It was clear to me at the CleanMed conference that many hospitals and healthcare facilities are greatly interested in ways to reduce water, waste and energy while maintaining or improving safety. At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet with building and facility managers, environmental services personnel, sustainability professionals, and clinicians who are all interested in ways to become healthcare sustainability champions. This year, 3M Health Care won the Practice Greenhealth “Champion for Change” award for successfully helping our customers become more sustainable and for improving our own environmental footprint.
Is your hospital just beginning its sustainability journey? If so, you may want to consider joining Practice Greenhealth, a non-profit aimed at helping hospitals reduce their environmental footprint. They have many tools that can help your facility get started.
Setting sustainability goals and measuring success
I am excited to share with you the new 3M Sustainability Report – and I am happy to say that this year we continue to increase the transparency of our reporting. This report gives in-depth information about the progress we have made towards our 2015 goals. Here are a few quick bullets to whet your appetite:
- In 2014 alone, 15 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions were avoided for our customers through use of 3M product platforms.
- From 2010-2015, we increased on-site reuse and recycling by nearly 40% and in 2014, we recycled 25% of our total water used.
- Between 2002 and 2014, we voluntarily achieved a 64% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
We have been setting global environmental goals since 1990, and this year we are announcing our new targets for 2025. These new goals are defining the ways we will work towards our Every Life ambition for the next 10 years. Here are some of the new goals:
- Increase renewable energy to 25% of total electricity use.
- Provide training to 5 million people globally on worker and patient safety. The new 3M℠ Health Care Academy is one way we are educating healthcare professionals.
- Help our customers reduce their GHGs by 250 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions through use of 3M solutions.
- Achieve “zero landfill” status at more than 30% of manufacturing sites
I am confident that all 90,000 sustainability team members (that’s every employee) will help in some way to make these goals our next reality. Team members are already starting projects. Here are two examples of completed projects that allowed us be more eco-efficient:
3M™ Comply™ Bowie-Dick Test Packs
3M™ Comply™ Bowie-Dick Test Packs are designed to test air removal efficiency of 132-134°C (270-273°F) dynamic-air-removal steam sterilizers. We were able to reduce about 500,000 lbs. per year of paper waste by switching to a different weight of the paperboard sheets. This change helps 3M waste, but it also means our customers have less to dispose of too. In fact, if paper recycling is available to your hospital, the paper sheets in the test pack can be recycled when you are done with the test.
3M™ Ioban™ 2 Anti-microbial Incise Drape
3M™ Ioban™ 2 Anti-microbial Incise Drape contains an iodophor impregnated adhesive. The product is used to provide a sterile operative surface at the onset of surgery, immobilizing bacteria on skin and providing continuous broad spectrum antimicrobial activity to help reduce the risk of surgical site contamination.
The Ioban packaging was redesigned by changing the primary box from a corrugated material to a lightweight paperboard material. The lighter weight paperboard saves approximately 220,000 lbs. of packaging waste for our customers. (Don’t worry—every packaging change is carefully tested in our sophisticated package engineering lab to ensure we are protecting the product while we are preserving the planet!)
I can’t wait to see the new ways 3M can apply science to improve lives around the world.
Take the Sustainability in Hospitals CE Course.