June 3, 2021

World Environment Day: Small changes, big impact

Increasingly hospitals are recognising the interaction between health care and environmental degradation and are attempting to break it.

This starts with an awareness around the ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ of a hospital i.e. energy, water and consumables go in, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste come out.

The waste coming out of a hospital has impacts on the air, water and land and this, in turn, has impacts on public health, leading to increased health care provision requirements. The cycle goes on.

Reducing the environmental impact our operational activities have on the environment can increase staff morale and ultimately contribute to the health of our community.

Since July last year, Northern Health has recycled 321 kilograms fluorescent tubes, 5,742 kilograms  wooden pallets, (320 actual pallets), 300 kilograms toners, 3,325 kilograms mattresses (119 actual mattresses), 848 kilograms of  PVC, 850 kilograms of Kimguard, 9,409 kilograms of organics, 26,300 kilograms of metal and 16,088 kilograms of e-waste.

Sandra Molinaro, Manager Support Services at Northern Health, says, “To date, this financial year, we are tracking at 37.5 per cent recycling. Northern Health has already diverted 63,683 kilograms from landfill, which is almost double from the previous year. We have had a cost saving of $30,000. In the 2019/20 financial year, we saved $15,000.”

“This has resulted in Northern Health diverting 45 large skips of waste away from landfill and the waste either recycled, donated or repurposed.”

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June and encourages worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.

Northern Health is asking our staff to pledge their support and commitment to minimising waste for at least one day. This can be done by changing your own bin or, better yet, taking your waste home with you, bringing in a reusable coffee mug and remembering to turn off lights and computer when not in use.

Says Sandra, “These small changes can have a big impact!”

Featured image shows Sandra Molinaro with polystyrene boxes awaiting recycling.