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UPMC Environmental Initiatives Operations and Activities

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National Drug Take Back Days

UPMC’s hospital and retail pharmacies have proactively participated in the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Drug Take Back Days for nearly 7 years.

On annual average, these events collected around 0.5 tons of unwanted medications, removing them from community access through environmentally sound disposal. Additionally, through education and new practices of small introduction doses, they minimize the waste of newly prescribed medications.

Food and Nutrition Department Initiatives

UPMC Food and Nutrition departments successfully integrate sustainability acts into engaging service options. Their initiatives include:

  • Purchasing RGBH-free milk, local produced eggs, vegetables, and fruits
  • Reducing the use of foam service products and making reusable beverage cups available
  • Enabling access to regional farms through onsite farmer’s markets
  • Growing vegetables and herbs on campuses used on educational cooking demonstrations
  • Aligning with county health department healthy lifestyle and health prevention initiatives
  • Making sure vending machines offer healthy options
  • Pro-actively participating and achieving recognition in performance food service assessments

Facility Air Quality and Fuel-Emissions

All UPMC campuses and facilities, owned and leased, are smoke-free, and smoking of any tobacco, narcotic, and e-cigarettes is prohibited.

Diesel-fueled delivery and transport vehicles are prohibited from idling during their service

UPMC offers support for multimodal transportation access to urban facilities, especially hospital campuses. Options include:

  • Access by public transit
  • Available bike racks
  • Level II electric vehicle charge stations
  • CHG-fueled transit shuttles for hospital employees

In addition, UPMC serves as title sponsor of WalkPittsburgh, which promotes active transportation options, such as walking.

Energy Efficient Facility Design and Operation

Through multiple collaborations associated with facility design and operation, energy efficiency projects had impacts beyond operations and services. 

A UPMC garage lighting demonstration project contributed to a revised City of Pittsburgh parking garage lighting ordinance to align with modern energy efficient technology. 

Collaborating with municipal and utility partners, UPMC is installing a district energy-based microgrid in Uptown Pittsburgh, that will benefit others beyond UPMC.

Where possible, green spaces are incorporated into urban campus to mitigate urban heat cap.

In addition, UPMC IT infrastructure is environmentally and energy efficient. Service-side technology enables patients and visitors to conserve resources through opting for e-billing, e-documentation, e-sign-ons, and having their information managed through advanced electronic health records; all significantly contributing to reduce the paper and printing demand.

Remote access to medical experts and portable monitoring technology reduces the need for patients, caregivers and visitors to travel, reducing their impact on regional transportation emissions.

Community Infrastructure Impacts

UPMC has a significant spatial presence throughout western Pennsylvania. Awareness of its impact on regional is demonstrated through such actions as:

  • Installing sidewalks with street lights for pedestrian safety
  • Installing storm water holding ponds on its properties to mitigate run-off
  • Assisting in community clean-ups and seasonal park preparations
  • Supporting community gardens and green space management through sponsorships
  • Making space for public transit stops at urban and suburban hospital campuses
  • Supporting active transportation and pedestrian traffic through the availability of accessible bike racks at many facilities