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Green from the Get-Go: Approaches to Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

By Lara Sutherland
Materials Management in Health Care

Several of health care’s leading environmental organizations have joined forces to better serve the community at large. Operating under the banner Practice Greenhealth, the not-for-profit, member-supported organization  offers a broad array of resources to help hospitals achieve environmental excellence. Many of these programs will be available to materials managers and procurement professionals. Read on to learn about opportunities that can help you lead your organization to improved environmental results.

Ten years ago when I first started working with health care organizations on “greening” their procurement and contracting operations, the big focus was finding substitutes for mercury products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had recently announced that medical waste incinerators were major sources of mercury and dioxin to the environment, and university medical centers were experiencing something they had never seen before—EPA enforcement actions. Against this motivating backdrop, the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, EPA and Health Care Without Harm came together to create Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E).

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