By Amanda Sangster - April 22, 2022
Earth Day is one of the largest secular holidays celebrated around the globe. At Moffitt Cancer Center, it’s not only a holiday, but a chance for employees to make big changes and lasting impacts in their local community. What started out as a simple challenge among team members has grown into an ongoing center-wide effort to minimize Moffitt’s carbon footprint and increase its environmental stewardship.
The Green Committee is Moffitt’s oldest team member council and was established more than 20 years ago. It consists of a multidisciplinary group of employees all united behind a common goal: decreasing the cancer center’s carbon footprint while increasing its sustainability and conservation initiatives.
Last year, the Green Committee celebrated Earth Day with the inaugural Earth Day Challenge. Moffitt employees were asked to develop and implement Earth-friendly ideas into their daily lives using the reducing, reusing and recycling framework. The participating teams executed their green projects throughout the summer. The Green Committee then voted on winners across different categories.
Best Overall Green Project Award: McKinley Perioperative Team
The winning team for best overall project was the McKinley perioperative team. Their green project targeted the local streets of Tampa Bay where they aimed to “transform trash into treasure.” Their project goals included landfill diversion, neighborhood beautification, community education and awareness.
The team collected and repurposed more than 45 snipe signs. A snipe sign is defined as any material that is tacked, nailed or posted to public utility poles, trees, fences and other structures. These signs are illegal in Tampa Bay and classified as litter. Frequently left in place until they deteriorate and become an eyesore, they are also considered a distraction for motorists. The city of Tampa allows everyday citizens to remove them freely.
The team repurposed the signs to include anti-litter and conservation messages, then posted them to a community forum for redistribution under the condition that the new owner would maintain and recycle the signs after use.
Additionally, this team delivered signage to Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and joined the World Oceans Day river cleanup. They inspired located residents to start their own snipe sign recycling project for their local Community Care Day. The McKinley perioperative team also received the Green Impact Community Award because their project focused on improving their community through beautification and litter clean up.
Green Impact to Moffitt Award: McKinley Infusion Pharmacy Team
This project was recognized for creating a sustainable, environment-friendly workflow at Moffitt. The winning team from the infusion pharmacy at the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center at McKinley Campus transformed a system into a greener process by reducing their dependency upon plastic bags.
Infusion pharmacy team members identified a way to reduce the dependency on plastic bags used for continuous ambulatory delivery device (CADD) pumps. CADD pumps are small, portable devices assigned to individual patients for the delivery of infusion therapies. Before the project was implemented, patient-assigned CADD pumps were packaged in small plastic bags as they were transported between the pharmacy and patients. The plastic bags could not be recycled.
The infusion pharmacy teamed up with nursing staff in this area to implement paper bags for transporting these devices to ensure they were recycled once no longer in use. After implementation, their data showed that 76% of bags were returned for recycling and they were able to eliminate the use of plastic bags for outgoing CADD pumps entirely. This new system did not compromise patient safety or interrupt patient flow.
Green Impact to Nature Award: Clinical Informatics Team
Marine debris is a worldwide problem with an estimated 14 billion pounds of trash being dumped into the ocean yearly. It’s estimated that 80% of marine debris comes from land-based sources. Worldwide, more than 200 specifies are impacted by entanglement in this debris. To address this problem, Moffitt team members from the Clinical Informatics Department participated in a kayak coastal cleanup in partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.
Coastal cleanup efforts like this allow for local action with a global impact. Removing debris from the ocean impacts multiple land and water species within the global ecosystem.
Green Awareness Award: Clinical Trials Office
Moffitt team members from the Clinical Trials Office recognized that there was a need to increase awareness for existing green initiatives at the cancer center, like battery recycling. For their project, they focused on a blended initiative since their team has a hybrid set up where some are onsite and other work remotely. The staff took efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and on Moffitt’s campuses. Their goals included increasing awareness of the Green Committee through surveys and education.
The team improved engagement with Moffitt’s green initiatives across their department. They educated staff on the local recycling guidelines so they could decrease their carbon footprints at home. In the office, they worked to eliminate paper charts that were outdated and could be discarded. This project was voted by the Green Committee to have the strongest impact on environmental awareness both in the community and at Moffitt.
In honor of this year’s Earth Day celebration, Moffitt’s Green Committee is once again asking team members to join the challenge with new green projects. Winners will be announced in July with an award ceremony to follow.