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Sustainability leadership

Mercyhealth is committed to becoming the most environmentally responsible health care system in the country.

Within Mercyhealth we strive to ensure our day-to-day operations are founded in sound environmental practices in all aspects of care delivery. In doing so, each of our hospitals has a local green team with the goal of establishing our health system as a leader in sustainable outcomes and practices.

View our annual health care system sustainability dashboard

Sustainable waste management

From our cafes to the operating room, Mercyhealth aims to reduce waste in all areas of hospital operations. With the support of our hospital and community partners, we've developed comprehensive recycling and waste reduction processes.

  • Our efforts include reducing the amount of waste we generate, reprocessing devices, recycling and composting programs and creative reuse initiatives. These efforts involve collaboration across multiple departments and individual partner participation. Many partners champion waste reduction and recycling efforts in their functional areas, especially members of our green teams and committees.
  • We’ve implemented a single-use medical device reprocessing program, a process that makes it possible for health care providers to reuse certain types of medical equipment. In 2022, we collected over 13,371 pounds of single-use devices.
  • We’ve implemented landfill diversion reduction strategies.
  • We’re working on plans to recycle blue sterile packs within the OR.

Chemical reduction

Our efforts include reducing the use of products that contain chemicals of concern. Chemicals are found throughout Mercyhealth, from conventional cleaning products to products that release hazards into the air over time.

We use a number of technologies that assist in the reduction of harmful exposures from traditional cleaning products, including:

  • High-filtration vacuum cleaners
  • Automatic scrubbing machines that use only water, where appropriate
  • Microfiber technology
  • Ultraviolet light disinfection, where appropriate

One systemwide initiative was to eliminate the use of antimicrobial hand hygiene products used in patient care and public areas.

Environmental sustainability in perioperative settings and operating rooms

Operating rooms are the most resource-intensive area within our hospitals. To mitigate these impacts, we have implemented a variety of programs with our OR staff and clinical champions.

Sustainable food and nutrition practices

Within Mercyhealth’s system, we understand that nutrition and food systems are inextricably linked to the health of our patients and our community. This is reflected in our commitment to serving fresh, minimally processed foods, and to partner with our food vendors to supply healthier food to patients. Our goal aims to have the most sustainable health care food service in the country.

Here are some key initiatives and projects that have been implemented:

  • Room service at Mercyhealth: Instead of delivering trays with the same meals at the same time regardless of patient preferences or schedules, we allow patients to order what they want when they want it. This significantly reduces food waste and improves the care experience for our patients and families. See an example of one our room service menus.
  • Offer QR code with patient menu for OB patients; reduce paper
  • Monitor patient supplements to reduce waste

Energy, water and climate change initiatives

Mercyhealth is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and mitigating health issues caused by climate change. We believe collaboration is key to reducing our environmental impact.

Here are some key initiatives and projects related to these:

  • Completed multiple LED lighting conversion project
  • Completed retro-commissioning project at Javon Bea Hospital–Rockton Ave.
  • Multiple energy reduction initiatives (lighting occupancy sensors, variable frequency drives, HVAC programmed shutdown, energy rebate for utilization of condensing boilers, etc.)

Greener buildings, sustainable purchasing

Mercyhealth takes a green approach to facilities planning, design, and construction. We believe sustainable building practices positively benefit our environment and, most importantly, our patients.

Our design principles focus on five key areas:

  • Sustainable site development
  • Water savings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials selection
  • Indoor environmental quality