Skip to main content

Single-Stream Recycling Begins in MMC’s NICU

April 23, 2019

In March, Maine Medical Center began rolling out a single-stream recycling program in its Bramhall Street building. The program started in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Continuing Care Nursery (CCN), with the hope that it can spread to other areas of the hospital in the coming months. While the hospital has recycled office paper, cardboard and reusable sharps boxes for years, creating a single-stream recycling program has proved more challenging because of the risk that contaminated items from patient rooms could get mixed in.

The NICU and CCN have 10 bins set up, each with signs above them explaining what may and may not be recycled according to ecomaine, the non-profit waste management organization that processes and sorts the recyclable products from the hospital. A member of MMC’s environmental services team brings the recyclables from the units to the hospital’s loading dock for transport to ecomaine.

“Colleagues seem to be happy with the program,” said Whitney DeSena, RN, BSN, who championed the NICU and CCN recycling program. “We’ve had great buy-in and enthusiasm across the units.”

DeSena said educating colleagues about what is and is not recyclable is key to the program’s success, as federal regulations require hospitals to throw many items away.
Cardboard, paperboard, rigid plastic containers, glass and metal are all able to be recycled in these bins. ecomaine is unable to take dirty food containers, straws, plastic coffee cup lids and utensils, Keurig pods, paper towels, paper napkins and toilet paper.

To learn more about what can and cannot be recycled in ecomaine’s single-stream containers, visit

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
MaineHealth taps Boston Children’s physician with strong information technology background to lead its IT department
Daniel J. Nigrin, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist who was drawn to the important role that technology plays in delivering world-class health care.
MMCRI Joins National COVID Data Research Collaborative
The National COVID Cohort Collaborative gives scientists access to de-identified data from COVID patients around the country, speeding up the research process.
MaineHealth Earns 2020 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired Recognition
The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs to improve health and care in their communities.
Appendicitis Trial Shows the Risks and Benefits of Treating Appendicitis with Antibiotics Instead of Surgery
MMC Surgeons Damien Carter, MD, and Bruce Chung, MD, are among the authors of the largest randomized clinical trial of appendicitis ever conducted.
Physicians Join Maine Medical Partners
Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires.
Shaw Brothers Construction Pledges $1 Million to Maine Medical Center to Honor Sally Shaw
In recognition of a $1 million commitment by Jon and Dan Shaw, founders of Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, Maine Medical Center will name the causeway of the new Congress Street Tower in honor of the Shaws’ mother, Sally Shaw.
MMC Participates in NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Studying Buprenorphine Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder
Maine Medical Center’s emergency department is one of 30 chosen across the country as part of the National Institutes of Health "Helping to End Addiction" Long-term Initiative (HEAL).
U.S. News & World Report Names MMC ‘Best Regional Hospital’ For Eighth Straight Year
MMC earns a “high performing” rating in the specialty of Urology as well as in ten common procedures and conditions.
Credit rating agencies reaffirm strength of MaineHealth
Two credit rating agencies continued to give northern New England’s largest health system high marks for its financial strength even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact.
MMCRI awarded $1.9M by the National Institutes of Health
The five-year award by the National Cancer Institute supports the study of how healthy fat cells support growth of blood cancer cells.