Going Green: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Embraces Waste Reduction
by Maryanne Matthews
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has been focusing on the three Rs in order to become more environmentally friendly.
Leading the charge is Randy Mehagan, Manager of Housekeeping, who firmly believes that the Hospital has an environmental responsibility to the community. “First and foremost, we are here for the health and well-being of our patients and their families, which means taking care of the environment that they live in,” he said. “Although being green can be a challenge at times, we do it for the benefit of future generations. As an organization and as a community, we have to do whatever we can do to reduce waste.”
The Hospital’s quest to go green really took off in 1992, when Mehagan helped form the ZWATeam (Zero Waste Action Team) in Thunder Bay. This initiative focused on developing programs within our Hospital that revolved around the three Rs, with the ultimate goal of sending zero waste to landfill. While there is still progress to be made, the three Rs program helped divert 353,000 kilograms, or 29% of waste from landfill in 2016.
Recently, the Hospital has also become an electronic waste collection depot. Electronic waste from the Hospital is sent for disposal through the Ontario Electronic Stewardship Program, which then provides a monetary refund. Since starting the program in July 2016, over 11,200 kilograms of electronic waste has been recycled by the Hospital.
In 2015, the Hospital was honoured with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Environmental Stewardship Award. The award is presented to the organization that best exemplifies environmentally sustainable operations through their normal course of business and in day-to-day operations.
“Achieving ‘green’ status is definitely a group effort,” said Mehagan. “The ideas may have stemmed from me, but it was the Hospital team that made it work and together we continue to make progress. Everyone deserves recognition for the efforts they are putting forward for the environment.”