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In 2009, UHN's Energy and Environment Department continued the process of implementing its strategic plan started in October 2008. The strategy builds upon the notion of creating an environmental ethic at UHN, with key initiatives designed to enhance the support and leadership provided by the Energy and Environment Department.

 

UHN green enviroment logo imageBiomedical Waste Program

A significant risk for UHN is the potential for cross contamination between biomedical and other waste streams, which poses a health and safety risk to patients, staff and visitors and could potentially lead to large fines and operating cost increases for the Hospital.

 

Highlights in 2009:

  • A successful trial of reusable sharps containers at TWH.
  • A decrease in the number of biomedical waste incidents reported per tonne of biomedical waste disposedat TGH and PMH between 2008 and 2009, with a large increase at TWH over the same time period.

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Key areas of focus for 2010:

  • Anticipated roll-out of reusable sharps containers at TWH with possible expansion to include TGH and PMH.

 

Chemical Handling and Disposal Program

The main concerns surrounding the use of chemicals throughout UHN are the potential for occupational exposure as well as the environmental and human health effects of disposal and emissions.

 

Highlights in 2009:

  • Approval for the roll-out of new procedures to better capture pharmaceutical waste at the patient bedside.

 

Elimination of mercury containing reagents used by the Laboratory Medicine Program.

  • An increase in the amount of chemical waste disposed of at TWH, with a decrease at TGH and PMH.

 

Key areas of focus for 2010:

  • Implementation of new procedures to better capture pharmaceutical waste generated at the patient bedside;

  • Continuing to investigate and implement the use of third-party ecocertified cleaning and maintenance products;
  • On-going monitoring and preparation to ensure compliance with the City of Toronto's Environmental Reporting and Disclosure bylaw.

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Energy and Water Conservation Program

The consumption of energy and water by UHN continues to have the largest direct environmental impact of all of the Hospital's activities — over 66,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents were emitted as a result of the UHN's energy consumption during 2009, significantly more than the approximately 3,600 metric tonnes of non-hazardous waste disposed over the same period.

 

Highlights in 2009:

  • On-going development and implementation of the TLC – Care to Conserve energy management program, with estimated energy savings of approximately 17,700 and associated cost avoidance of $175,000.
  • Implementation of several energy efficiency initiatives, including installation of a new chiller at PMH with anticipated utility cost avoidance of over $600,000 per year.
  • Decreases at TWH and PMH in the energy use index between 2008 and 2009, with an increase at TGH over the same period.

 

Key areas of focus for 2010:

  • Continuing the TLC – Care to Conserve project as a priority, particularly for the energy and cost saving potential it presents;
  • On-going investigation, development and implementation of specific energy saving opportunities by the site Energy Teams;
  • Ensuring that the determination of impact on utility consumption and budgets is incorporated into capital and redevelopment projects in order to correct baselines and allow budgets to be adjusted accordingly.

 

Waste Reduction and Recycling Program
With almost 22,000 pounds of nonhazardous waste being generated each day by the University Health Network throughout 2009, the cumulative effect on the environment is significant.

 

Highlights in 2009:

  • Third-party waste audits that indicated between 55 per cent and 70 per cent of waste being sent to landfill by UHN is recyclable under existing hospital programs.
  • Increased recycling rates at all three hospitals.

 

Key areas of focus for 2010:

  • Replacing Styrofoam cups used on inpatient areas with alternatives having a lower impact on the environment;
  • Continued monitoring and potential expansion of the composting program;
  • Increased focus and awareness around "reduce" and "reuse" opportunities as an alternative to recycling;
  • Ongoing communication and education on recycling of non-hazardous waste, with an emphasis placed on areas with poor waste segregation.​
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