Big and Small: Beachwood’s Going Green
A closer look at 'green' members in the community
From big organizations to groups of high school kids, members of the Beachwood community are going green. Get inspired by their stories, and learn more about what you can do.
Cleveland Clinic – Beachwood Family Health Center, Kimberly Oh
Kimberly Oh, an administrator at Beachwood's Cleveland Clinic office, playfully describes herself as the recycling police. She's the kind of person who will take recyclables from another employee's wastebasket and walk them to the recycling box herself.
Oh's employer shares her attitude, though. The Clinic’s Beachwood Family Health Center was recently recognized by Practice Greenhealth, a national organization for healthcare facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations, with the Making Medicine Mercury Free Award, as well as a Partner for Change award.
The facility won the Making Medicine Mercury Free Award for replacing virtually all items containing mercury with electronic ones – a goal the facility has been working toward for the past five years. Until the end of May, patients can bring in any mercury-containing medical equipment to have them properly disposed of.
The Partner for Change Award was won by recycling 35 percent of their total waste in the past year – a goal they were able to reach by partnering with Iron Mountain, a third-party company with the capability of recycling a wider range of materials.
Oh says the culture of the facility is changing with a battery recycling program, water coolers with filters – which encourage employees to reuse their own plastic bottles – and an overall reduction in the use of Styrofoam products.
The Beachwood facility was chosen to pilot a program to recycle pre-surgical packaging, which Oh says can add up to about 10,000 cases a year.
Jen Tripi, Senior, Mayfield High School
On Friday, April 15, Beachwood once again played host to Green Dream, attracting more than 100 “green” vendors and thousands of attendees.
Jen Tripi, a senior at Mayfield High School, said that the whole thing started as a high school marketing class held at Beachwood High School. It's run like a business, complete with its own marketing department, finance department and CEOs. While she seems like the kind of bright high school senior you might find elsewhere, as co-CEO of the class, she's already gained an edge over the majority of students.
What Tripi took away from the class – during which she never opened a textbook – was the experience of teaming up with students from Brush, Mayfield, Solon, and Beachwood High Schools, and creating something worthwhile with students that she might otherwise have never met. She cites her biggest achievement this year as her procurement of the University Hospital Ahuja Medical Center as a sponsor.
According to Tripi, the national attention that the Green Dream brings to the school makes the students – including her – focus more on the green movement. After graduation, she'll bring this focus with her to the Ohio State University as an undecided major. Tripi says that after being involved with the class, whatever she does in life (she's thinking about a private dermatology practice), she’s “going to do it green."
Beachwood is at the top of a hill that includes six different watersheds: Doan Brook, Nine Mile Creek, Tinker’s Creek, Chagrin River, Mill Creek, and of course, Euclid Creek. That means water can travel down from Beachwood and affect everything below us.
Mayor Merle Gordon has already worked with the Euclid Creek Watershed Program to modify a city code to allow homeowners to connect rain barrels to their gutter systems, and Beachwood Middle School has built a rain garden.
But you don't have to be a city official to make a difference. Claire Posius of the Euclid Creek Watershed program pointed out five easy ways that you can make a difference.
- Install a rain barrel or rain garden in your own home. Don't know how? The Euclid Creek Watershed Program will be hosting a rain barrel workshop on May 25 right here in Beachwood.
- Reduce the use of insecticides or herbicides that you put on your lawn. Remember, it still seeps through the ground into the watershed.
- Wash your car in a commercial car wash: they have special drainage systems built to filter out pollutants.
- Pick up after your pets. Left alone, our furry friends’ leavings actually put bacteria and other unsavory things into the water supply.
- Become a friend of Euclid Creek. Learn about our watershed, and get involved with a variety of volunteer opportunities.
Editor's Note: The first version of this article incorrectly listed Tripi's high school.