Despite what the forecast and your own freezing face may tell you, it’s SPRINGTIME! With that comes some of our favorite holidays at Talkin’ Trash … Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! And EarthDay! … the latter’s a holiday that celebrates what every person, panda and petunia has in common. And by taking care of the earth, we, our children and our children’s children can continue to enjoy the good things like those yummy grilled cheese sandwiches (nice when it comes full circle).


Like me, this holiday began way back in the 70’s … groovy! As UHN is so absolutely huge, like 6 million sqft, we need a week to cover it.

What’s happening this year? We asked the UHN Green Team what they wanted to do. Many felt that there’s way too much misinformation out there, so this year’s Earth Week focus is GREEN-MYTH-BUSTING! The green team will go to a different UHN location each day and bust some eco-myths. There will even be some sweet prizes you can win for playing.

Here’s where and when to find us:

  • Toronto Rehab Institute-University Centre Lobby Mon Apr 20, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – Atrium Lobby Tues Apr 21, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Toronto General Hospital – Munk Lobby near Starbucks Wed Apr 22, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Toronto Western Hospital -Lobby near Shoppers Drug Mart Thur Apr 23, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Toronto Rehab Institute-Bickle Centre Lobby Fri Apr 24, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Toronto Rehab Institute-Lyndhurst Centre Lobby Mon Apr 27, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

And you lucky blog-readers you … here’s your very own cheat-sheet with the answers. Check out some of the myths below and see them crumble under the truth. Feel free to add your own in the comments, facebook or tweet us at #GreenMythBusting.

Idling saves fuel Idling for anything over 10 seconds wastes more fuel than shutting off and restarting you vehicle
Leaving a light on uses less energy than turning it off, then on again ALWAYS turn off lights when you’re last to leave the room. there is no significant power draw from turning on a light. Even if you’re only gone a short while, you save much more energy, especially by making this a habit.
I can’t bring my reusable food container to the food court. Bring it! It’s especially good to reuse instead of wasting single use items like Styrofoam. Most vendors will work with you on this, and some will even give you a discount.
I can’t bring my own mug to get coffee or tea. Lug that Mug! You will usually get a discount from 5 – 25 cents a cup. Reuse is even better than Recycling. Many UHN vendors will love you for it.
Turning off my computer doesn’t make a difference given the scale of UHN. Everything makes a difference. Getting and staying in the habit of turning off all excess energy will save tons over your lifetime. Even better, encourage your colleagues for double or quintuple the impact.
Green’ choices are painful and expensive. While some greener options may cost more, others e.g. turning out lights, using water-saving faucets, eco-programming the thermostat, and enjoying your leftovers all  save both kinds of green – planet and profit!
It takes a lot of time to be green Nope. You can build easy green habits at work and home that become second nature. It can be as simple as learning which bins to use for your common things and then using them.
You can always trust labels like “natural” on products. Beware of “GreenWashing” – when a product claims to be good for the environment when it is not e.g. organic cigarettes. Not all labels are regulated. Research is key!
I can only recycle cans and bottles There’s a lot more that can be recycled – paper, cardboard, metal glass, plastic and many containers. Get to know your plastics, look for signs and look for labels.
I don’t compost because it might stink and attract bugs If done correctly, composting does not smell any more than your regular garbage. A proper bin, regularly changed will get food waste, napkins, tissues, paper towels and garden waste back into the soil instead of clogging up landfill.
Don’t adjust your thermostat. It takes more energy bringing the space back up to temperature than you saved. Definitely no. Use your thermostat well and it will save you plenty in the end. Set it warmer in summer (saves AC), cooler in winter (saves heat), and program it to save every day when you are out of the house or sleeping.
Bigger cars get better fuel efficiency on the highway. Rental car companies often make this claim No. Fuel efficiency specs from government testing by Natural Resources Canada prove smaller is better. Drive the smallest car you can. Even better? Walk, take the TTC or bike as much as you can.
Recycling does not make a difference Recycling’s been a successful program at UHN for years. We recycle well over a third of our waste. With help, it could be half.
I’m the only one who cares about being green Join the Green Team! There are almost 700 staff at UHN that volunteer a little time to help their areas get greener
I’d like to be greener at work, but don’t know where to look. UHN has something for you … The Energy & Environment Department, happy to chat about all your eco-curious questions. Try our intranet page, our Talkin’ Trash blog/twitter/facebook, our energyandenvironment @ email or give us a call 14-5130.
I’d like to cycle to work, but there’s nowhere safe to store my bike. UHN has over 1000 bike parking spots available for staff. Look on the intranet page for more  There’s even a map of shower & locker facilities so your colleagues like your bike ride as much as you do.

Looking forward to seeing you this Earth Week and beyond!