Talkin’ Trash – July 2010, G20 Special Edition

DOING MORE BY DOING LESS

Recycling…it’s good and all, but when it comes to the environment, it really is the lowest rung of “3Rs” ladder. At the top is good ol’ “reduce”, as in reduce the amount of waste we produce, as in…hmmm…if only I had a good example of waste reduction. Wait…I know…imagine you’re throwing this party and, to impress your guests, you decided to build an artificial lake (just a made up example here, folks). And just say you build said fake lake using FSC certified wood, 100% PVC free post-consumer plastic, solar powered tools and fill it with fair trade water…heck, you even donate the loyalty points from putting the $650,000 tab on your credit card to the TGH & TWH and PMH Foundations. Now, one could argue that this would be a green lake, a pinnacle of our greening potential. Or one could say that the greener, waste reducing option would have been to not build the lake in the first place, spend a little more to get organic beverages and make a nice donation to the PMH and TGH & TWH Foundations. But enough of these hypothetical examples…GOLLY GEE – 20 WASTE REDUCTION IDEAS FOR UHN
(okay, only seven ideas, but then the pun wouldn’t work)

● Let’s see…10,000 or so UHNers times one cup of fair trade coffee/tea/soy beverage per day times 230 or so working days per year equals 2.3 million cups!!! That’s a lot of waste, be they recycled (which we can now do in our “cans & bottles” bins) or sitting in a landfill for the next couple of generations. Not to mention that collectively we could save nearly $250,000 from travel mug discounts (cheques can be made out to Energy & Environment…or, of course, the TGH & TWH and PMH Foundations).

● Print? Not! 46 million sheets of paper a year at UHN can’t be wrong, can they?

● Before you toss that extra furniture or those unwanted office supplies in the trash, post them on UHN’s Virtual Swap Room (http://142.224.24.146:8080/~discussion/guests), and try to find them a new home.

● What to get that person who has everything? Give them the gift of “nothing” with tribute cards from our PMH (www.pmhf.ca) or TGH & TWH (www.tgwhf.ca) Foundations.

● BYORWB – Bring Your Own Refillable Water Bottle, that is.

● Before you buy offices supplies or furniture, visit UHN’s Virtual Swap Room (http://142.224.24.146:8080/~discussion/guests) first.

● Picture this. You arrive home after another satisfying day of providing patient and planet centred care. It’s the end of the week, so you decide to live a little and order a pizza…the usual, local organic goat cheese, fresh rosemary from the proprietor’s garden and all the free range anchovies one could legally hope to have. The pie arrives, and you dig in…picking off and eating the anchovies and eventually throwing the rest into your green bin. What’s wrong with this picture (and no, it’s not that rosemary and goats don’t mix)? Of course, it’s the waste. And yet, we at Energy & Environment hear the occasional story of people having to open up pre-packaged medical supply kits to only use one or two items, with the rest ending up in the trash. Well, not that we really want to hear such stories, but we want to hear such stories from you…let us know if this has happened to you and we’ll see if we can do something about it.

● Have I mentioned the TGH & TWH and PMH Foundations yet?

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