Hospital Gets Recycling Grant

Monday, April 8, 2013

Source: Kristie Pearce, Windsor Star

A University of Windsor student's waste reduction and recycling plan will make Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital "a provincial leader" when it comes to reducing hospital solid waste.

Hotel-Dieu received a $300,000 provincial grant Friday thanks to Taylor Purdy, 23, a master's student in environmental engineering, who has worked with HDGH's environmental services team since last spring.

"It feels really good to know that you can be doing something that can make a difference in such a big institution," Purdy said about the funding announcement made Friday at HDGH. "Once everyone gets on board and everyone gets going with the initiative, we're going to make a huge difference in our landfill waste."

Purdy's plan was one of five selected from more than 50 applications to the Ontario Hospital Association's Green Hospital Champion Fund, which is funded by the OntarioBuys program - a government initiative launched in 2004 to help the broader public sector save money when procuring goods and services.

Pat Campbell, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the green fund was designed to encourage hospitals to "generate green solutions," which could help other hospitals and also save money.

Purdy's reduction plan estimates a five-to seven-year payback projected to save HDGH more than $100,000 a year.

After analyzing how HDGH deals with waste, Purdy created several initiatives, including eliminating the use of Styrofoam in the hospital and implementing bedpan cleaning machines, which will save nurses from washing the plastic bedpans by hand or throwing them in the garbage due to time constraints.

The hospital will also eventually switch from chemical cleaners to an aqueous ozone cleaning solution - a more environmentally friendly option.

Purdy said they have already started using two composting machines, which can break down 500 pounds of food waste a day.

"That's 83 tons a year diverted from a landfill," Purdy said. "The food waste goes in and the machine runs for 15 hours overnight. In the morning we have organic fertilizer."

Purdy said that fertilizer is being donated to Food Matters Windsor-Essex County, an organization focused on educating the community about healthy and safe food in Windsor-Essex.

Campbell said the project will not only be beneficial for HDGH but for other hospitals to emulate.

"These kinds of programs really say something important about how hospitals are a part of their community," she said.