The Lawrence Memorial Hospital cafeteria was serving more than food this morning, as hospital employees held their first "precycling fair" for anyone who wanted items such as used batteries, paper clips or foam trays.
"This is stuff that has been used throughout the hospital," said Sam Todd, an LMH maintenance worker and chairman of the precycling committee. "It can all be used by anyone who wants to come pick it up." Hundreds of free items were available at the precycling fair, which was held from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. today.
The term "precycling" was used, organizers said, because the items were being given away, not recycled.
AMONG THE most popular items at the fair were nine-volt batteries, which had been used to power intravenous medical equipment. The hospital is required to replace the batteries after they've been used for a certain number of hours in the machines.
"The batteries all have half- to three-fourths life," Todd said. "You can use these for radios and other appliances.''
Also popular were small bottles of baby lotion, which were left over from unused newborn care packages.
"They've just been coming in and snatching those two up," said Margaret Brummett, LMH printer and member of the precycling committee.
Other items that were being given included were empty baby food jars, cardboard folders and Styrofoam serving trays.
TODD SAID he believed the precycling fair, initiated by LMH employees, was the first of its kind at a hospital in Kansas.
"We've had really good results with this fair, and we will probably have another in the near future," he said. About 250 to 300 people stopped by the cafeteria to pick up items.
He said the hospital accumulates enough items to have a precycling fair about once every six months.
Todd said employees began saving items, instead of throwing them away, after a March 1991 meeting with Patricia Marvin, the city's recycling coordinator.
LMH employees also have been recycling items. From May to December, the hospital recycled 6,657 pounds of white and colored note paper, 4,919 pounds of computer paper, 1,451 pounds of plastic and 846 pounds of aluminum soda cans, LMH officials said.