You may not realize it, but hospitals recycle, too. And in 2018, Rapides Regional Medical Center provided 95 trees to help restore national forests through the Products for the Planet program.

Products for the Planet is a recycling program initiated by Stryker, a medical supply company. The program encourages hospitals who buy Stryker products to recycle single-use devices. For every single product collected – at 41 percent to 100 percent – Stryker donates five trees to the National Forest Foundation in that hospital’s name.

“Last year, RRMC collected 19 products at 41 percent or greater,” said Jody Byrd, RN, Clinical Resource Director at Rapides Regional Medical Center. “That means, 95 trees were donated in our name.”

The National Forest Foundation then plants trees in areas where the environmental need is greatest. For example, in 2017, donations were used to help restore the Ochoco National Forest in Oregon and in 2018, trees helped restore the Coconino National Forest in Arizona.

So far, the program has donated 14,856 trees.

Single-use device recycling adds up in other ways as well.

“In 2018, RRMC totaled $396,960 in savings and diverted 8.5 thousand pounds of waste from landfills through this recycling program,” Byrd said.