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Coronary Care Unit Makes Recycling Look Easy

8e nurses recycling
8E nurses Alicia Taylor RN and Darcy Beattie RN use the recycling bins on their unit in Upstate University Hospital.

Despite the signs to the contrary posted throughout the coronary care unit in Upstate University Hospital, staff members believe it's "easy to be green."

Nurses on the unit (8E) have been encouraging greater vigilance in the recycling of paper, cardboard and plastic, and they have set up a centralized location to make recycling … yes, easy.

"I think we're making some headway here," said Alicia Taylor RN, as she surveyed the array of containers in the unit's recycling room. "If the containers are there, people will try to cooperate. The use of the containers is increasing."

The push for enhanced recycling emerged from a recent meeting of the nurses' Shared Governance collaborative decision-making group. Taylor thought 8E could set an example for the rest of the hospital.  "We should be held to a higher standard," she said.

Taylor contacted the Environmental Services and Food & Nutrition Services departments, and talked with staff on the unit to make sure everyone was on board.  Then the signs went up – "Remember to Recycle" and "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Taylor said the high volume of recyclable products on the unit – everything from paper and plastic containers to milk and juice cartons for patients – means that every little bit helps.

"We recycle over 1 million pounds of materials at Upstate annually," said Robert Andrus of Environmental Health and Safety. "The initiative and self-motivation of Alicia Taylor and the staff on 8E speaks to what is best about Upstate.  The key to success in advancing our recycling programs starts with one individual and creates momentum that will continue to spread throughout the institution."