Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids is using new cutting-edge technology to enhance its recycling program, purchasing a new recycle/trash compactor – the first of its kind in the Corridor. The new compactor allows co-mingled recycling hospital-wide, and is expected to reduce waste by as much as 40% in the first year.
The design of the state-of-the-art compactor enables the handling of recycling and trash using two separate compartments, so Mercy is able to divert a wider variety of recyclables from regular trash. The compactor, made by JV Manufacturing, is one of only four made in the United States, according to Les Etscheidt, Director of Mercy’s Environmental Services Department.
“This compactor has two chambers, one side for recycling and the other for trash. It’s a 60/40 percent split,” Etscheidt explained. “It is already making a difference, allowing us to recycle up to 40% of our total waste.”
Mercy purchased the compactor in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Blue recycling containers will be distributed and the program will be similar to Cedar Rapids’ co-mingled, city-wide recycling program. Most patient rooms at Mercy have received blue recycling containers. More will be gradually added in other hospital areas, including staff offices and departments.
In addition to diverting clean plastic, newspapers, magazines, rinsed tin cans, water bottles, chipboard and non-confidential papers into the co-mingled recycling program, Mercy staff and patients also recycle cardboard, plastic wrap and sterile wrap from surgical products.