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Developing a Data-Driven Baseline of Waste Diversion in Health Care

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While health-care facilities capture data from the garbage, recycling, and organics waste streams, other waste streams that have been recycled independently at each site have not been tracked.

To acquire a full picture of the waste diversion, a comprehensive and accurate analysis of all waste streams at each site is fundamental. To address this issue, this project aimed to understand the recycling process and collect data on 13 waste streams at four acute health care sites: Vancouver General Hospital, Richmond Hospital, UBC Hospital, and St. Paul’s Hospital.

The 13 waste streams include:

  • Batteries
  • Reprocessed medical devices
  • Styrofoam
  • Shrink wrap
  • Construction waste
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
  • Mattresses
  • Paint cans
  • Pallets
  • Printer cartridge
  • Scrap metal

The data collection of each waste stream focused on the quantity being recycled each year, the frequency of pick-ups, and the contact information of the vendor. Moreover, this report will explain the feasibility of continuing to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all waste streams for other sites in the Lower Mainland, describe the challenges and barriers of quantifying the yearly mass of each waste stream, and provide suggestions for new recycling programs targeting these waste streams.