O’Bleness Hospital donated furniture to local thrift stores as part of its zero-waste initiative.

Image courtesy of Rural Action

OhioHealth’s pledge of zero waste takes a community effort, as displayed in a recent move that included recycling seven tons of material. 

OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, one of a dozen hospitals under the health system’s banner, recently moved one of its medical office spaces into a new facility. Although the move was successful, it required leaving behind equipment, furniture and other items that were no longer needed. Instead of sending the items to a landfill, however, O’Bleness put a plan in place to recycle, upcycle and reuse much of what was collected.  

Furniture from the clinic was sent to area thrift stores, and plastics and scrap metal were recycled. More than a ton of medical equipment — including scales and infant exam tables — were sent to MedWish Cleveland, which works to repurpose discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid to people in need. In total, the hospital was able to keep 93% of the materials collected out of landfills. 

“All hospitals and medical clinics manage a large amount of waste, but we are committed to delivering care while reducing our environmental footprint,” says LeeAnn Lucas-Helber, president of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. 

The initiative was part of a greater mission established by OhioHealth in 2016, when the health system took nonprofit Rural Action’s Zero Waste Pledge and worked with the organization to create a campuswide recycling program and other sustainability initiatives.