the MGH

They are hard to miss: the blue bins and green bags that are placed throughout the hospital. These recycling bins – now in many offices, patient areas and public spaces – can accommodate different types of paper, plastics, bottles and cans. MGH Environmental Services collects most types of recyclable materials, and since April, plastic containers with a number from one through nine on the bottom are acceptable for recycling. Most types of paper – white and colored computer paper, newspapers, magazines and corrugated cardboard – are collected as well.

MGH staff, patients and families are putting this recycling program to good use. For example, during this past April alone, MGH Environmental Services collected:

 • 124,055 pounds of paper
 • 1,660 pounds of plastic
 • 41,435 pounds of corrugated cardboard

"We make it very easy to recycle," says Bill Banchiere, director of Environmental Services. "People can just put their plastics, glass bottles and cans in any of the green bags throughout the hospital, and we take care of the sorting." He adds that different types of paper do not have to be sorted and all types of paper go into the paper bins. Cardboard boxes should be placed near the bin.

While the MGH is making great strides in trimming waste, there is still room for improvement. Ed Andrews, administrative manager for the General Clinical Research Center and leader of the hospital's Raising Environmental Awareness League (REAL), reminds all MGHers that they can have a real impact on the hospital's environmental footprint. "People might be discouraged and think they can't make much of an impact, but every little bit helps," he says. "If everyone turned off their office lights overnight or while at a meeting or took a couple of extra steps to put a newspaper into the proper recycling bin, the energy and paper saved would add up quickly."

For more information about how to recycle at the MGH, contact Banchiere at gbanchiere@partners.org. For more information about REAL, access www.mgh.harvard.edu/esd/html/real.asp or contact Andrews at ebandrews@partners.org

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