Pharmaceutical Coolers Recycling Program

SIP Interns: What are they up to?

Sophomore Political Science and Public Policy major, Anamei Walli, UK Healthcare intern, has created a project reducing and recycling UK HealthCare Styrofoam waste. The project implements a recycling bin and collection system to reduce waste across the hospitals, research buildings, and healthcare locations on UK’s campus.

Styrofoam coolers are used in healthcare to safely ship everything from food to medical supplies. UK HealthCare waste diversion data shows a total of 4743.93 tons of waste go to a landfill, including 17.7 tons of Styrofoam. By collecting the Styrofoam waste in its own recycling bins, Anamei hopes to optimistically divert 80-90% of Styrofoam materials from the landfill.

This project aids UK becoming a zero-waste campus, which is one of UK’s sustainability goals. Actually, it’s one of our five guiding principles;

  1. Make the pursuit of Sustainability goals an integral part of the UK student experience
  2. Reinforce the University’s commitment to our people
  3. Decarbonize Campus Operations 
  4. Become a Zero-Waste Campus
  5. Model Environmental Excellence

The project will place collection bins across campus in various locations including;

  • Healthy Kentucky Research Building
  • Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (PAV H)
  • Laboratory Services
    • KY Clinic
    • Good Samaritan
  • Retail Pharmacy
    • Good Samaritan
    • Chandler Pav A

The proposed timeline for this proposal is to have approval by the end of January 2024 from UK Facilities Management and Unit Managers such as Laboratory Quality Coordinator, Laboratory Section Supervisor, and Pharmacy Directors. By the February and March ’24 the Recyling bins are to be ordered and installed. After all education efforts have been implemented to employees of unit locations, the results of a waste characterization study will allow for comparisons to the previous years of waste collection data. This comparison will help to determine the effectiveness of recycling Styrofoam coolers, and the possible continuation of the program.

“Implementing this recycling effort has been extremely rewarding, as it’s given me a chance to make a small impact within a very complex healthcare system, as well as learn about aspects of the University that are lesser known to the student body and make strong campus-wide connections.” 

Anamei Walli, SIP Intern

We are excited to support Anamei in her project and hope to help her make an impactful contribution to reducing waste within UK HealthCare and on campus!

Katherine Johnson

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