Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Recognized for “Platinum” Level Environmental Practices

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Recognized for “Platinum” Level Environmental Practices
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Source: Cottage Hospital

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH) has earned the Platinum Level Environmental Sustainability Certificate from the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) of the American Hospital Association, making it the first hospital in the nation to achieve this distinction. 

The Platinum Level certificate acknowledges the hospital’s ongoing and outstanding sustainability efforts and recognizes the facility for being proactive and hands-on with sustainable operations, according to the AHE. In 2017, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital was the first hospital in the nation to receive a Gold Level certificate from the AHE.

“Our Nutrition and Environmental Services team at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is committed to protecting the environment and the health of our community. They are the leaders in consistently setting the bar higher and higher at Cottage for sustainability practices,” said Herb Geary, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Cottage Health. “We’re thrilled and honored to be the first in the nation to achieve the Platinum designation.”

The hospital consistently diverts about 40 percent of its waste (about 60 tons per month), which is recycled or composted instead of going into the landfill. In 2012, prior to the new Environmental Services initiatives, the hospital’s waste diversion rate was 20 percent. In the new decade, the SBCH team aims to increase that number even more, and is already working on identifying new opportunities.

SBCH recently introduced a new surgical wrap-recycling program, which prevented 2.5 cubic tons of “blue wrap” – plastic film used to keep surgical supplies sterile -- from going to the landfills. Other waste reduction accomplishments in 2019 include the following:

  • 2 tons of food scraps composted each month
  • 3 million gallons of recycled water irrigated the hospital campus
  • 2 tons of plastic from reusable sharps containers diverted from landfill 

About Cottage Health

The not-for-profit Cottage Health is the leader in providing advanced medical care to the Central Coast region.  Specialties include the Cottage Children’s Medical Center, Level 1 Trauma Center, Neuroscience Institute, Heart & Vascular Center, Center for Orthopedics, and Rehabilitation Hospital. The Cottage Health medical staff is comprised of more than 700 physicians, many with subspecialties typically found only at university medical centers. Last year, the Cottage Health hospitals in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley provided inpatient care for 21,000 people, treated 80,000 patients through their 24-hour emergency departments and helped deliver 2,100 newborns.

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