March 28, 2008
The MGH launches plastic recycling program

Keeping the MGH community focused on environmental concerns is the mission of the Raising Environmental Awareness League (REAL), a grassroots volunteer organization founded by MGHers six years ago. Championed by Edwin Andrews, administrative manager of the General Clinical Research Center, members of REAL have worked with Bill Banchiere, director of the Environmental Services Department (ESD), and hospital administration to conserve energy and find creative solutions to preserve natural resources. As a result of the hospital's recycling efforts, Hanna Paper Recycling, Inc., an industry leader in paper waste management, recently recognized the MGH for saving the equivalent of 12,915 trees and 60,777 cubic feet of landfill space with its paper recycling program.

plastics waiting for recyclingTo further promote green initiatives at the MGH, the ESD has been working closely with the Operating Room (OR) Recycling Taskforce to initiate a new plastic recycling program. The collaborative and interdisciplinary team chose the OR and research labs as pilot sites for the program because of their high use of plastic products. The ESD placed several green 44-gallon containers in these areas to collect uncontaminated, clean recyclable plastics. All of the collected plastic waste will be stored at a designated space on the Charles River Plaza loading dock and sent to recycling companies.

CLEAN AND GREEN: Plastic recycling is now available in the MGH OR.

The OR officially kicked off the plastic recycling program March 17. Members of the OR Recycling Taskforce put together several displays of recyclable plastics in staff lounges to promote the program and show which plastics may go into the recycling bins and which are not acceptable, like those containing blood or body fluids, plastic bags and Styrofoam.

"This plastic recycling program would not have been possible without the support of Peter Slavin and MGH Administration," says Banchiere. "The pilot is going well and we plan to expand the program to other areas and departments in the coming months."

For more information or to participate in the plastic recycling program, contact Banchiere at (617) 726-2445 or

Back to table the March 28, 2008 table of contents