After joining the team at our Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis center in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Registered Nurse Jesseca Davis saw an immediate opportunity for process improvement. With the fresh perspective of a new hire and a passion for conservation, Davis identified a solution to one of our clinics’ biggest waste contributors: plastic cups used to give patients their medication.
“Every day we were using and disposing of 30 to 50 single-use, 1-ounce plastic medicine cups to hand out capsules and gel caps,” said Davis. “That’s 9,000 to 15,000 cups a year at just one location. But you don’t need a plastic cup to hold a gel cap. It’s wasteful and harmful to our environment.”
Davis’s idea was simple and effective—get her clinic to switch to paper cups, which decompose 15 times faster than plastic and pose less of an environmental impact. With encouragement and support from her clinic manager, she connected with key decision-makers, who approved the shift and helped Davis succeed in her mission.
The initiative was so successful that all Fresenius Kidney Care clinics adopted it by the summer of 2021. Now, each of our dialysis centers use paper 1-ounce medicine cups and 3-ounce water cups instead of plastic ones. Davis explains, "it will help us save about 31.2 million plastic cups from landfills every year."
Davis views caring for the environment as part of her role as a healthcare professional and saw the use of paper cups as a way to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills.
“Single-use plastic items can take hundreds of years to break down, and they release toxic gases into our air and water systems while they do,” she explained. “This negatively impacts our patients, since for them, clean water is life or death.”
Davis is a great example of sustainability in action and our efforts to reduce our environmental impact and improve the lives of our patients, employees, and communities.