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Sansum Clinic Implements Innovative Recycling, Composting Program

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss, Eric Lohela from the City of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Program, and representatives from Sansum Clinic’s executive team, Service Core Group, and facilities and housekeeping staff recently joined together in celebration of Sansum Clinic’s innovative recycling and composting program.

In June 2011, the Service Core Group at Sansum Clinic’s multispecialty clinic at 215 Pesetas Lane embarked on a project to improve recycling and reduce landfill waste. This is the first outpatient medical facility in Santa Barbara that is composting exam table paper and hand towels, displaying truly cutting-edge environmental stewardship.

The new yellow dumpster customized for the Sansum Clinic by MarBorg Industries is in place, staff have been trained and the program is under way.

Program Highlights

» January 2011 — Sansum Clinic sent 80 percent of its trash to the landfill and 20 percent to recycling.

» April 2011 — After getting approval from the Service Core Group, Sansum Clinic’s location at 215 Pesetas Lane consulted with the city recycling program to assist the clinic in reducing landfill.

The clinic started by putting up more recycling signs and blue cans throughout the clinic, then eliminated many small trash cans and replaced them with small black hanging baskets. The effort began in the administrative offices and nurses stations and was later expanded to include the medical offices.

» Starting in February 2012 — With more recycling efforts in place, the clinic sent 60 percent to landfill and 40 percent to recycling.

Eric Lohela of the city’s recycling program then discovered that the clinic can compost hand towels and exam table paper and created a custom color chart for compost-recycle-trash for the building. 

» As of December 2012 — The clinic is sending 40 percent to compost, 40 percent to recycle and only 20 percent to landfill.

This is excellent for the environment and affords the clinic a net savings on trash services each month. Neive Tierney from the city has trained housekeeping and building staff. In the future, the clinic will add food scraps to its program. For now it wants to focus on the two large items — table paper and hand towels — until it is sure the staff, the housekeeping staff and MarBorg Industries have it all working smoothly.

To accomplish the composting step, Sansum Clinic is adding yellow trash cans to all exam rooms and replacing the tall table paper cans with tall yellow cans.

— Jill Fonte is the director of marketing for the Sansum Clinic.

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