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MDHB Continues Environmental Programme

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MidCentral District Health Board has an increasing emphasis on the environment and recycling, with most cardboard, glass, plastic, batteries, cartridges and pallets recycled.

 It also has a comprehensive energy recycling/reduction programme, and aspirations to become a “green hospital”; reducing its energy usage, with year-on-year efficiencies allowing it to at least maintain energy consumption as new buildings and services come on line.

There are a number of energy projects underway at Palmerston North Hospital that contribute to this.  These include reusing waste heat from the exhausts of compressors in the basement to provide the majority of the heating in the clinical records building; use of leading edge air-conditioning systems which employ “dry coolers” using outside air temperature to cool the data centre for approximately 50% of the year and reducing cooling demand; waste steam from the laundry ironing process and waste water heat recovery are used to provide preheating of hot water; and the new boiler upgrade project will employ flue heat recovery systems to improve efficiency.

Last year MidCentral formed a staff Environmental Sustainability Group to promote environmental sustainability to improve the health of current and future populations and to reduce our effect on climate change.

General Manager, Finance & Corporate Services Neil Wanden says: “By reducing our waste and carbon footprint, we at MDHB can play a leadership role in advocating for a healthy and sustainable future and improving operational performance at the same time.  The health systems and the health professionals working within it, have an opportunity to show leadership in promoting a healthy and sustainable environment.  Hospitals are a major consumer of resources and need to develop systems that protect the climate, and environment and that concurrently promote positive population health outcomes.  As infrastructure organisations with large carbon footprints, if we are not able to be good stewards of environmental sustainability, we will impact health, environmental and financial costs downstream.”

Not all medical/surgical equipment can be reused but MDHB is progressively exploring opportunities and learning from other hospitals.  MDHB procurement seeks to minimise any waste in packaging, while avoiding the risk that stock becomes out-of-date and is thrown away.

Mr Wanden said: “We are evaluating what is already recycled, and what else can be included, as well as looking for ways to re-cycle from the 1,400kg of general waste and hazardous waste generated daily.  While producing around 1,000 meals each day our kitchens are keeping daily waste from eateries below 90kg.”

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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