To help fulfill its commitment to sustainability, Lancaster General Health looks to implement green initiatives whenever possible. “We’re always looking to incorporate any opportunities we can,” states John Hartman, Senior Director of Facilities Management. “So, when our construction manager told us about the possibility of recycling old ceilings, we knew it was something we wanted to do.”
The hospital began participating in the Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program and, as a result, over 50 tons of old ceiling tiles were diverted from landfills.
Lancaster General began recycling ceilings in 2006 during a series of nursing unit renovations at its main facility. The hospital’s most recent ceiling recycling occurred at its Outpatient Center in Columbia, PA.
As part of a major renovation project there, nearly 30,000 square feet of old ceiling tiles were removed from the facility and shipped to a nearby Armstrong plant where they were used in the manufacture of new acoustical ceilings.
Hartman notes that the process for recycling old ceilings has proven to be nearly as fast as dumping them, so the program has had little adverse impact on construction schedules.
“Recycling is a little more labor intensive because of the need to stack the tiles,” he says. “However, once stacked, they can be removed quickly on a skid loader rather than in a series of trash containers, which is the case with dumping."
“The differences in time and labor tend to balance out,” he adds. “But even if they didn’t, the benefits of recycling far outweigh any additional cost of labor.”
Hartman also notes that recycling ceilings can be less costly than dumping because it eliminates dumpster fees, landfill fees, and the expense of transporting the material to the landfill. “It simply makes prudent sense to recycle, both economically and environmentally,” he states.