For Earth Day, Tomah Health official reflects on success of recycling, cutting waste

Tomah Recycling 3
Steve Loging, Tomah Health's facility services director, sorts recyclables after a meal in the hospital Café. (Tomah Health photo)

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — Tomah Health’s ongoing recycling and waste-reduction efforts continue to show positive results, according to a tally of the results.
“Our recyclable totals have increased, while our waste, which goes to the landfill, continues to decrease,” said Steve Loging, the hospital’s facility services director, during an assessment coinciding with Earth Day.
Tomah Health collected 27,740 pounds of recyclables between October 2020 and April 2021, compared with 21,400 pounds from October 2019 to April 2020, Loging said.
During the past fiscal year — from October 2019 to September 2020 — the hospital collected a total of 42,600 pounds, he said.
“It is our goal and will always remain our goal to reduce our footprint,” Loging said.
Waste reduction comes from staffers throughout the facility focusing on recycling, reducing disposable containers and using bulk items to minimize the amount of packaging that needs to be disposed of, he said.
“It’s a team effort. It takes everybody in every department throwing the recyclable paper, the cardboard in a recyclable container instead of the regular trash,” he said.
“As a whole, we have gotten requests from many departments asking for another recyclable container,” he said. “So staff is very upfront and conscious about recycling.”
The design of the new Tomah Health building, completed in 2019, also contributed to waste reduction, Loging said.
“When we built this hospital, we installed all LED light fixtures, instead of using fluorescent fixtures so that we would not have the fluorescent bulbs to change out and recycle,” he said.
Loging credits the hospital’s Waste Reduction Committee, of which which he is a member, for continuing to cut waste while looking for ways to recycle.
“Part of our mission is to offer services that support a healthy life, and one of our values is to do no harm, so recycling is part of that mission and values because the environment is equally as important as our patients,” Loging said.
Recycling some things, such as hazardous and biological wastes, takes more effort, he said, adding, “But as a whole, we can still do our part.”
Hospital staffers celebrated Earth Day with reminders about recycling and reducing waste, along with a photo contest and complimentary ice cream.
“Earth Day is a day that we like to bring attention to it (waste reduction), but it’s a 356-day-a-year process,” Loging said.