Rod Toney, Assistant Director of Mail Distribution and Sustainability, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Roderick Toney, director of mail distribution and sustainability, is shown with a Mail Matrix machine capable of processing 3,000 pieces of mixed mail (letters, flats, magazines, small parcels) per hour to over 1,020 mail delivery points in a single pass.

Describe your responsibilities as assistant director of mail distribution and sustainability for The Johns Hopkins Hospital?

I oversee mail throughout The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For sustainability, I am responsible for managing different initiatives such as furniture recycling, confidential paper shredding and salvaging. I also help run the Johns Hopkins Hospital farmers market in conjunction with Reduction in Motion, as well as the hospital’s membership with Practice Greenhealth, which delivers sustainability best practices. I have a fantastic team working with me!

What is your background? Where did you get your start?

I’m a proud product of Johns Hopkins! I started here when I was 18 working in the nutrition department, and Johns Hopkins gave me the resources to take leadership management courses that helped me grow as a professional and individual. Johns Hopkins also provided a number of mentors who were invaluable for me to reach my current position. They groomed me to be a leader and I’m always eager to pass it forward to the next generation.

What is your role in Johns Hopkins' sustainability efforts?

Sustainability is incredibly important for Johns Hopkins across the board. I personally have three main responsibilities for sustainability:

  • I work to increase waste diversion. This includes recycling and repurposing electronics and furniture as well as shredding confidential papers.
  • Next, I focus on increasing access to local and sustainable food through our farmers market. East Baltimore is considered a food desert — there is limited access to healthy foods. The Johns Hopkins Hospital farmers market provides healthy, locally sourced foods for both staff and the community. It also provides a matching program using federal nutrition benefits for qualifying community members and associates — if an individual is on federal assistance, they can receive up to $5 in matching funds, which allows them to purchase more produce and vegetables. We also offer free cooking demonstrations and community recycling for electronics and paper.
  • Lastly, I am responsible for increasing engagement through our Green Office Certification program. The certification is a self-reporting eco-checklist for The Johns Hopkins Hospital departments, which ensures they will become more ecologically sustainable. For example, using a water tower instead of plastic bottles is something you would find on the checklist. Departments who achieve everything on the list are recognized as champions and receive an award.

What are the sustainability goals for the future?

We want to continue to be as eco-friendly as possible. Personally, I would like to see Johns Hopkins be recognized as a top program in sustainability in the near future. We have already been celebrated numerous times for our efforts. However, I would like us to continue growing.

Is there a particular initiative that you believe should be highlighted?

We have an instrument reprocessing program with Stryker where we send them our old medical equipment and they refurbish and resell the supplies back to us. These items remain at a high safety level while saving the health system considerable cost — about $1.2 million.

What do you feel is needed to improve sustainability?

Engagement is key. We have several members of leadership such as Redonda Miller and Ken Grant who are engaged with sustainability, but there still needs to be more structure for the departments to help align our goals further and engage all employees.

Communication is also incredibly important. For example, we have both recycling and trash cans. However, if no one is trained about the difference between the two, then the recycling can is useless. We need to be able to clearly communicate how to be sustainable in order for our work to be effective.

Lastly, how challenging is it working for mail distribution during the holiday season?

During the holiday season, mail distribution becomes a bit more difficult because we become overwhelmed with personal packages. We use the same resources to process these packages so it takes a toll on the system. As a reminder, Johns Hopkins mail distribution should not be used for personal packages – no exceptions. This rule isn’t just made to help keep the system running efficiently - it’s also for safety purposes. So please, everyone, have your personal packages delivered to your home or alternate location.

For more information of The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s sustainability efforts, please email Roderick Toney at toney1@jhmi.edu.

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2 Comments

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Comments

Sharon Krumm December 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for your kind words and support over the years.

Best,

Rod

Reply

Sharon Krumm November 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Mr. Toney provides invaluable leadership for JHH in two very challenging areas . He is consistently professional and very pleasant in all interactions. We are fortunate to have his strong leadership. Thank you Mr. Toney!

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