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Ready, set, recycle

Toronto, March 17, 2015

By Heather Brown and Iram Partap

Raul Diaz demonstrates what items will be recycled at the bedside
Raul Diaz, an environmental service worker, demonstrates what items will be recycled at the bedside. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

The blue box is coming to the bedside.

Environmental Services is launching a bedside recycling program this month in an effort to increase waste diversion by five per cent in 2015-16.

The initiative will initially roll out on 9 Cardinal Carter and be fully implemented in all inpatient units in six months.

Paper, tin, glass and plastic will be the initial focus of the program. Each patient room will be given a recycling bin and a sign showing patients, visitors and staff what can be placed in the bin. Unit service workers will be provided with new collection bins so they can separate the recyclables and waste at the source.

This program builds on St. Michael’s recycling program, which was rolled out in the administrative and public areas five years ago. The hospital has since diverted 49 per cent of its waste from the landfill, the equivalent of the weight of 225 elephants each year.

Poster that will be on the recycling bins
Poster that will be on the recycling bins. Click here or on the image above for a larger version of the poster.

“While our waste diversion rate is heading in the right direction, we have committed to achieving a 60 per cent diversion rate by 2017,” said Michael Camara, manager of Environmental Services. “To meet this target we needed to expand our recycling opportunities and this program is the next step in our expansion.”

Training sessions will be held for unit service workers and information sessions will be held for clinical staff to ensure everyone knows what can be recycled and how to collect the materials. Environmental Services leaders will also meet with unit leaders before rolling out the program on each unit to assess the amount of waste generated in that area and determine what other diversion opportunities exist, such as providing larger bins in key areas or more recycling bins throughout the unit.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.