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Zero Waste & Toxicity

Zero Waste

Health care is a material intensive industry that requires the use and generation of some hazardous waste and garbage in order to provide the best care possible.  Aligning with regional Zero Waste initiatives, we have set health care appropriate waste diversion targets for construction and demolition, as well as facility operations. Achieving our targets is about responsible waste management practices, as well as increasing opportunities for the recycling, reuse, reprocessing, reduction and elimination of materials through changes to operational processes and environmentally preferable procurement of building materials, patient care equipment and supplies.


Chemicals are a part of health care. They are used in construction and maintenance, building materials and furnishings, for cleaning and disinfection, in the treatment of our patients, and end up in our waste. That’s why it’s important that we work towards reducing and eliminating staff, patient and visitor exposure to harmful chemicals by improving chemical purchases, management, use and disposal practices. Achieving safer chemical practices is about developing chemical inventories and monitoring use, as well as, moving towards environmentally preferable procurement of building materials, patient care equipment and supplies.

Note: Toxicity work that will evolve as chemical inventories are developed, baselines set, and work with PHSA Supply Chain supports the inclusion of environmental questionnaires in processes.

Current Projects and Initiatives

> The Cafeteria Waste Campaign

Minimize waste generated and toxic chemicals used by the health care system and supporting operations
  • Increase waste diversion rates at existing acute and residential care sites to 50% by 2020

  • Decrease waste intensity rates at existing acute and residential care sites by 2020:

Fraser Health Authority: 15 kg/sqm
Providence Health Care: 12 kg/sqm
Provincial Health Services Authority: 5 kg/sqm
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority: 10 kg/sqm

  • Increase waste diversion rates in all new health care construction projects to 90% by 2020

Priority actions 

a.     Staff engagement with the blue bin recycling program

b.     Waste reduction conversations with front line staff

c.     Integrating zero waste and toxicity criteria into our purchases: i.e. less packaging, recyclable content, recyclable products, safer chemicals

Key Partnerships: BISS, PHSA Supply Chain, LMFM, SSMs, Houskeeping Managers. External: Metro Vancouver

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