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In 2012, SSM Health Care facilities recycled more than 3.3 million pounds of materials including paper, cardboard, aluminum/steel cans, glass and plastic - saving thousands of trees, gallons of oil and water, landfill space and electricity. That total reflects SSM's heritage of non-violence, including its commitment to preserving our earth and its resources. In 1990, current SSM Chair Sister Mary Jean Ryan, FSM, required every SSM facility to establish a Preservation of the Earth Committee (POE). She was inspired to act by her religious congregation's commitment to non-violence and a photo she had seen of a polluted harbor. She not only established the POE committees but also banned the use of Styrofoam cups throughout the system -- SSM's first bold step in taking better care of the Earth.

We have learned that we cannot apply the most advanced medical technology to cure peoples illnesses and then send them home to heal in an unhealthy environment, Sister Mary Jean said at the time.

POE committees raise awareness about what the organization and employees can do to tread lightly on our earth. POEs provide earth-friendly education and encouragement to employees to follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. SSM facilities recycle paper, cardboard, aluminum/steel cans, glass and plastic.

Our efforts extend beyond that including:

- SSM St. Clare Health Center, Fenton, Mo., has a green roof which plays a role in water conservation. The hospital's native plants lead to less mowing, gas emissions and allergens and brings biodiversity to the St. Clare campus by creating a habitat for butterflies and songbirds.

- St. Francis Hospital & Health Services recycles "everything" including cooking oil, fluorescent tubes, computers and "clean" paper (What is clean paper? Cardboard is taken to Northwest Missouri Sate University's pellet plant where it is turned into fuel for the campus' heating system.).

- St. Mary's Janesville (Wis.) Hospital uses native plants in its landscaping and serves 100% UTZ certified coffee -- a minimal amount of fertilizers and agrochemicals are used, so that environmental pollutioin is reduced and less water and energy is needed.

- In Oklahoma, rechargeable batteries are sent to a local vendor who rebuilds them to keep them from being disposed of in a landfill.

- The new Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mount Vernon contains special glass with high performance low E-glazing that reduces  the amount of heat entering the building and, in turn, energy consumption. Internal heat from its data center and electric and telecome rooms is recycled to air coming from outside in the winter to save on heating.

SSM eliminated bottled water at its facilities  in June 2008. Annually, SSM saves more than half a million bottles of water.

Updated 4/2013

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SSM Health Care - 10101 Woodfield Lane - St. Louis, Mo., 63132 - Phone: (314) 994-7800 - Fax: (314) 994-7900