UnityPoint Health–Meriter celebrates Earth Day with environmentally friendly practices 

In honor of Earth Day, celebrated on the fourth Saturday of April, UnityPoint Health–Meriter, has announced in a recent press release some of the practices adopted by its Green team. The Green team, which started in 2018, is a multidisciplinary group that works to tackle decreasing waste and improve environmentally friendly practices at UPH–Meriter and its clinics.  

Starting last Monday, UPH–Meriter switched from single-use plastic to real silverware, plates, and cups. 

In 2022, the organization saved 122,824 straws by making them available by request only. Coffee grounds from Dr. Joe’s, the coffee shop inside Meriter Hospital, are composted. The organization also recycled 42 pallets, or 17,000 pounds, of electronic equipment, 2,178 pounds of lithium-ion and lead acid batteries, and 225 tons of the 949 tons of total combined waste. 

In its surgical department, UPH–Meriter has greatly reduced the use of fluorocarbon anesthesia gases and opted for environmentally friendly options. Desflurane was removed from formulary in 2019. Sevoflurane is the only anesthesia volatile gas used, and low-gas flow techniques are widely used.    

Each year, the organization also replaces a large air handling/heating and cooling unit with a newer, more energy-efficient model. It furthermore has discontinued the use of fluorescent lamps in new construction. All new construction projects utilize high-efficiency LED lighting fixtures. In the last year, UPH–Meriter re-lamped the Monona Clinic location with LED lights to reduce the energy usage and eliminate the need for mercury-containing fluorescent lamps.