Pen Recycling Program Started by Young Brothers Picks Up Momentum
This week, Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital joined a growing number of hospitals participating in Operation EcoPen, an effort to collect and recycle used pens, pencils, highlighters and markers. The young brains behind this operation, Derek, and Luke Nguyen (shown left), are sons of Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen, Staff Gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai. The brothers, aged 12 and 10, came up with this idea while on their summer vacation last year, after seeing their mother recycle her old pens. “Most people just throw away their old pens,” notes Luke. “But we aim to make Sinai Health System and the planet a lot greener by simply recycling old pens,” explains Derek. EcoPen collection boxes are located on top of confidential shredding bins by the Murray Street elevators. Pens are then recycled by TerraCycle, who also donates two cents per pen to Earth Day Canada. Operation EcoPen will be launching at Bridgepoint shortly.

To learn more about Operation EcoPen and how you can bring it to your facility, visit their Facebook page or email  operationecopen@gmail.com. Accepted items are shown below. 
Heat and health: Doctors taking the pulse of the planet on climate change.  Climate change is a threat to the health of people, not just polar bears. And the way shifting climatic patterns are affecting the environment is not a theoretical, faraway threat; it is causing real, measurable harm. Those are the overarching messages from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (MSCCH), a group representing 11 large medical societies and more than 400,000 U.S. physicians. With its new report, entitled Medical Alert! Climate Change Is Harming Our Health, the consortium hopes that the high level of trust people place in their physicians will translate into the public taking the threat of climate change more seriously. Read more.
Vinyl Building Products Drive Asbestos Use In USANew research from the Healthy Building Network (HBN) documents how vinyl building products, also known as PVC or polyvinylchloride plastic, are the number one driver of asbestos use in the US. These findings were presented to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week in a technical report written by HBN Research Director Jim Vallette on behalf of three public health groups. The groups, which represent more than 450 organizations nationwide, submitted  comments urging the US EPA to adopt new rules to phase out asbestos under the 2016 amendments to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Read more.

Hospitals save millions with sustainability programs, cut back on waste. Hospitals are the second greatest commercial energy user behind commercial food services, according to advocacy group Practice Greenhealth, emitting roughly 8 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. They also produce more than 4.67 million tons of waste every year and use 7 percent of the country's commercial water supply.

"The operating rooms have a huge environmental footprint. They use 30 percent of the supplies for the entire hospital," said, Cecilia Lynn, director of sector performance and recognition for Practice Greenhealth. Fluid management programs, reformulation of operating room kits and unused tools, medical device reprocessing and HVAC setbacks for when ORs aren't in use can save $25,000 annually for just one operating room. The average hospital has 11. Read more.

New England Ambassadors Foster Community Access to Sustainably Produced Foods. On January 30th, the New England Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) team gathered at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to meet the new class of HFHC Ambassadors. This meeting marked the kick-off of a second, yearlong effort to support dedicated professionals interested in increasing their institutions’ engagement in healthy and sustainable food systems. Using their unique perspective and experience, ambassadors will carry out projects focused on increasing engagement in and/or institutional support in the following areas:
  • Reduce amount of meat served at facility;
  • Increase the amount of sustainably-raised meat served at facility;
  • Increase local food procurement at facility;
  • Foster cross-departmental connections related to healthy food access (community benefits, employee wellness, food services, etc.); and
  • Engage facility in a community food initiative.
  • Participants also pledge to share their projects through conference presentations, grand rounds, or organizing a meeting or webinar.
Learn more about Healthy Food in Health Care.
Events and Announcements
Implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change
In December 2016, the Prime Minister and Premiers announced a national plan to grow the economy, meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, and adapt to a changing climate: the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. We know the Framework includes plans to price carbon, phase out coal-fired plants, grow the clean tech sector, and increase the supply of renewable energy, but how will Canada turn these commitments into action? Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson will discuss key components of the framework, progress, and what Canadians can expect on climate action.

When: Tuesday, March 28 from 12:30-1:30 PM
Where: Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre at 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

OHHA 6th Annual Conference and Trade Show
Nursing Hero Awards
Have you been inspired, encouraged or empowered by an employee or a colleague? Have you or your loved one been touched by the care and compassion of an outstanding nurse? Do you know a nurse who has gone above and beyond the call of duty?  

Hospital News will once again salute nursing heroes through its annual National Nursing Week (May 8th to 14th) contest. Nominations can be submitted by patients or patient family members, colleagues or managers. Please submit by April 7th and make sure that your entry contains the following information:
  • Full name of the nurse
  • Facility where he/she worked at the time
  • Your contact information
  • Your nursing hero story
Please email submissions to  editor@hospitalnews.com or mail to: Hospital News, 610 Applewood Crescent, Suite 401, Vaughan, ON, L4K 0E3. If you do not receive confirmation within 24 hours of emailing your nomination, please follow up at  editor@hospitalnews.com or by telephone  905.532.2600 x2234.

Canadian Nursing Students’ Association Launches New Environmental Stewardship Award
The Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) is pleased to announce the launch of its new Environmental Stewardship Award worth $750. This is an opportunity for a Canadian nursing student to be honoured for the advocacy work they have done in promoting environmental stewardship practice as related to their education, practice and future profession.

Interested applicants must submit an essay (maximum 500 words) on why they are deserving of this award, an explanation of their work, and attach a maximum of two supporting documents (fliers, leaflets, etc), that may aid the committee in their decision. All applicants and support materials should be sent to: awards@cnsa.ca no later than March 31, 2017. More info at http://cnsa.ca/awards/.


Registration for CleanMed 2017 Now Open
Anchoring Healthy Communities
May 16-18, 2017
Minneapolis, Minnesota

This year, CleanMed will introduce “Mind Meetings” through the CleanMed mobile app. Attendees can download the app and connect in 10-minute rapid-fire meetings on the expo floor with other attendees, speakers, coaches, staff, and others they may want to chat with. More information will be at   www.cleanmed.org closer to the conference date.  

Make sure to secure your spot ASAP as there is a very limited housing block at the Hilton Minneapolis Downtown. To secure the special rate of $201 per night, visit  http://cleanmed.org/hotel/

National Health Leadership Conference
Value-based healthcare: Embracing a patient and family-centered approach 

June 12-13, 2017  
Vancouver, British Columbia
This conference is the largest national gathering of health system decision-makers in Canada including trustees, chief executive officers, directors, managers, department heads and other health leaders representing various sectors and professions in health regions, authorities and alliances, hospitals, long-term care organizations, public health agencies, community care, mental health and social services. As well, the conference draws participants from government, education and research organizations, professional associations, consulting firms and industry.


Do you have a story or photo for The Green Digest? Send to samantha@greenhealthcare.ca.