Got waste? There Might Be Another Use for That

By: Allison Robinson, Director, UPMC Environmental Initiatives, and Stephanie Stanley

Today is America Recycles Day, an annual day to educate, motivate and encourage people to be smart about the things we use and discard everyday. 
Recycling is one of many ways we can practice what’s called waste diversion. But it’s not the same as reuse, where a product in its original state is reused multiple times for the purpose of which it is intended, or repurposing, where a product in its original state is used in another way. Instead, recycling involves taking waste and creating something entirely  new with it.
UPMC is diverting the following items from landfills through donations, recycling or reuse: 
  • Confidential document destruction (CDD). Approximately, 85 percent of paper is diverted as CDD so that it can be recycled into copier paper, which we then purchase. It also is converted into materials used for agriculture and landscaping.
  • Construction and demolition waste, such as residual concrete, aluminum duct work, electrical wire and copper
  • Electronic waste
  • Recyclable hazardous waste, such as expended solvents, unusable medications, etc.
  • Recycled municipal waste, such as plastics, glass and newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Sharps
  • Universal waste, which includes batteries
  • Food waste, including used cooking oil and grease is recovered for reuse
UPMC is committed to incorporating sustainable health care practices at our hospitals, which include reducing waste and other environmentally friendly programs. These include the use of green cleaning products and environmentally friendly construction supplies, as well as the practice of purchasing environmentally preferred inventory.

For 15 handy recycling tips, visit the
 America Recycles Day website