SAN FRANCISCSO, CA – April 16, 2018 – Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, announced today its sustainability taskforce has reduced the use of plastics—by replacing plastic drinking straws with paper, plastic stirrers with bamboo, and plastic drink lids—from the cafeterias of all 39 hospitals. The elimination of the straws and stirrers alone has reduced Dignity Health’s use of plastics by 11,000 pieces a day, which adds up to roughly 4 million pieces of plastic per year.
Committed to making a difference in its communities, Dignity Health recognizes that wellness is intrinsically linked to the health of the planet and that it is important to proactively reduce waste both inside and outside the walls of the care centers. For more than twenty years, Dignity Health’s sustainability initiatives have significantly reduced waste, while also increasing recycling. Efforts include using more environmentally-friendly IV bags and installing water filling stations in care facilities to encourage the use of reusable bottles.
“We are always eager to find ways to improve the environmental sustainability of Dignity Health’s operations. Although this may be a small change across our care facilities, reducing the use of plastic straws, stirrers, and lids helps improve the quality of life for our people and for our planet,” said Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP, vice president of corporate responsibility for Dignity Health. “Hearing from our community that it was important for us change out our plastic straws, we quickly mobilized to eliminate them from our cafeterias. Replacing plastics, which are one of the most common pollutants of our oceans, is just one way we can help mitigate our collective environmental impact on the world.”
In fiscal year 2017, Dignity Health recycled 34 percent of its waste, including 96 tons of recyclable plastic wrap used to cover sterilized medical instruments. After use, Dignity Health turns the plastic wrap into new products used in its hospitals, such as tote bags, recyclable bins, bed pans, and water pitchers.
“Dignity Health’s effort to reduce plastics usage has truly galvanized a movement toward sustainability across our facilities,” said Mark Viden, vice president of brand marketing for Dignity Health. “Eliminating not only plastic straws but also drink stirrers and lids in order to mitigate our impact on the environment is an extension of ‘humankindness’ in our local communities and globally.”
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About Dignity Health
Dignity Health is one of the nation's largest health care systems. As of June 30, 2017, Dignity Health operated more than 400 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging and surgery centers, home health, and primary care clinics in 22 states, through its network of more than 9,000 physicians and 63,000 employees. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In its fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, Dignity Health provided $2.6 billion in charitable care and services. More information on Dignity Health is available at www.dignityhealth.org.
Senior Director, Public Relations & Executive Communications