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Green Living Stressed at Hillcrest Hospital's Earth Day

Hospital employees and area residents recycled paper, plastic, shoes, cell phones and old computers.

At first glance, the scene Tuesday at looked like a typical celebration.

There were the normal informational tables and food, but they were accompanied by a box of shoes, stacks of old desktop computers and a miniature putt-putt course. Still, those items were among the ones that produced the most satisfaction for the staff at Hillcrest. They indicated a steady and strong response to the hospital's annual Earth Day celebration.

About 400 area residents and employees came to the hospital's atrium with recyclables in hand over a three-hour stretch in order to make better use of landfills and learn about green living. Of course, putt-putt added a little fun to the equation.

"Each member of the (Cleveland Clinic) system does their own version of Earth Day," said Rick Boggs, director of environmental services. "We want to educate people about what we do here at Hillcrest, and there's information here about what they can do at home to reduce their energy costs."

Hillcrest's Green Team, comprised of employees from various departments, recylced 262 tons of paper last year, and Boggs said he hoped to reach that goal once again.

Soles 4 Souls, a global shoe charity, planned on delivering the shoes brought in by the public to the needy.

Employees from in Mayfield Heights attended the event with intentions of bringing old computers and VCRs to the store for proper destruction and recycling.

"Instead of putting it out on your front lawn, this is definitely the right way to do it," Mya Eady, an operations supervisor at Best Buy, said. "You don't want anybody to get a hold of your information, so we go ahead and take the hard drive out and destroy it."

Eady said the store always accepts trade-ins for outdated equipment. Lake Forest, IL-based Stericycle attended the event to provide insight on the waste management services it provides for Hillcrest, while AVI Foodstystems served up healthy dishes throughout the event.

A Moringa tree was also on display to symbolize an upcoming mission trip to Guatemala, where a group of nurses will plant the trees because their leaves can be used for nutritional value.

"We cover a lot," Boggs said. "We get people from the neighborhood, from the apartments who walk over. Of course, we have family memebers of people who are here for surgery or treatment, and they get to find out what we do.

"They seem the most excited about it. They say, 'this is so nice that I'm here today.'"

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