Facts about the Be Square, Be Green Program

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center has been a leader in sustainability in the following areas:

  • Waste reduction
  • Reducing use of potentially harmful chemicals, such as DEHP
  • Reducing waste
  • Increasing recycling
  • Reducing use of disposable items and increasing use of reusable materials
  • Managing the disposal of pharmaceuticals using best practices
  • Reducing energy and water consumption

Facts about the "Be Square, Be Green" Program

  • In June 2008, MedStar Franklin Square opened a new waste management building that would allow us to separate non-infectious and infectious waste streams. It also allowed us to implement and on-site recycling program.
  • The separation of infectious and non-infectious waste also gave rise to the separation of recyclable materials, including metal, plastic, glass, and cardboard, which are collected and stored together in our solar-powered compactor.
  • Our recycling initiatives extend beyond conventional materials to include batteries, electronic items, and cooking oil. We are also beginning to compost food waste from our kitchen in a secure storage space available in the new Patient Tower.

How our Staff Contributes to the Program's Success

  • MedStar Franklin Square has made significant strides toward increasing the purchase of reusable items and those with a longer lifespan, away from disposables.
  • The Environmental Services Department has switched from conventional string mops to Rubbermaid microfiber mops, which has drastically reduced water and chemical use by decreasing the need to refill mop buckets.
  • Our hospital has also switched from disposable to reusable sharps containers, which eliminates a huge amount of plastic from entering our waste stream.
  • Food and Nutrition Services is also taking steps to limit the amount of Styrofoam and other packaging used for food service.
  • Our nurses have played an integral part in our greening process. In addition to being a strong voice for change, our nurses have put many ideas into practice at an individual level. Beginning in critical units, nurses have paved the way toward eliminating harmful DEHP-containing products from our facility.

MedStar Franklin Square's "Be Square, Be Green" Team

  • The "Be Square, Be Green" team was formed in April 2009.
  • The team is made of members from Environmental Services, Safety, Nursing, Materials Management, Food and Nutrition, Quality Improvement, Public Relations and other departments.

Environmental Results

  • Shutting down our incinerator has led to improvements in air quality and pollution prevention, as toxic air emissions and toxic ash residue are well known effects of medical waste incinerator use.
  • The incinerator has consumed around 8 million gallons of water annually.
  • As a result of our "Be Square, Be Green" waste separation and reduction program, we have reduced our infectious waste by 95,275 pounds per month on average from the previous year.
  • We have increased our commingled recyclables to an average of around 19,000 pounds each month.
  • The new microfiber mops trap potentially hazardous materials, rather than releasing in into the mop bucket, as the old string mops did. This decreases the use of chemicals and water by at least 90% by allowing Environmental Services employees to clean 20 rooms using the same amount of water and chemicals as it used to take to clean just 3 rooms (as required by the CDC). The new mops can also withstand up to 500 laundry cycles, whereas the old string mops lasted just 70 cycles.
  • The reusable sharps program has allowed us to eliminate 4 tons of plastic from our annual waste stream. This change has also provided health and safety benefits to our staff by decreasing the amount of handling involved in switching out sharps containers.