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  • Earth Day 2013 – ‘Being Green’ is Avera’s Goal and Daily Practice

Published on April 19, 2013

Earth Day 2013 – ‘Being Green’ is Avera’s Goal and Daily Practice


SIOUX FALLS (April 19, 2013) - While Avera McKennan will join the world in celebrating Earth Day on Monday, April 22, good environmental practices are a constant goal for leaders and a daily practice for employees at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

“Green is more than our corporate color at Avera,” said Tom Bosch, vice president for Hospitality at Avera McKennan. “We have a long-standing commitment to green practices in order to protect our environment, the population of our region, our patients and employees.”

Avera McKennan strives to lead the health care community in “going green” in several ways, including campus-wide recycling, reduction of electrical and water consumption, and adherence to green principles when planning new facilities. For example, the Prairie Center, which was constructed on the Avera McKennan campus in 2010, received two Green Globes for environmental performance and sustainability.  The Prairie Center’s landscaping is 60 percent organic and entirely turf-free, with plantings to create a “prairie field” atmosphere. Elsewhere on the main campus, new time clocks are being installed on lawn sprinklers to conserve water use in the spring, fall and when it rains.

Inside the walls of Avera McKennan facilities, low-flow shower heads, toilets and automatic hand washing at high-use sinks reduce daily water use. For example, ultra low-flow showerheads at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center save an estimated 1 million gallons of water per year. In addition, specialized cleaning equipment and low-foaming cleaning agents conserve water used in housekeeping processes.

To protect our area water supply as well as lakes, rivers and streams, Avera McKennan works with Stericycle to dispose of drugs and medications, so they do not end up in the landfill or sewer. Instead of being tossed in the garbage, poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet, any leftover pills, capsules, vials, IV medications, and topical ointments are disposed of in reusable special color-coded containers provided by Stericycle. The containers are then picked up by Stericycle and handled according to EPA, The Joint Commission and Department of Transportation regulations for disposal.

“We highly cherish and value our home here on the beautiful Northern Plains, and we strive to be good stewards of our land and resources. Earth Day each year is a great reminder of why we hold to green practices in our day-to-day operations,” Bosch said.