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How the Milwaukee VA has become a leader in sustainability

How often do you think about how your shopping and dining habits may have an impact on our planet? We’re being asked to consider it more and more as cities like Chicago have implemented plastic bag taxes to reduce use of plastic, but it’s also understandable that environmental impact is not an everyday thought for people. The Milwaukee VA Medical Center is striving to be a leader in the community when it comes to reducing environmental impact.

Listen to the audio story below to learn how they save thousands of dollars and have reduced their use of plastic to reduce their overall environmental impact.

The Milwaukee VA recently was awarded with the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from Project Greenhealth.This award is given to hospitals who lead the industry in sustainability initiatives. The Milwaukee VA was selected out of over 500 other considerations for this award—a testament to their efforts in minimizing their impact.

Noticing waste and speaking up

Perry Cox, a veteran Marine, works in the VA's store room where he helps manage the kitchen's inventory. He noticed the VA was ordering single packs of bread. A lot of the bread ended up in the garbage, and along with it, pounds and pounds of plastic.

Cox brought this observation up to his supervisors, and they decided to order food more efficiently. They began ordering loaves of bread to reduce plastic use. This simple change went on to save the VA $12,000 and reduced their plastic use by 56 pounds.

In another effort to help the environment, the VA hosted an electronics recycling event open to community members wanting to rid themselves of tube televisions and outdated computers. This year they collected 117,000 pounds of electronics to dispose of properly.

Photo of the Earth Day electronics recycling event, provided by the Milwaukee VA
The Project Greenhealth Award speaks to the contributions the Milwaukee VA has made to our environment and communities. Simple changes in how they grocery shopped for their kitchen turned out to be a huge factor in reducing their use of plastic and the amount of food they waste by throwing it out. If you have old electronics you would like to properly dispose of, check out the Milwaukee VA website for the next Earth Day electronic recycling event.