• Health & Wellness

    Rochester’s innovative recycling program makes an impact

infographic for Mayo Clinic recycling in Rochester Minnesota going green

This is a republished article from the employee Mayo Clinic News Center:

Last year in Rochester alone, Mayo Clinic staff’s recycling habits saved 11 million gallons of water and over 45,000 trees. Recycling rates at Mayo Clinic in Arizona more than doubled in 2013, and increased efforts in Florida and the health system are tingeing the Mayo blue ever greener.

The Rochester recycling team also focuses on items unique to health care and research environments. A recent focus on laboratory plastics has been a resounding success. “We’ve increased our plastic recycling volume by 28 percent while increasing our revenue and cost savings by 83 percent,” says Angela Dalenberg, Waste Management. “We get paid for what we recycle and we save on disposal fees for all of that material.”

Now the Rochester recycling team is focusing on patient care plastics. Thousands of pounds of empty patient water pitchers, sterile water bottles and plastic syringe cases are tossed in the trash each year. Rochester alone tosses 92,000 water pitchers annually. The program mirrors the lab plastic recycling program, using marked containers with locally-made green bags produced from minimum 60% recycled plastic. “This program has a potential to double our plastic recycling volumes,” says Goodsell. “It takes cooperation and participation by all departments involved to make this a successful venture.”

The recycling team is also working on a plan to capture and recycle the surgical blue wrap used to wrap sterilized instruments. Arizona, Florida and some Mayo Clinic Health System sites have been recycling surgical blue wrap since 2014. It’s all part of Mayo Clinic’s comprehensive sustainability approach to environmental stewardship.