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EPA and Hackensack University Medical Center Team Up to Increase Green Practices

Release Date: 02/23/2012
Contact Information: John Martin (212) 637-3662 (office), (646) 256-6710 (cell), martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Hackensack University Medical Center have entered into an agreement to enhance environmental practices at the hospital. The medical center has pledged to reduce its use of plastics, reduce and recycle solid waste, complete the final phase of its green roof, use nontoxic cleaning products, conserve energy and water, and reduce air pollution from its vehicles. The Hackensack University Medical Center is the first hospital in Bergen County to sign such an agreement with the EPA.

"Hackensack University Medical Center continues to distinguish itself as an environmental leader in New Jersey and beyond,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The commitments they are making today will help create a healthier environment for their patients, staff and community. I am hopeful that other hospitals in New Jersey will follow the example set by the medical center. I am also honored to stand with Deirdre Imus, a trailblazer in the work to protect children’s health. Her work to promote nontoxic cleaning products is incredibly important.”

“HackensackUMC is proud to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency to increase our already aggressive energy conservation and sustainability efforts,” said Robert C. Garrett, President and Chief Executive Officer, HackensackUMC. “As one of the nation’s top 50 hospitals providing the largest number of inpatient and outpatient services in the State of New Jersey, our mission is to improve the lives of our patients, their families and the communities we serve. Becoming an even more environmentally-friendly healthcare institution allows us to further that mission.”

“For more than a decade, HackensackUMC has been the healthcare leader in environmental sustainability, beginning with the Greening the Cleaning program in 2001, which promotes the use of nontoxic cleaning products and in 2005 with the design and construction of one of the first green hospitals in the country,” said Deirdre Imus, Founder and President of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at HackensackUMC. “By recycling more, consuming less and embracing environmentally-friendly practices, HackensackUMC is creating a healthier environment for everyone.”

Under its Memorandum of Understanding with the EPA, Hackensack University Medical Center has agreed to:

    • Achieve at least a 10% reduction in energy consumption and become an EPA Energy Star partner.
    • Reduce plastic bottle use by 15% by 2013 by using bottle-less water coolers.
    • Increase the hospital’s recycling rate from 14% of solid waste to 35% and continue to donate, sell or properly recycle all electronic waste.
    • Recycle or reprocess laser toner and inkjet cartridges and reduce the use of mercury and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate/polyvinylchloride (DEHP/PVC) throughout the hospital.
    • Use construction materials with recycled content.
    • Recycle or reprocess equipment.
    • Install water conserving equipment, including the installation of low-flow toilets and faucets.
    • Reduce air pollution from construction vehicles and equipment by requiring the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel by promoting the use of best available pollution control retrofit technologies on construction equipment and by implementing a no-idling policy.
    • Complete the medical center’s 7,000 square-foot green roof and garden, which will reduce stormwater runoff.
Hackensack University Medical Center will submit an annual status report to the EPA, which the agency will use to determine the environmental benefits associated with the hospital’s “green” activities and provide feedback on ways to improve its environmental performance.

In 2006, the EPA awarded The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center an Environmental Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by organizations and individuals to protect public health and the environment. The center is one of the first hospital-based programs with the specific mission of identifying and ultimately preventing exposure to environmental factors that may cause pediatric cancer and other health problems in children. Leading by example, its “Greening the Cleaning” program eliminates the use of cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients whenever possible and replaces them with environmentally responsible products.

EPA has similar agreements in place with a number of major sports organizations, universities, and businesses in New York and New Jersey.

For more information on EPA green agreements, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/greenteam.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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