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Easy Being Green

Easy Being Green

The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, with communities in California leading the way. In the 54 years since, millions of people around the world have taken part in celebrations designed to raise awareness of environmental issues. The movement is still strong in the Golden State, with communities like Fremont going all out to help raise the eco-consciousness of its residents.

Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) recognizes the critical link between the health of each individual and the health of the environment. As the Hospital reaffirms its commitment to promoting a healthier community, it’s taking a leading role in environmental awareness.

Since 2010, the Healthcare System has partnered with the City of Fremont to mark Earth Day, with WHHS hosting the event on its Fremont campus until the Downtown Event Center was completed in 2022. This year the annual Go Green with Us! Earth Day celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the Fremont Downtown Event Center.

Focus on Sustainability

As part of the festivities, WHHS Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) will host a booth to share information about sustainability in their work. FNS Director Matthew Sciamanna, RD, will discuss the local product sourcing and food production that WHHS practices.

“Our program is designed around providing the freshest, most nutritious, high-quality food to our patients, guests and employees,” Sciamanna said. “In doing this, we are also able to serve and support our community through sourcing locally and giving back to individuals and families in need.”

WHHS sources food locally where possible and continues to explore additional local offerings. FNS purchases produce from Bay Cities Produce Company in San Leandro, which supports local farmers in the larger Bay Area. In addition, for more than 20 years, WHHS has purchased livestock from 4-H youth at the Alameda County Fair auction. This directly supports youth in the health care district and Alameda County.

WHHS’s efforts in sustainability go beyond local sourcing. They also give back in very tangible ways. To handle any excess food waste, leaders in the FNS Department partnered with a Union City-based grassroots organization, Daily Bowl, who receive and distribute food donations.

Daily Bowl is a nonprofit organization that recovers surplus edible fresh and prepared food destined for waste from food providers, such as Washington Hospital. They immediately distribute that food to receiving agencies who serve the hungry and vulnerable in Alameda County. Essentially, they aim to rescue surplus food by putting it to good use. Through Daily Bowl, Washington Hospital has donated more than 2,000 pounds of prepared food since December 2023, which contributes to local food banks and other agencies who feed hungry and vulnerable people within our community.

Good Environmental Stewardship

In addition to the FNS presentations, WHHS Community Outreach Manager Kayla Gupta said other WHHS sustainability practices will be highlighted.

“We are mindful of the resources we use at WHHS, especially now with the issues of climate change,” Gupta explained. “We are happy to continue to partner with the City of Fremont and to share information on how to be good stewards of our environment. This is a key part of what we do as part of our community engagement.”

WHHS will accept sharps (needles and syringes in approved containers) items and is partnering with Corodata to provide an industrial shredder to ensure paper materials with sensitive information can be safely disposed. In addition, the Healthcare System is partnering with Alameda County to sponsor a medication takeback collection effort.

“WHHS wants to make sure medical waste, including sharps and outdated or unneeded medications, is disposed of correctly so they don’t cause harm,” she noted. “It’s part of our commitment to our community and to going green in general. We don’t want these items, which are potentially very dangerous, to end up in a landfill. This is an important step in promoting environmental sustainability and being conscious of how our actions impact the environment.”

Environmental Impact

WHHS and the City of Fremont are committed to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. To that end, the Earth Day fair will also provide other ways for community residents to participate in eco-friendly opportunities in addition to document shredding, and sharps and medication take-back. Event goers will be able to:

  • Exchange old mercury thermometers
  • Donate eyeglasses
  • Turn in condiments and packaged
  • utensils drive (Collection of unused sealed utensil packs and condiments like ketchup, mustard, etc.)

They can also learn about:

  • Recycling and waste reduction
  • Saving energy at home
  • Local sustainability programs
  • Eco-friendly gardening and composting

There’s something for everyone at the Earth Day fair. Activities for families and children include:

  • Free basic bike tuneups
  • Food trucks
  • Bicycle fix-a-flat workshop
  • Eco-tainment
  • Earth Day art
  • Games and activities

To learn more about WHHS, go to To find out more about the annual Go Green with Us! Earth Day Fair, visit