You know the saying “time flies by when you’re having fun”? Well that has never been more accurate than with my last eight months here at UHN working with the Energy and Environment team! These last eight months provided me with such an array of different experiences that not only challenged me but have left me feeling accomplished.
Operation Green is one of the projects that definitely challenged me but more importantly it made me proud of the UHN donors who continued to collect medical supplies for countries in need. For my first seven months in the Sustainability Coordinator position, I was fairly certain that because of COVID-19 I would not have the opportunity to run an Operation Green collection. So, for those months, my role in the program primarily pertained to continuing communication with our donors and Not Just Tourists (NJT) who take the donations and distribute them.
Well, in my last month I was able to participate in one of the largest Operation Green collections to date! With over 12 skids of boxes, collections at all three hospitals, and a total of 169 boxes, we were able to divert approximately 450 pounds of medical supplies from the landfills! Not only were we diverting waste but with the help of NJT, we were able to provide the supplies by air freight to Haiti during their current time of crisis.
If you are looking to donate medical supplies, we collect from Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Princess Margaret hospitals monthly! Email us at email@example.com to learn more and get involved in such an impactful program.
Even though my term started and ended virtually, there were always opportunities to promote sustainability. One of these opportunities was designing an infographic for our -80°C freezers located in our research towers. The purpose of the infographic being to persuade those in the labs to switch their energy hog freezers (require a lot of energy to run) for energy efficient freezers. I determined that if we were to switch all our energy hog freezers within research for a more energy efficient alternative , we would be able to power 85 homes with the amount of energy we saved! Thats a lot of energy…
The infographic also provides six practices for not only freezer maintenance but also sample maintenance. By engaging in these six practices, labs will extend their sample’s shelf life as well as their freezers. If you are interested in a deeper explanation of these practices, be sure to check out on of my previous blog posts, Keeping Your Freezers Maintained So They Won’t Warm the Planet and keep your eye out for the infographic on your freezer!
As COVID-19 prevented a lot of our favourite events from happening, I was glad that I was still able to participate in Earth Month by designing your Earth Month BINGO cards! The game provided UHN staff with 14 climate actions they could take part in throughout the month of April to do their part to curve their environmental footprint. Over 100 employees participated, leading to about 15 new Green Team members! Being able to provide something fun while being educational really made this event feel special.
The most memorable part of this job was being able to share and grow my knowledge through the projects, programs, and educational sessions. Through providing labs within the research towers an education session about proper sorting rules, I was able to pass on my knowledge and hopefully inspire others.
I’ve had such an amazing experience and am so grateful for all the incredible people I’ve met along the way. I’m excited to see what the next co-op student Warren can accomplish as I wish him luck over the next eight months. Hopefully he will be able to expand on all the wonderful sustainability initiatives as more people return on-site!