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St. Michael’s helps kids get creative about recycling

Toronto, June 5, 2013

By Patricia Favre

A drawing from a child at the Early Years Childcare Centre, thanking St. Michael’s for the donation.
A drawing from a child at the Early Years Childcare Centre, thanking St. Michael’s for the donation.

The GTA has a new fleet of ambulances – and they’re made of pink styrofoam.

The three-foot-tall toys are the handiwork of children at the Richmond Hill Early Years Childcare Centre. They’re made with pink packing foam donated by St. Michael’s Hospital.

After receiving a large shipment of electro-medical devices, clinical engineering operations leader Ziva Brigler approached the childcare centre to see if it could use the packing material.

“Our teachers were ecstatic,” said Einat Brigler, Early Years’ director of education. “Not only did it allow us to demonstrate to the children how one thing can be reused and transformed into something else, it also gave us an opportunity to discuss the concept of community helpers such as hospitals.”

Each tile of pink styrofoam was cut, painted, and then glued to transform it into models of miniature fire trucks, ambulances and hospitals.

Most deliveries arrive at St. Michael’s packed in some type of styrofoam.

“There are many items that we can recycle in health care; unfortunately styrofoam is not one of them,” said Eduarda Calado, greening strategy coordinator at St. Michael’s Hospital. “It goes into landfill and does not breakdown for over 1,000 years. Ziva saw an opportunity to reuse something that we can’t recycle and in doing so she engaged children and the community. We should all think the way that Ziva did about how we can reuse rather than just throwing things away.”