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VCH Recycling Champion: Nadia Chowdhury

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Recycling Champion: Nadia Chowdhury
Health Authority: Vancouver Coastal Health
Facility: VGH
Position: Registered Nurse – Emergency Department
Date interviewed: Friday, February 26, 2016

Nadia is responsible for initiating the update to the recycling stations in the VGH ED. She saw an opportunity for improvement and proactively decided to do something about it.

Q. What inspired you to become a Recycling Champion?

“Recycling is something that is important to me. It is a habit that I have practiced throughout my life. Especially in the hospital, it is unsettling how much waste we produce.”

Q. What do you enjoy most about being a Recycling Champion?

“Seeing the changes that can be created with small actions. Just by labeling the bins, moving a couple of them around, adding lids … these are simple things that make it easier to practice recycling.”

Q. What do you consider successful?

“My idea of success is waste reduction in general. Success is when we increase our recycling practices and improving our recycling numbers.”

Q. Why was it important to update the recycling stations in the ED?

“I think that in Vancouver our culture is more eco-aware. Recycling should be standard in the department. People are aware and care about the environment, and this should be reflected in all areas.”

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

“Recycling improves morale; it makes people feel good. And that improves attitude and morale in the workplace, which helps us treat our patients better. It also makes us aware of the waste that we are creating — how many supplies we are using. This can lead to waste reduction, which saves the department money and reduces the amounts of supplies we use. When we use fewer supplies, it means that we have a cleaner working area, which directly affects patient care. Reducing our supply use improves efficiency.”

Q. What are your future goals as a Recycling Champion?

“We’ve done a little bit in terms of the bins, but it’s still in a ‘trial’ phase; even though I can see an improvement. It’s all about ergonomics — better placement to help make recycling second nature. But I think we can go further. It may be a little idealistic, but ideally I’d like to see an organics bin in the staffing lounge.”

Q. Any final words of advice?

“Be more aware. Be conscious of your daily habits.”