Providence St. Patrick Hospital administrators say 38 percent of the hospital's waste is now recycled or diverted.
That's one of the achievements that helped them get named to the Greenhealth Circle of Excellence for energy. Greenhealth recognizes hospitals for their work in health care sustainability.
St. Patrick has also found ways to save energy with a more efficient building layout and lights.
"It's important that we consider it, because health care packs a mean environmental punch,” said Beth Schenk, a registered nurse scientist at St. Patrick. “There's a lot of pollution that comes from health care, so we are working hard to keep ours minimal. We are one of the national leaders in this front, as we've just been recognized again for many years running now."
St. Patrick isn't the only western Montana hospital to be recognized for environmental friendliness. Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Polson received the partner for change award this year for the first time.
Administrators say the hospital uses less energy than 75 percent of other buildings the same size.
St. Joseph also won its second Energy Star award this year from the EPA.