62: How a Boston hospital saves thousands by going green


The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA demonstrates that it is possible to operate a top notch hospital while also going green. With a lot of people that want to do what’s right. Changing how things are done. It comes down to scrutinizing every choice and purchase for the right reasons.


  • They started with 1 sustainability coordinator, Beth Lipman – Her job was to make the hospital more efficient, but without any additional staff or money.
  • 9,000 staff and a million sq ft of office space
  • Throws out 15.7 pounds of material per patient per day (including outpatients)
  • The hospital saved $236,000 in 2010, $309,000 in 2011, $308,000 in just the first half of 2012

A few ways they are eliminating waste

  • Sent 1.5 tons of food to the compost pile every week, mainly by scraping the leftovers off of patient trays. (It goes to a farm north of the city)
  • Begun to eliminate the delivery of 50 tons of medical journals, mostly by canceling subscriptions sent to doctors who no longer work at the hospital.
  • By replacing disposable plastic water pitchers with reusable plastic mugs in its maternity wards, BIDMC has reduced its hydration supplies by 20 percent.

These are just a few examples of what can be done to reduce waste.





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