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PHC Recycling Champion

Recycling Champion:     Kay McQueen
Health Organization:     Providence Health Care
Facility:                           St. Paul’s Hospital
Position:                          RD, Healthy Heart Program
Date Interviewed:           Tuesday, Feb 7th, 2017

As a Green+Leader and Recycling Champion, Kay McQueen is a strong advocate for environmental practices in her department.


Q.  What inspired you to become a recycling champion?

I’ve always thought it’s important for everyone to do their bit [for the environment]. And about 5 years ago, that’s exactly what I did after winning the draw for an Ipad by filling out the You and the Environment Survey. I felt that as a winner, I should give back. So I signed up for the Green+Leaders program, and became a Recycling Champion as part of that role.

Q. What does waste reduction in the Healthy Heart department look like?

We have recycling bins throughout the Healthy Heart Program. Most have blue bins at their desk. Many staff have their own coffee mugs and in fact a few years ago all staff were provided with their own mug as part of a Healthy Heart Program anniversary celebration. Our patients in the Cardiac Rehab program are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to their exercise classes and the Healthy Heart Helpers (the Volunteers provide water bottles to patients when needed and requested).

Q.  What has been your biggest challenge yet?

I think what I sometimes find difficult is that I feel like I am nagging. I find myself removing garbage from the blue bins and taking recycling out of the garbage.  I have put up signage about what goes in the blue bins. I encourage double sided photocopying and paperless meetings.  Sometimes it works other times not. We have a busy clinic with a large number of patients that come through the program.  Not everyone may be familiar with our recycling program.  But I appreciate that it is important to respect where everyone is coming from.  Sometimes “life” and “work” is busy and hectic and we don’t have time to do everything. Important to focus on the positive!

Q. What are your future goals as a recycling champion?            

Over the next year, I would like to dedicate more time to the Green+Leaders events as this is where my inspiration comes from. The leaders are amazing and all have their reasons for doing what they do. It is great to hear their stories. Maybe my story can inspire others too.

Q. Do you have any words of advice for your colleagues?

Do your bit.  The little things matter (carrying your own mug, turning off the lights, unplugging your phone recharger cord when finished and turning off your computer monitor at the end of the day). Take one less car trip per week, ride your bike, take the bus, start a carpool. It is all a step in the right direction and it matters. One change can lead to another.

Q. How do green behaviours such as recycling affect patient care?

As a dietitian in the Healthy Heart Program, I counsel and educate patients and their families about heart healthy eating. One aspect of the diet is to encourage patients to consume a vegetarian meal that includes plant based proteins such as legumes at least once per week. This type of eating is good not only for health but for the health of the planet. Every little bit helps.