by Jessica He,

opGreen-Jennifer and Jessica
OpGreen transition team-Jennifer and Jessica

I’ve had the fortune of being the Operation Green coordinator for this year, a great program where medical students gather surplus medical supplies to donate to people and places in need. As I transition the role to our new coordinator, Jennifer Tang, I figure I’d share the top 4 things I’ve learned during my time.

Surplus medical supplies do save lives.  While surplus medical supplies can seem like a hassle to those who work in the hospital (storage woes, disposal fees), hearing the stories of people who have gone to Cuba, Dominican Republic and Honduras with donated medical supplies makes all the difference.

No donation is too small.  On occasion I’ve gone to departments around UHN to do smaller pickups.  The donors are often apologetic or embarrassed at their small donations.  My response is always a resounding “don’t be!”.  Any size donation makes a difference, both its diversion from landfill, and its use in patient care around the world.

No one does it alone!  This year could not have been successful without the work and dedication of our lovely friends at Not Just Tourists!  Every Wednesday evening, volunteers sort through all the donated medical supplies and pack them into suitcases to send abroad.  If you’re travelling and are willing to take a suitcase of medical supplies, email

Anyone can make a difference!  The TGH Transplant team on 7A shows us how easy it is: as simple as spreading the word and setting up a box in your department for excess medical supplies.  Just let us know where your box is and we’ll come by during each of our scheduled pick ups!

Op Green bin 7A
Bin in 7A

If you’re interested in donating your surplus medical supplies, or have any questions in general, send us an email at

Operation Green is a student-run initiative that reduces the environmental impact of the healthcare field while increasing global social responsibility. With the support of dedicated UHN staff, medical students from the University of Toronto collect unused medical supplies and donate them to communities in need around the world.