BeLeaf Green Program Gets Underway at Gordon Hospital
(Calhoun, Ga) — It may be wintertime, but things are turning green at Gordon Hospital.
What started as a conversation between Carlene Jamerson, president and CEO of Gordon Hospital, and her daughter Julie about recycling has grown into BeLeaf Green, a hospital-wide organization to promote environmental stewardship.
“This program changes the way we think about every single thing that is thrown away,” said Michael Haddox, computer operations specialist for Gordon Hospital. “We have to ask ourselves what can we recycle, what can we re-use, and how can we use less in the first place.”
To begin the effort, a committee was formed and employees elected the BeLeaf Green slogan. Gordon Hospital Facilities Director Tony Shadix serves as chairman of the committee, and while he believes strongly in protecting the environment, he is also practical about the financial benefits the recycling program offers the hospital.
“This is a financial no-brainer,” Shadix said. “Most things we can do that benefit the environment, such as recycling, can also help the hospital save money. As the costs of delivering high-quality care continuously rise, this allows us to offset some of our expenses of our hospital so that we can invest more in patient care.”
Mohawk Industries GreenWorks Director David Braden is providing support and guidance to the hospital’s recycling effort.
“The team at Gordon Hospital is serious about what they’re doing,” Braden said. “I think they’ll be leaders in the green healthcare movement in northwest Georgia.”
Although implementing a recycling program is BeLeaf Green’s first goal, future plans include finding ways of using less water and electricity, pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for future building projects, and developing a pharmaceutical take-back program to keep unused drugs out of the water-supply.
“There’s a movement underway in the practice of medicine and surgery that acknowledges the role of the environment in supporting wellness,” said Dr. Jason Crane, a local urologist, who is the medical staff representative for the BeLeaf Green committee.
“Healthcare in the United States is consistently among the top industries in terms of energy and resource use. We want to set an example for our community and the region by helping to change this distinction.”
Since the implementation of BeLeaf Green in June of this year, approximately five thousand pounds of recyclable materials have been kept out of the local landfill each month. Currently, the items being collected for recycling are #1, #2, and #5 plastics, cardboard, and mixed paper. Plans are in the works to soon add other items to the list, including aluminum cans, and #3, #4, #6 and #7 plastics.
“At Gordon Hospital, we certainly want to reduce our carbon footprint on our community,” Shadix added, “and we are accomplishing that thanks to BeLeaf Green.”