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Emergency Medicine Goes Green

In 2021 the Department of Emergency Medicine made a commitment to begin to address the environmental impact of the organization. Starting slowly, and with an easy win, we searched for a solution to the endless cups of coffee served within the department. The department supplies Keurig and Nespresso pods to faculty, residents and staff to ensure people remain well-caffeinated (and happy). However, it was noted that the coffee pods are a major pollutant and end up in our landfills. To address this we introduced a Nespresso Red Bag and K-Cycle recycling program. Both of these programs work very similarly. Once the user has brewed their coffee the pod is placed into the recycling container, and when full, this container is returned to the company to be recycled appropriately. In 2021 we kept 750 K-Cups and 195 Nespresso pods out of our landfill.

We have also switched our cutlery and coffee to-go cups to a compostable brand called ‘Perk’. This solution helps keep single use plastic use to a minimum. While we encourage faculty and staff to use our reusable items on site sometimes it is necessary to have some grab and go supply around! Our goal is to make it the least damaging to the planet as possible.

As part of our weekly departmental newsletter we introduced a Green News section. Here readers find ways to reduce their own waste, are introduced to new green products, and encouraged to find replacements for disposable or single use products both at home and in the workplace.

As we go forward, we will be implementing even more ways to reduce waste. We understand there are lots more areas to improve, and will keep striving to improve year over year. We are creating a dashboard to help us track our progress on reducing our waste.

Stay Green!

Catie Hannaford

Welcome to the Terracycle Zero Waste Box.  You fill this box with candy wrappers, chip bags, cookie wrappers, and all sizes of snack bags. Once the box is full it is sent back to the company and the items will be recycled.





“You can never have enough house plants,” says Oliver Heath, who runs a sustainable architecture practice. Certain plants are best for certain rooms: “Mother-in-law’s tongue gives off oxygen at night, which makes it best suited to the bedroom.” According to Chillingsworth, peace lilies and boston ferns thrive in rooms with high humidity and can reduce the mould spores in the air, making them ideal for bathrooms; weeping figs have been found to be the best plant for removing formaldehyde released from carpets and furniture, making them good for living areas.

Buy local flowers – or grow your own

About 90% of the flowers sold through florists, supermarkets and wholesalers are imported, mainly from the Netherlands, but they are also flown in from countries as far away as Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Reduce your floral air miles and find a local supplier near you.  Alternatively you can  grow your own flowers to bring indoors.

Encourage your honey bees.  We all know they are dying off, so plant flowers that they feed off to help keep them alive.

The basic rule is that the more vegetation you have, the more carbon you are storing.” So the fuller the planting in your garden, the better, even if it verges on overgrown. Don’t be too tidy, either. “Log piles also lock up carbon for as long as it takes them to decay, which can be many years.”


Giveaway day occurs 4 times through the course of Spring- Fall. Giveaway Days are when you put items you no longer want out at the curb for someone who might like them. This can include: Books, furniture, electronics, construction materials, dishes and other items. Items that don’t get taken need to be back inside by 6:00 p.m. on the giveaway day. You can often find people posting these items on Facebook Marketplace.
To learn more check out the City of Kingston website: