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Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Health & Hospitals

St. Joseph’s/Candler First Company To Join Savannah Single-stream Recycling

TBR Staff

St. Joseph’s/Candler, Savannah’s third-largest employer with over 3,800 employees, contractors and volunteers, is the first business to implement a single-stream recycling program as part of the City of Savannah’s new recycling efforts.
The hospital recognizes the importance of recycling and thinks other companies should too, according to SJ/C President and CEO Paul P. Hinchey.
The Savannah single-stream recycling program began in January with the collection of residential recyclables, and has performed beyond expectations, according to City Manager Michael Brown, and the Ccity is ready to expand to provide the service to the business community.
Single-stream recycling eliminates putting various recycled materials in different bins, such as newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic and magazines. All accepted recyclable products can go into one container, cutting costs of the bins and labor to handle all of the containers. And, it increases participation, statistics have shown.
Hinchey, Mayor Otis Johnson and Brown are holding a press conference today, Monday, April 6, at Candler Hospital to call attention to the hospital system’s decision and to further explain the single-stream recycling option for the business community.
“We had been studying recycling on our own for some time,” explained Scott Larson, public relations manager for St. Joseph’s/Candler, “and were looking at a total cost of $200,000 a year for employees, contractors and equipment if the city had not put in a recycling program.”
That study was headed up by Kevin J. Myers, hired as St. Joseph’s/Candler’s director of environmental services back in 2003, who had previously run a multi-stream recycling program at the University of Pennsylvania’s hospital. “It was extremely expensive,” he said. “The is a great program that Savannah has put in. We are looking at cost avoidance of as much as $240,000 a year,” he added.
St. Joseph/Candler has also agreed to end its contract with a private vendor for removal of regular solid waste and accept the city’s bid of $143,000 versus the hospitals’ current bid by a private vendor of $153,000 this year.
Savannah workers will take over the solid waste removal as of May, according to Myers.
The hospitals’ medical waste is handled by other vendors and is not part of regular solid waste or recycling programs.
“Our medical waste goes out through a vendor and is transported off our site and moved to a facility that either sterilizes it or incinerates it. For example, pathological waste has to be incinerated, by law,” explained Myers.
The city has provided the single-stream bin at no cost to the two hospitals, which arrived last week. “We have already begun,” said Myers. There is still labor cost for the hospital to handle the single-stream bins, but “we have probably eliminated three-fourths of our costs by this program.”
Previously, the two hospitals were only recycling cardboard, though responsible disposal of computers and light bulb programs were also in place. But now, all aluminum, office paper, newspapers, magazines and plastic (except #6 plastic, Styrofoam) will be recycled. The city does not allow hand towels to be recycled from businesses, either, according to Myers.
“This is a great program in that its single streamed. It makes it a lot easier. Other methods are very labor intensive,” he said.
“We are looking at rolling this out across the entire St. Joseph’s/Candler system,” Myers said, looking at expanding in stages to push it out throughout the entire system. “We have already approached our medical group managers and our property management groups,” he added.
“Our goal is to keep our landfills free of any unnecessary items, any non-biodegradable items, Myers concluded.
All three of the city’s hospitals, including Memorial Health, are within the city limits.
The Chatham County Commissioners voted in March to hold up on implementing recycling in the balance of unincorporated Chatham County, due to projected costs and concerns about the county budget.
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