Hydroponic walls at St. John’s provide kale for the hospital’s kitchen for five months out of the year.

Image by Lisa Smith

St. John’s Health, Jackson, Wyo., goes beyond first-rate patient care. Its mission includes a commitment to real sustainability. The commitment includes everything from exceeding existing standards around environmental laws and regulations, to addressing waste and recycling; alternative transportation; water conservation and energy efficiency; environmentally friendly cleaning practices; the emission of toxins; and participation with community and state programs that encourage environmentally responsible practices.

St. John’s conducted a comprehensive energy audit to examine energy usage and determine new ways to reduce it. The resulting five-year plan incorporated new policies that include integrating the cost of energy usage when purchasing new devices; increasing the use of reprocessed operating room devices by 50%; reviewing laundry procedures to determine best practices for disinfection and cleaning; and having a goal of reducing water usage by 5% by utilizing Environmental Protection Agency Water Sense-labeled products and, whenever possible, other water-saving equipment.

While proactively pursuing these goals, St. John’s has established some notable sustainability practices and put them into place. These include a food composting program that diverts 22 tons of waste from the landfill, a switch to office paper made of recycled content, and reducing paper usage annually for four years running.