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Health Sciences

Waste Reduction Week: October 15 – 21

October 18, 2018

It is waste reduction week in Canada! This week, spend some time thinking about what you can do in both your personal and professional lives to reduce waste and improve the environment you live in.

Below I have shared five ideas to get you starting to think about waste reduction in terms of the health care system:

1. Get involved with the Sustainability Officer or Green Team in your area. If there is not one already established, now is a great time to advocate for the formation of such a role. This role could include looking at ways to reduce waste and energy in the facility and encourage staff to get involved in greening the health system they are employed in. Save with lighting and water.

2. Recycle better. It is important to separate expensive infectious hospital waste from other, non-infectious hospital waste. Develop office protocols for hazardous waste. This requires a great deal of collaboration from many sectors within the health system.

3. Minimize the amount of waste. Consider the reuse of items that will not compromise patient safety. The hospital procurement officer could opt for green alternatives, such as non-mercury thermometers and recyclable plastics.

4. Reduce transportation pollution. Walk, cycle, or take the bus to work.

5. Encourage healthy and eco-responsible diets. Increase offering of fresh fruits and vegetables; encourage the reduction of red and processed meats. Encourage the use of tap water and reusable containers in place of bottled water. Take the Food Waste Pledge!

For more information, go to the Coalition for Green Healthcare – Green Office Toolkit.

Post written by Jennifer Morin – Nursing Instructor

Photo: Recycling Council of Ontario. (2018). Waste reduction week in Canada. Retrieved from