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Image: Make Good Happen - Ten ways we’re making HealthPartners greener

Ten ways we’re making HealthPartners greener

A healthy environment means a healthier community. Here’s what we’re doing to help make that happen – and, what you can do to help!

We’re working for a healthier and cleaner community. We do this for the health of our members and patients. And, we do it for the generations to come.

1. Hosting recycling drives with others in the sustainability community

We get involved in many community-wide efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle! In 2018, we teamed up with Good in the Hood’s Shoe Away Hunger program and took on shoe recycling. This program keeps shoes out of landfills. And it helps feed people in need, too. Dozens of our locations collected gently used shoes in the weeks before and after Earth Day. Those shoes then get sold at affordable prices by Good in the Hood volunteers. And finally, the money that’s raised goes to fund hunger relief programs. One pair of donated shoes buys 7 days’ worth of groceries for a hungry person.

In the past, we have also teamed up with Tech Dump and Green Lights Recycling to put on other recycling events. These were drives where people could get rid of old cell phones, laptops and other computer-based products for free. And through them, we collected and recycled as much as 37 tons of electronic waste per year!

2. Providing safe medication disposal

“Don’t flush your extra medicine!” This is a key message we work to get across to our patients, members and entire community. And we walk that talk by making the proper way to get rid of medicine more convenient. We have 25 drug take-back sites across the Twin Cities, central Minnesota and western Wisconsin. And since 2011, we’ve taken in and disposed of 15,000 pounds of medicine in the right way. That has kept medicine out of the wrong hands. And it has protected our waterways.

3. Using solar and other renewable energy

Our hospitals and clinics need lots of power. That’s why we commit to clean and renewable energy. We have solar energy agreements that buy us a huge amount of solar power. In fact, it’s the same amount of electricity that 3,681 houses would use in a year. We also recently installed our own solar panels at some buildings.

4. Going paperless

We have reduced our paper usage by 10 percent since 2015. And every day we work to use even less paper. You can help! Switch to paperless Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) by logging on to your myHealthPartners account.

5. Greening our operating rooms

Operating rooms and surgery centers use a lot of resources. And they generate a lot of waste. That’s why we’ve come up with waste diversion systems. Through them, we have kept 320 tons of waste from going to landfills.

6. Making updates to be more energy efficient

We’re switching out our lights and other equipment to be more earth-friendly. In 2017, we saved 19.3 million kBtus across the organization. This equals out to being the same as removing 10,000 passenger vehicles from the road for a full year.

7. Recycling our organics

We kept 227 tons of food waste out of landfills in 2017. (That’s the size of 35 fully grown elephants!) And instead, we had it composted or used as animal feed. Learn how you, too, can responsibly get rid of organics.

8. Buying local

Buying food from local organizations boosts our economy. And it also cuts down on the energy that is used to transport our food. In 2017, our organization spent $700,000 on local and sustainable food and beverages. The fresh greens that many of our locations serve is just one example. These greens are grown in St. Paul. They come from Urban Organics, which uses aquaponics farming.

9. Improving our surrounding environments

We know our impact extends beyond the walls of our buildings. There are lots of ways we are reducing this impact:

  • Methodist Hospital partners with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District on efforts to improve the creek.
  • Amery Hospital & Clinic has butterfly and bird sanctuaries. The location is a certified Monarch Waystation. And it’s a certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary, too. It’s actually the first property in Wisconsin to get this certification from Audubon International. (And only the 34th property in the whole world to get it!)
  • We team up with Plantables to keep the local population of pollinating insects strong. Through this local business out of Hudson, Wis., we get “Butterfly Bombs” and “Bee Bombs” to give out at events. These small clay balls contain seed mixtures for pollinating plants. And we encourage people to put them in their yards to grow butterfly- and bee-friendly plants.

10. Living our mission

To improve health and well-being, we need to maintain the health of our environment. Our organization has a commitment to sustainability. And we have local ‘green teams’ that help bring it to life at and around all of our facilities. Being green is a part of our culture. For us, every day is Earth Day. And we believe it takes the whole community getting involved to fully fulfill our mission.

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