Time to throw down the reusable/recyclable gauntlet … October 17-23 marks Waste Reduction Week (WRW) across Canada! This year, we challenge ourselves and our fellow healthcare institutions to play the WRW Interhospital Challenge. Yes I’m looking at you, SickKids, Sinai Health System and of course, University Health Network … may the best institution win! And all you have to do is play the game.

And, if you’ve already played, a giant THANK YOU!

As we know, Ontario has a bit of a waste problem (a lot of other places do too, but lets look close to home). With people’s love for convenience, single-use products have been on the rise (think coffee pods and takeout containers) … and some of those products are meant for landfill only. To crunch some trashy numbers, Ontario threw out 12 million tonnes of stuff in 2014. Of that, less than 2.8 million was recycled or composted and over 9.2 million went to permanent landfill. That’s almost a tonne of waste per person per year … heavy (literally)! Imagine if we shrank our environmental/carbon footprints and saved resources recycling and composting more? Instead of cutting down a tree to make new paper and then filling landfill with all the old paper, think recycling paper to get new paper, with no waste at all. Much nicer!

Not that I’m a competitive person (unless you count Scrabble), but sometimes a little fire in the belly can bring out the best in us. Here, for sure, the more people that participate in WRW, the more waste reducing tricks we all get, and the more we put those great ideas into practice. Now that’s a win for everyone.

There’s another way to get extra credit…

Caught green-handed!

Send us a picture of you or a friend practicing the 3R’s. Email it to your site lead below.

Interested in bringing GREEN to your workplace?<br>   at UHN, contact energyandenvironment@uhn.ca<br>   at Sinai Health Systems, contact clatworthy@lunenfeld.ca <br>   at SickKids, contact kids.gogreen@sickkids.ca<br><br>Caught green-handed! Send us a picture of you or a friend practicing the 3R's. Email it to energyandenvironment@uhn.ca or your site lead above.

  • at UHN, contact energyandenvironment@uhn.ca
  • at Sinai Health Systems, contact clatworthy@lunenfeld.ca
  • at SickKids, contact kids.gogreen@sickkids.ca

You can also tweet to #WasteFreeUHN and (be sure to list your hospital site). Here’s a past example…


A wee history on the event from the Waste Reduction Week website:

Waste Reduction and Recycling Weeks in Canada started in the mid-1980s, when a number of recycling councils and environmental organizations began holding provincial events. In 2001 these organizations came together, joined their resources, and expanded efforts into a national event called Waste Reduction Week in Canada (WRW).

For 15 years, the program has been organized by a coalition of both government and not-for-profit environment groups from each of the 13 participating provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada.

So enjoy WRW #15, and don’t forget your mug.