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St. Mary's Gives All Plastic Bottles the Boot 
 
 

Did you know that Americans generate 30 million tons of plastic waste every year?  Or that just 2 million tons of that is recycled?  This includes everything from plastic silverware, to plastic bags and plastic bottles.  That’s a lot of trash! 

In 2008, St. Mary’s Hospital along with St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo and the SSM Health Care of Wisconsin regional office aimed to do our part by eliminating the sale and distribution of plastic water bottles at all of our facilities.  Since then we’ve decided we can make an even bigger splash by eliminating the sale and distribution of plastic soda and juice bottles. 

Beginning June 1, the three year anniversary of our water bottle ban, we’re saying so long to plastic bottles entirely.  That doesn’t mean people won’t be able to satisfy their thirst – instead it’ll be in the more environmentally friendly aluminum cans and glass bottles. 

“We started with water bottles because we knew all of our facilities had clean, drinkable water,” says Jon Rozenfeld, chief operating officer of St. Mary’s Hospital.  “At that time, we said we’d look into it further to see if we should expand our ban on plastic bottles. After looking at the data we feel getting rid of all of them is the right way to go.”

This initiative is just one of the many ways SSM Health Care of Wisconsin facilities are committed to preserving our Earth.  Both St. Mary’s and St. Clare have a Preservation of the Earth committee which helps raise awareness about what employees can do personally and what the organization can do to tread lighter on the planet. 

 

 Did you Know?

 Since 2001, SSM Health Care facilities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma have recycled more than 37 million pounds of materials.  In 2010 alone, as a system, we recycled 4.4 million pounds of materials including paper, cardboard, aluminum/steel cans, glass and plastic - saving more than 37,640 trees, 841,364 gallons of oil and 15.5 millions gallons of water.

Recycling Fun Facts

According to the EPA: 

  • Just 28 percent of plastic bottles are recycled.  Those that end up in the landfill take at least one million years to break down.

  • Aluminum cans are recycled at a 51 percent rate.  And cans that get recycled are back on store shelves within about 90 days.  In a landfill, aluminum cans take between 200 and 500 years to decompose.

  • Glass bottles are the most recycled of all at 80 percent.  Recycling one of these bottles saves enough energy to run a computer for 30 minutes.

 

   
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