In addition to today’s UHN Earth Day events, just in time for Earth Day, archeologists from Energy & Environment have uncovered a series of haikus etched into old hard drives and other electronic waste piled for recycling.  We are pleased to share some of the most interesting of the verses, along with an interpretation as to what the authors may have been thinking when they scratched these poems.

urine and feces

unless with visible blood

throw in normal waste

Interpretation:  Urine and feces can be icky (a technical term we use here in Energy & Environment) but they do not require special treatment for disposal, and should be thrown out in regular waste bins, not yellow or red bins.  Because of the ickiness, routine precautions should be taken and waste should be appropriately contained (e.g., sealed container, or tied bag, etc.) in respect for our Housekeepers.

the needle is sharp

waiting for you to forget

the sharps container

Interpretation:  We all know that needles, scalpel blades, exposed IV spikes and other sharps need to go into a sharps container, but we need to take extra care that these items are not inadvertently left on patient meal trays, sent to the lab with samples or placed in bins sent to CPD.

the light remains on

while the room remains empty

oh my, what a waste

Interpretation:  A single fluorescent tube left on 24/7 in a room that’s occupied only 12 hours a day will waste around $14 a year keeping an empty room lit.  Multiply that by the thousands of lights we have at UHN and…oh my, what a waste.

middle of the night

computer hums for no one

calculates its cost

Interpretation:  Having already made a case for turning-off lights in unoccupied rooms, the writer extends the energy efficiency scenario to include turning off non-sensitive computers and monitors which, with a conservative estimate, would save UHN around $85,000 per year.

would rather money

go to caring for patients

instead of hydro

Interpretation:  Hospitals are built to care for patients.  So it’s a really, really, really good thing if money spent by hospitals could be used for patient care instead of keeping empty rooms lit up and computers humming all night.

too hot or too cold?

no way to turn off lights?

we’re working on it

Interpretation:  UHN is already investing in making our buildings more efficient, with everything from the installation of LEDs lighting to commissioning our systems to allow better temperature control…but for UHN to be successful at saving energy, everybody needs to be involved

please be reminded

drugs can’t go with yellow waste

government says so

Interpretation:  Placing left over drugs in the garbage or down the sink is bad for the environment and, depending on the drug, may be illegal.  Placing drugs in yellow sharps containers or bags is always illegal.  If your department has drug waste and don’t have the white drug disposal bins readily available, please get in touch before the government does.  And if your department has cytotoxic waste, but not red bins labelled with the Cytotoxic symbol, please get in touch.


Happy Earth Day, UHN!