Thirteen-point-three kilograms. More weight than you’d want to be schlepping around unnecessarily, but not an awe inspiring number. Even less inspiring when, as a recent article revealed, it’s the average amount of waste produced during a total knee replacement surgery…a small price to pay for the ability to be able to schlep stuff around pain free.

But wait…multiply that by all the total knee replacements done in Canada each year and suddenly you have over 335,000 kilograms of waste…now you have my attention.

Fortunately, the same group that weighed in on this study is helping reduce the amount of waste generated in the operating room though Operation Green. Started by students in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in London, Ontario, Operation Green collects items that have been prepared for surgery but remain unused at the end of the procedure; in the past where these items, such as gloves and sutures, have been discarded, they are now packaged and sent to developing and resource poor regions.

Even better, the work of the Operation Green volunteers (yes, these are med students taking the time from their busy schooling to volunteer) is spreading and we are thrilled to have our very own Operation Green team of University of Toronto med students at work at UHN. With several shipments already sent from Toronto Western Hospital, and Kim, Alison and Sheron turning their focus to the Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals, it’s another great example of how greening helps more than the environment…not to mention, a weight off our shoulders (and knees).