Advocate Health Care | Engaging Employees in Waste Reduction

Advocate Health Care has identified employee (“associate”) engagement as a key driver of waste reduction, energy conservation and preservation of environmental health.  Advocate proved the power of this belief as it sought to reduce the quantity of regulated medical waste (RMW) and other waste produced within its facilities.  To reduce its waste, Advocate adopted a multi-faceted approach to include associates in its environmental efforts by building a culture of conservation throughout the organization. An online training module helped educate associates about the program, demonstrating how they could reduce Advocate’s waste and explaining the environmental and health benefits. An Environmental Stewardship Dashboard was developed as a way to track waste and energy performance by site.  Advocate created accountability for improving these outcomes by sharing the Dashboard with green teams and executivs and by tying managers’ performance goals to these outcomes (measured by the weighted average of energy and waste goals).  Further, Advocate created the Environmental Stewardship Awards, to recognize employees' outstanding sustainability efforts. Through its associate engagement efforts, the organization achieved a record average of 1.7 pounds of RMW per adjusted patient day (APD) across its facilities in 2012. To date, more than 60 individuals have received Advocate's Environmental Stewardship awards.