To the editor:
Recently, one of our family members was treated at Inova Alexandria Hospital and we are grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff who provided excellent care. While there, we also witnessed one of the unintended consequences of hospital care: the huge amount of waste generated. On average, it’s 30 pounds of waste per patient per day. We applaud Inova’s efforts to reduce waste by removing drinking straws and Styrofoam, and to move toward green cleaning products and local food suppliers.
As a community leader, Inova Alexandria Hospital is uniquely positioned to set the standard in not only sustainability, but also clean energy consumption. The health sector generates 10 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. And we know that climate change is already having a significant impact on public health.
One of Inova’s sustainability principles is “Do No Harm,” and moving from zero use of renewable energy to 100 percent in the next decade is a key way to meet this objective. Hospitals across the country have successfully transitioned to a clean energy supply and Inova Alexandria can too. We also respectfully suggest the following:
•Making any major hospital renovations LEED platinum certified – the highest standard in green building design.
•Creating initiatives that enable employees to bike, use public transportation or carpool.
•Implementing more ways to reduce waste.
•Establishing a community interest group to engage citizens in hospital sustainability initiatives.
Inova Alexandria Hospital provides outstanding care to keep us healthy. As an institution dedicated to public health it only makes sense for Inova Alexandria Hospital to demonstrate with its practices that creating a successful patient-centered business model can also be good for the environment.
-Chris Matthews, Susanna Carey, Jennifer Roda, 1Planet Co-Founders