BAMC receives award for environmental sustainability efforts
By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Brooke Army Medical Center received the 2023 Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Award for going above and beyond to protect the environment.
The Partner for Change award recognizes superior performance in environmental sustainability, covering a range of different sustainability programs and activities. Winners also have made substantive progress on mercury elimination.
“This achievement means that BAMC has gone above and beyond being a good steward for the environment and has been recognized for its superior performance in environmental sustainability,” said Army Maj. Ryan Wells, BAMC chief of environmental health. “We have set the standard for all military treatment facilities to follow.”
Over the past year, BAMC has recycled more than 925,000 pounds of waste materials.
“This effort significantly reduced our disposal costs while simultaneously protecting the environment,” Wells said.
BAMC was also able to reach 100% use of green cleaning chemicals in five target areas: general purpose cleaners, window/glass cleaners, bathroom/restroom cleaners, carpet cleaners and floor cleaners.
In an effort to reduce waste, the BAMC dining facility encourages the use of reusable take-out containers that reduce the use of disposable take-out containers. Currently, 200 units are in circulation.
In another initiative, BAMC completed a project to replace 111,572 square feet of 25-year-old gravel roof with a highly reflective PVC membrane roofing system to improve operations, reduce cost, increase reliability, increase reflectivity and insulation, provide for ease of maintenance, and extend the operational life of the system.
Future goals include implementing new policies to reduce waste by an additional 10%, using procurement to reduce unnecessary purchases, increasing staff education about sustainability and waste management, and replacing separators within the dental clinics with separators that can capture dental amalgam, which would reduce hazardous waste costs.
“In a shifting health care landscape, a focus on sustainability can help build resilience while better protecting the health of patients and the community,” said Gary Cohen, Practice Greenhealth founder. “BAMC demonstrates the kind of leadership, innovation, and performance that can drive the entire health sector toward more environmentally responsible practices.”
Practice Greenhealth is a membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, delivering environmental solutions to more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems.
“We have only one planet and we should not waste it,” Wells said. “Being good environmental stewards means protecting our resources for future generations while simultaneously protecting the health of our communities. It also saves us a lot of money.”