The Green ‘n Healthy initiative at Rockyview General Hospital (RGH) is aimed at educating and encouraging frontline healthcare workers to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint, and to increase our environmental sustainability. The group managing Green ‘n Healthy focuses on a range of activities including:
Rockyview General Hospital is the first AHS site to participate in the Green Hospital Scorecard (GHS).
The GHS is managed by the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care which strives to positively influence the ecological impact of Canadian healthcare. The GHS program provides meaningful measures of hospital operations, management, and policy adoption in the energy and environment spheres.
Since 2019, RGH has collected and submitted data to the GHS for benchmarking against other Canadian and international hospitals. The GHS measures standards within ten categories.
In 2017, RGH replaced styrofoam cups and plates with a compostable equivalent and began collecting compostable food containers and food scraps from our kitchen and cafeteria for composting. Each year RGH disposes of approximately 300,000lbs of compostable waste.
All organics, whether disposed of in the landfill or compost, will decompose. The difference is the time it takes and the type of greenhouse gas that is produced. When organics break down in the landfill, where there is little to no oxygen, methane gas is produced. In contrast, composting uses oxygen and produces CO2 as a byproduct. Some greenhouse gases have more heat holding capability in the atmosphere than others. Methane can hold 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Unless the landfill captures all of the methane released, and most don’t, it will always be better for the planet to compost organics.
Efforts continue to expand the collection of compostable waste at RGH with additional green waste (compost) bins throughout public hallways and in our inpatient departments.
RGH has partnered with Stryker to support responsible environmental sustainability and stewardship.
In September 2020, RGH became the first hospital in Alberta to recycle certain single use medical devices thereby diverting single use devices from going directly into general or biohazard waste.
These devices are collected by Stryker, reprocessed, and sold at a reduced rate – contributing to a circular economy and environmental sustainability without compromising quality or safety. On average, this results in 216 kg of RGH waste being diverted from our local landfill each month.
Stryker’s Products for the Planet program provides hospitals the opportunity to contribute to forest restoration by achieving annual collection goals for single-use devices. By way of RGH’s recent efforts, an average of 150 trees are planted annually.
RGH supports environmentally preferable purchasing and use of less-toxic, lower impact or local materials. RGH switched to Accel Prevention wipes and solution for cleaning hard surfaces and floors. Environmental benefits include decreased toxicity, no required PPE, increased microbial coverage and product/equipment compatibility. This change resulted in an approximate cost savings of approximately $67,000 annually.
Waste Reduction Week focuses on the principles of circular economy, resource efficiency and waste reduction. The program began in Ontario in the mid-1980s and has grown in support across Canada. Waste Reduction Week takes place the third week of October every year.
RGH is a proud supporter of environmental efforts and innovative ideas and solutions. During Waste Reduction Week, RGH celebrates the improvements and accomplishments the site has made over the past year through educational displays that showcase our achievements and efforts to staff, physicians, patients and visitors.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd. Since 1970, events are held globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Canada is one of 193 countries in the Earthy Day network.
Climate change is a complex challenge that can seem overwhelming, but the solutions don’t have to be. Collectively, we can all contribute and together make a difference. RGH is proud to observe Earth Day and encourages and challenges our staff to make improvements to make our site greener. Watch for site communications and a display at RGH April 22nd of each year.