This Earth Day, MedShare Reaffirms Commitment to Environment

MedShare saved these supplies from ending up in a landfill

As the world comes together to celebrate Earth Day, MedShare is reaffirming our commitment to the environment. Our mission is to deliver medical supplies to underserved populations around the world while lessening the impact of medical waste in the United States, but did you know that we’ve taken great strides over the past few years to make our operations and warehouses more environmentally-friendly as well?

MedShare is funded by generous donors like you; as such, we’re ever mindful of our expenditures. With this in mind, our Southeast and Western facilities made changes to their facilities over the past few years. Both were outfitted with motion-activated lights, saving each facility from needlessly wasting energy, and the California location installed low-flow toilets. The Southeast, enabled by a grant from the Kendeda Fund and by partnering with Radiance Solar, will install a new roof, insulation and solar paneling. In addition to the positive impact of the environment, our efforts will also save money for each warehouse in the form of reduced power bills.

Below, Rob Oviatt, Operations Director (Southeast Region) and Chuck Haupt, Executive Director, Western Region comment on the environmental changes MedShare has implemented:

“In an attempt to reduce our energy consumption at our SE Distribution Center, we made some significant changes to our lighting system last September. We did away with our 400W metal halide lamps in our warehouse (37,000 square feet), and replaced their murky orange glow with the much brighter and far more efficient high-bay T5 high output fluorescent lamps. These new lamps are also fitted with motion detectors which turn them off after five minutes of inactivity in that area. We also replaced our aging 4-lamp T12 fixtures in our sort room (8000 square feet) with 3-lamp T8 fixtures, providing a much brighter work area. The effect of these lighting upgrades has been a reduction in our total energy consumption by about a third.

Currently, we are also having a 30 kW solar installation placed on our roof. This system should further reduce our energy consumption (from the grid) to the point where we will require less than half of the energy we were consuming before the upgrades.

As for future plans, we are exploring the possibility of expanding the capacity of this solar installation, possibly upgrading our HVAC system, and will be performing smaller upgrades like a tankless water heater, low volume toilets, and motion detectors on office lighting.”

-Rob Oviatt, Operations Director, Southeast Region

“In 2010 we completed an intensive year-long effort to obtain certification as a Green Business. As California’s first large-scale recycler of surplus medical supplies, we were asking hospital in our community to change their business practices and to embark on new green initiatives with us. It seemed most appropriate that MedShare itself should also be a strong environmental steward. To that end, we implemented scores of new practices including; elimination of bottled water, paper plates and cups, use of duplex printing to reduce paper consumption, and conserving water with the installation of new low-flow toilets. The most significant part of our certification required us to replace every single light in our 32,000 sq. ft. warehouse. We moved from high energy-use metal halide lights to compact fluorescent lights with occupancy sensors to conserve energy. Our whole staff is proud of what we have accomplished and we share these new practices with the thousands of visitors we host each year.”

-Chuck Haupt, Executive Director, Western Region

MedShare’s Green Impact – By the Numbers:

  • In our 12-year history, MedShare has saved 1,766,240 cubic feet of medical supplies from ending up in landfills and incinerators.
  • In FY 2010 alone, 313,120 cubic feet of landfill space was saved.
  • MedShare’s supply and recovery efforts each year save approximately 535,000 lbs. of CO2, equal to almost 554,000 miles driven; and 1.8 million kwh, equal to 150 household’s annual electricity.

What can you do to help our green efforts and celebrate Earth Day? Consider donating Boxes of Hope. You’ll not only save medical products from ending up in local landfills, but you’ll also save lives around the world. These boxes contain vitally needed items like syringes, sterile gloves and gowns, labor and delivery kits, biopsy kits, and surgical kits. Your support will help us by providing these otherwise-scarce items to benefit the poor in developing countries. A box of medical supplies – which you can sponsor in quantities of two to 1,000 – will make a difference.

This is an excerpt from our April e-newsletter. To read more – including stories of a biomedical volunteer and a medical mission that we support in the Philippines – click here.


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