UNMC LiveGreen - A Q&A with Karen Stiles

February 05, 2013

Meet Karen Stiles of the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory and discover what she does to be environmentally friendly.

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Karen Stiles
Name: Karen Graulich Stiles
Title: State Training Coordinator
Department: Nebraska Public Health Laboratory

What are some of the things you do to be environmentally friendly?

I have always tried to recycle as much as possible, both at home and at work. Here at Nebraska Public Health Laboratory, our responsibility is to ship clinical specimens, as well as propagated cultures. These are federally regulated and packaging and shipping is stringent. Therefore, we supply our laboratories with the proper packaging materials, to ensure it is shipped correctly. Packaging material of this caliber is expensive, therefore we have created a system where the boxes are "refitted" and returned to the sending lab. In order to return them, I batch and ship back via US Post in larger boxes. It is a way to reuse boxes we've received from supplies ordered for our department.

Why do you take such actions?

I hate the waste! Our dumpsters are always filled with perfectly recyclable material, if someone just took the time and initiative.

How long have you done this?

We just started the shipping program in June 2012.

What would you say to others who may consider doing similar work?

It does take more effort, but recycling is worth it in the long run!