The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council awarded Saskatoon Health Region a Corporate Leadership Award earlier in the spring. The Health Region is the only one in the province with a separate sustainability department. In 2007, Saskatoon Health Region became the first health region in the prairie provinces to recycle materials from patient care areas. In 2009, the Region recycled 281,000 kg of fibre, glass, metals, and plastic and that program has since expanded to include more facilities.

(left to right) Rachelle Verret Morphy, SaskPower; Jocelyn Orb, Manager, Sustainability Department,  Saskatoon Health Region; Nilesh Kavia, VP Finance and Corporate Services;  Ken Cheveldayoff, Saskatchewan Minister of Environment.

(left to right) Rachelle Verret Morphy, SaskPower; Jocelyn Orb, Manager, Sustainability Department,
Saskatoon Health Region; Nilesh Kavia, VP Finance and Corporate Services;
Ken Cheveldayoff, Saskatchewan Minister of Environment.

Much of the recycling is generated in acute care areas and it is a credit to the staff that they recycle in such high-stress environments. Saskatoon Health Region also diverts medical equipment and unused supplies through charitable reuse initiatives. In partnership with Canada Food for the Hungry, the Region kept more than 1,000 hospital beds out of landfill by sending them to hospitals in Africa. Unused dressings, bandages, drapes and gowns also are sent to African hospitals that desperately need them.

“Given the pressures in our patient care areas and budget challenges, its often easy to let our obligation to reduce waste slide both in terms of our energy consumption and waste to the landfill,” says Nilesh Kavia, Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services. “Yet health care, with its large footprint, is a significant contributor to environmental waste. I just wanted to proudly recognize (sustainability manager) Jocelyn Orb and the many point of care and housekeeping staff for their effort to help us minimize waste everyday. While we have only scratched the surface, its great to be recognized for taking steps forward.”