Janesville hospital project puts priority on recycling

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
— When it opens in eight months, the St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital and adjacent Dean Clinic will start caring for people on Janesville’s east side.

But in the 18 months since the 50-bed hospital and physicians’ clinic have been under construction, contractors and their workers have been caring for the Earth by recycling nearly 75 percent of the project’s waste.

That includes about 30 semitrailer trucks—more than 1,100 tons or nearly 4,400 cubic yards—of waste that hasn’t gone to the landfill. It doesn’t include more than 31,000 pounds of wood pallets that have yet to be recycled.

This year, the city of Janesville will take in about 190,000 tons of materials at its landfill on Black Bridge Road.

While the amount of material hospital contractors have diverted from the landfill is less than 1 percent, it’s still significant, said John Whitcomb, the city’s operations director.

“I would agree with the mindset or concept that any diversion of recyclable material from the landfill is a good effort,” he said.

The recycling effort is much more impressive, Whitcomb said, when compared to the city’s curbside program, which this year will pick up about 4,000 tons of recyclables.

Concrete, drywall and wood make up the majority of the materials recycled at the site, said Rick Stoughton, who is managing the project for SSM Health Care of Wisconsin.

“The goal going in was to recycle 80 percent, and we’re not quite there,” Stoughton said. “Still, we’re doing really well.”

Stoughton said SSM and Dean asked their contractors to recycle as much as possible. The general contractor, Cogdell Spencer Erdman, is well versed in environmental sustainability, he said.

“We knew early on that we wanted to do it this way, and we made sure our contractors were on board with it,” Stoughton said. “They have a real good system for segregating the waste.”

The site near the intersection of Racine Street and Interstate 90/30 includes several large dumpsters, each designated for recyclable materials such as cardboard, concrete and masonry, drywall, metal and wood. Each floor also has appropriately labeled trash bins.

Stoughton said the size of the hospital/clinic project makes recycling easier. Smaller projects, he said, don’t typically generate the efficiencies that make them cost-effective.

The cost of recycling at the St. Mary’s/Dean is not prohibitive.

“In fact, it’s pretty much cost neutral,” Stoughton said, adding that revenues from scrap metal nearly offset the additional expenses of labor and trucking the materials to recycling centers.

Typically, it’s difficult to find someone who will recycle drywall, at least someone who is close enough to warrant the trucking costs.

Stoughton said Cogdell Spencer Erdman solved that problem when it found a Green County farmer willing to grind up the drywall and spread it on his fields to address pH issues.

As workers continue their recycling efforts, they are also on track to finish the facility this fall.

The $150 million medical campus is expected to open in January. Staff recruitment will begin in July, with orientation and training starting in October.

Last updated: 5:18 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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