OhioHealth announces new Sustainability Plan

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By Erin Franczak


OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital announced a new focus on sustainability this week, with plans to improve its environmental impact in the years ahead.

The Sustainability Plan was announced Tuesday and is set to begin on Sunday. The five-year plan focuses on three main goals: social, economic and environmental improvements to better the hospital. This plan was developed over the past 18 months with help from numerous local agencies, including Rural Action, Ohio University, UpGrade Ohio, Live Healthy Appalachia and the Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP).

Erin Sykes, director of Rural Action’s Zero Waste program, helped outline some of the plan’s social goals. These center around giving patients quality care no matter their financial situation; to promote healthy lifestyles; and to be a comfortable and safe place to receive care.

Sykes also noted the environmental goal involves a focus on recycling and renewable energy, while the economic goal is meant to better help the local economy.

“We believe promoting a healthy environment is an important part of living our institution’s value of stewardship,” said O’Bleness president Mark Seckinger in a news release. “Practicing environmental sustainability improves the health and well-being of our patients, associates, and communities.”

The news release mentioned several specific goals in particular. Among them:

  • Cutting energy and water use by five percent
  • Increasing recycling to 25 percent
  • Increasing local/sustainable food purchases to 20 percent

In total there are 140 “action steps” to make these goals attainable. Some examples of these steps are replacing original single-pane windows with energy efficient windows and increase the number of vegetarian entrées offered at the WillowView Cafe.

Although the project has just begun, some of the action steps have already been completed, hospital officials said, such as replacing all hospital lights with LED lighting, removing Styrofoam from the hospital, and purchasing foods locally.