Waste Reduction Week (WRW) … a Canada-wide event reminding us to practice them there 3R’s. For the second year running, we threw down the green gauntlet with an inter-hospital challenge. Staff at UHN, Sunnybrook, Sinai and SickKids competed to get the most staff playing the WRW quiz (teaching and reinforcing good habits while we played, natch). Since these organizations vary in size, the winning location just had to have the greatest participation rate. That way it’s apples to apples, not watermelons to grapes.

So what happened? Last year, we had over 1000 entries across all sites … not too shabby. Though UHN had a great showing, our friends at Sinai Health System took the top prize. This year, we were determined to get a hold of that Trash-free Trophy, that Stein of Sustainability, that Ruler of all Reusable Mugs.

For 2 weeks, green team champs, front line staff and senior management at all 4 organizations went overdrive in eco-engagement. At just shy of 2,000, we doubled last year! The best part? With 1,145 participants from UHN (10% of FT & PT staff), Ed and I were honoured to take home the ultimate prize on behalf of UHN!

2017-11-09-winning photo
L-R: Craig Urekar & Elisabeth Perlikowski (SickKids), Francesca Fabry & Tracey Clatworthy (Sinai), Lisa Vanlint & Ed Rubinstein (UHN).
Participation rate by organization (Total participants by site divided by FT & PT staffing.)

But this goes beyond trophies and (reusable) cups. We got a little insight about ourselves. The average individual score across all sites was 79%, meaning people are pretty good at reducing, reusing and recycling. Yes, yes, people who think green were more likely to take the quiz, so there’s a skew. Even so, some scores were better than others.

People scored high at recycling (93%). They did really well with reusable food containers (96%) and reusable bags (92%), but not quite as high for reusable mugs (73%). With the amount of coffee we all drink, and that there’s discounts for lugging a mug, that’s a great place to look. They were good at composting at home (83%), but only some had the option of a green bin at work (48%). A rind is a terrible thing to waste (sorry, not sorry).

When it went beyond the bluebox, they were great at recycling batteries (89%). There’s some room for improvement to take spent CFL’s and fluorescent lights to hazardous waste depots (54%), or take old medication back to the pharmacy (58%).

These babies need to go to Household Hazardous Waste depots (click pic for locations)

This year has been a treat as we found a lot of competition not only between organizations, but between sites in the same one. With that, some special mention to the UHN sites that really made it their business to participate. The highest hospital site rate goes to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (11%). The highest for Toronto Rehab Institute goes to University Centre (18%). The greatest participation at UHN overall goes to Michener Institute with a whopping 54%!

Everyone, everywhere wins when we take these lessons to heart. And now for the lighter side with some Jazz Hands…


and can-can kicks…


Now I need a coffee … where’s that mug?