In late 2006, a group of OCAHS employees came together to discuss ways in which the organization could improve its current “green” efforts and to explore new ways to become more conscious and caring of the environment. The team began discussing OCAHS Core Values and building on several key points.

In the summer of 2007, OCAHS participated in the Pollution Prevention Internship program through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Through this internship, opportunities were found to implement paper and cardboard recycling, remove mercury and reduce the use of Styrofoam used throughout the facilities. On August 10, 2007, OCAHS participated in a mercury audit which identified where mercury was being used throughout the hospital. On October 25, 2007, the Green Team held its first formal meeting and continues to meet quarterly.

Mission

The Orange City Area Health System’s Green Team exists to encourage and support environmentally conscious and operationally efficient programs, resource utilization and practices.

Objectives

  • Encourage a “green” (environmentally friendly) organization by supporting the OCAHS behavioral expectations of:
    1. Be good stewards of the resources entrusted to you
    2. Take pride in the organization, act as if you own it
  • Practice stewardship of resources including recycling, environmentally safe and friendly cleaning, maintenance, and overall green practices and procedures.
  • Develop cost savings through green resource usage.
  • Support green practices in our employees’ daily routines.

Items we recycle:

  • batteries
  • light bulbs
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • packing materials
  • old linens
  • computers and printers
  • cell phones
  • phone books

Items we reuse:

  • alcohol
  • packing materials
  • interoffice envelopes
  • laminated registration forms
  • network printers

Ways we reduce waste:

  • using coreless toilet paper
  • emailing newsletters
  • shutting off office lights
  • using mercury-free thermometers and blood pressure gauges
  • using real silverware and dishes in the cafeteria
  • using energy efficient light bulbs
  • donating medical equipment & mattresses to non-profit agencies

Progress

The OCAHS Green Team desire was to start slowly and encourage employees to participate in recycling and going green as much as possible. Success has been evidenced in many ways including employees who have expressed ideas and suggestions how to recycling, reduce & reuse. One example is dietary employees at the Heritage House asking their director to purchase real dishes in replace of Styrofoam. Another example is a housekeeper who asked her manager if she could reuse the outdated alcohol for cleaning windows and mirrors.

Since the Green Team was created, many new and exciting opportunities continue to be explored. Recently, the hospital has reduced its

A trail leads from Prairie Winds Event Center to the Puddlejumper Trail through the health system's main campus lawn.

watering of lawns during the summer and has used an organic fish fertilizer. The hospital participates in the Orange City Community Gardens where volunteers help us grow vegetables to be used in our cafeteria. Old wheelchairs & pieces have been donated to a Hope Haven Wheelchair ministry where they are fixed to be given to children in third-world countries. Old mattresses and medical equipment have been donated to non-profit organizations as well. Employees are encouraged to bring their batteries and cell phones from home to be recycled. Green cleaning products are being used throughout the facilities as well.

As Orange City Area Health System continues on this evolving journey, the Green Team welcomes your input.  Contact Becky Visser at 737.5324 with your ideas and suggestions and help bring OCAHS into a greener future!