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Versiti Blood Research Institute Does its Part to Go Green

April 17, 2020

The Green Team has made it their mission to find better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the materials they encounter every day.


As an organization, Versiti’s Core Values focus on how we can save lives and better serve patients and partners in our communities. And in an age when reducing waste is more important than ever, Versiti Blood Research Institute’s Green Team is doing its part to live and breathe our Core Values: Do Right Always, Find a Better Way, Strengthen the Team and Make Results Happen.

The Green Team was founded in February 2019 by a group of proactive researchers who recognized a need to reduce the amount of waste they encounter on a daily basis. In their line of work, they constantly receive packages of Styrofoam and plastic film packaging and regularly use single-use products made of plastic and wrapped in plastic film. These materials are not always easily recyclable and take a much longer amount of time to break down in landfills.

“We were puzzled by how to properly dispose of our recyclables,” said Green Team co-founder and BRI research scientist Melissa Lee-Sundlov, PhD. “As a group, we asked what waste disposal options were available to us and found instruction, signage and policies to be lacking.”

Dr. Lee-Sundlov and her peers decided to remedy this. She and research technologist Anna Schmidt participated in a Lean Six Sigma course with Versiti’s continuous improvement team to find out how to improve the process. Throughout the Lean Six Sigma program, Schmidt and Dr. Lee-Sundlov learned how to provide a framework for culture change and eliminate policies or processes that didn’t contribute positively.

For their first program, Dr. Lee-Sundlov, Schmidt and Green Team member Theresa Dlugi, PhD, started a plastic film recycling campaign, working with a company called Trex. “We hope to collect 500 lbs of plastic film in six months,” Dr. Lee-Sundlov said. “This work is supported by additional members of the Green Team, who help with collection and delivery.”

The Green Team has received excellent feedback from their peers at the BRI and have other ideas they would like to pursue. But they’re not the only ones across the organization who are doing their part to help the environment. Versiti Blood Center of Illinois account rep Carrie Futchko and her team have created a “Green Toolkit” email that includes blood drive flyers, signage, video testimonials and more that helps community blood drive organizers to only print the materials they need, saving paper and reducing waste. And Project Management Specialist Eva Sueto has taken it upon herself to make small changes in her daily life. “I have my own recycling box by my desk and on nice days, I’ll walk it out to the recycling bin myself,” she said.

It’s easy to make small changes in your daily life to help the environment. And when we all band together, we make an even bigger impact. Versiti is committed to being a beacon of hope to our communities, and the Green Team is an excellent example of our dedication.

Learn more about Versiti Blood Research Institute.

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