Swedish Medical Center earns honor for ‘green’ landscaping practices
February 16, 2012
NEW — 11 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012
Swedish Medical Center landscapers improved the environment — and the organization’s bottom line.
The landscaping staff at Swedish/First Hill worked to qualify as a 5-Star EnviroStars group — a designated awarded to organizations based on a demonstrated commitment to reducing hazardous materials and waste.
Swedish joined more than 700 EnviroStars businesses offering services, such as car repair, dentistry, dry cleaning and printing. EnviroStars is a program of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.
Several facilities in the Swedish system had a contract for spraying fungicides and insecticides on shrubs and trees.
But staffers examined the plants, soil conditions showed in need of spraying — such as aphid infestations — had disappeared. Once regular pesticide spraying stopped, birds returned to keep insect populations under control.
The organization also safely disposed of old chemicals through the state Department of Agriculture’s collection program for agricultural and commercial grade pesticides.
Swedish’s switch to the integrated pest management system saved about $10,000 per year.
“Reducing pesticide use makes sense not just for the bottom line, but also for the environment and preventing accidental exposures,” said Laurel Tomchick, EnviroStars program manager for the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program.
The integrated pest management program is in use at Swedish/Issaquah, the 7-month-old hospital in the community. Swedish campuses in Ballard, Cherry Hill and First Hill also use integrated pest management techniques. Employees at the facilities reported reduced pest problems.
“I am very happy with the results and the willingness of Swedish to adopt the use of Integrated Pest Management practices at their facilities,” said Liesl Zappler, landscape coordinator for Swedish/First Hill. “It is imperative that medical centers focus on health outside of their facilities, as well as on the inside. Being organic protects patients, visitors and staff, as well as the environment, and we have been able to do this at a significant cost savings.”