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SEATTLE - (Sept. 24, 2010) - Virginia Mason Medical Center (VM) took home top honors for its environmental efforts in the health care category at the Seattle Business Magazine's third annual Green Washington Awards program. The program recognizes Washington companies that take aggressive steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Judges reviewed 108 nominations this year.
Virginia Mason is committed to reducing waste and ensuring organizational sustainability. Its environmental stewardship initiative, EnviroMason, provides the framework for making unique energy and waste management decisions, such as setting policies on reliability and use, making efficiency improvements, supporting capital planning and infrastructure design, and encouraging employee participation and innovation.
In its first three years of focused EnviroMason work, VM:

  • Became the first hospital in the region to recycle in the operating room. VM has one of the highest medical center surgery volumes in the region and about 30 percent of its waste could once be traced to operating rooms. Only about 15 percent of surgical waste requires special processing. Today, team members sort recyclable products from trash before surgeries. About 80 percent of waste in VM's operating rooms is recycled, representing about 800 pounds of recycled material each week.
  • Became the first hospital in the Pacific Northwest to eliminate garbage cans and Styrofoam use and begin composting food waste. Virginia Mason reduced kitchen garbage waste by 75 percent and reduced water use by 72 percent. Today, it composts 15 tons of food and material waste per month, saves about 160,000 gallons of water in the hospital kitchen each year, and recycles about 250 pounds of plastic and tin each day. Nearly 100 percent of cafeteria product purchases are compostable.
  • Diverted 595 tons of municipal solid waste from local landfills.
  • Invested more than $3 million in facility upgrades and water and energy conservation. The organization now saves more than $265,000 and 4.45 million kilowatts per year.
  • Changed documentation shredding and now more than 80 percent becomes recycled product, saving more than $170,000 in the first year alone.

The judges included Joan Crooks, Executive Director, Washington Environmental Council; Marc Daudon, Principal, Cascadia Consulting Group; Alan Durning, Executive Director, Sightline Institute; Jim Hanna, Director of Environmental Impact, Starbucks; Ross Macfarlane, senior advisor, Climate Solutions; and Jon Naimon, Managing Director, Light Green Advisors, LLC.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit or Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries, contact:
(206) 341-1509

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