Virginia Mason Memorial awarded national recognition for sustainability programs

Virginia Mason Memorial awarded national recognition for sustainability programs

YAKIMA, Wash.--Virginia Mason Memorial is being recognized as having one of the most sustainable health care facilities in the entire country.

Keeping it local is a mantra that's helping Memorial win some high honors from Practice Greenhealth.

A national organization focused on environmental sustainability in health care.

"It's amazing, it felt really super good. We have a great team, we worked really hard," said Memorial senior manager of food services Cindy Parkey.

"To get recognized [as] top 10 in the nation [with these awards] is pretty remarkable."

Memorial is being given three awards from Practice Greenhealth for their commitment to sustainable programs including operating room maintenance and food service.

Parkey is part of the Memorial team that signed the Healthcare without harm initiative three years ago, to make sure the food they serve employees and patients is healthy and locally sourced.

"Through that initiative we started working on sugary beverages, we lowered that. Better meat which means antibiotic free, hormone free meats," she said.

They've also started growing organic vegetables in an on-site garden, which is used in their cafeteria and patient meals.

Last year alone, Memorial's very own garden supplied over 4000 pounds of produce to the cafeteria. A key ingredient to help them win these very prestigious awards.

Recyling also a major emphasis for Memorial, as they collected nearly 40 tons more in 2016 as they did the previous year.

The work to keep these high marks in sustainability doesn't end for Memorial leaders.

"Next for us is to continue on with our initiatives and to continue to do better at it. But also this coming up year we're going to start working with waste reduction, composting," said Parkey.

As these awards serve as reminders the importance of having a healthy community.

Leaders from Virginia Mason Memorial will be presented their awards from Practice Greenhealth at a conference in May in Minneapolis.

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