Ahead of the (Green) Game – BRHS Recycles Four Tons of E-Waste a Year Before State Mandate

BRHS’ Shane Elmore, co-founder of the Green Team. Photos: Jake Lynch/BRHS

 

Did you know that the amount of electronic waste, or e-waste, we produce is growing three times faster than the amount of standard municipal waste?

E-waste is any item with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted.

You’ve probably heard by now that as of July 1 you won’t be able to put any e-waste into your rubbish bin.

“The motivation was pretty simple. We were looking at all this stuff and we just thought ‘why are we throwing all this in the bin?’”

It’s part of a new effort by the Victorian Government to reduce the amount of e-waste going into our landfill, because it contains many potentially hazardous and valuable materials.

Instead, you’ll have to take it to an e-waste recycling facility.

For many organisations, the new regulation to require e-waste recycling is causing a quick adjustment to their waste management system.

But at BRHS, we’re already there.

Driven by an Environmental Services team firmly focused on pursuing innovation and sustainability improvements across the hospital, BRHS began recycling all e-waste a full 12 months ago, well ahead of any state requirement.

According to Environmental Services team member Shane Elmore, in that time we have recycled about four tons of e-waste, rather than send it to the landfill.

Environmental Services has recycled more than 400 kg of batteries in the past 18 months.

“The motivation was pretty simple,” he says. “We were looking at all this stuff and we just thought ‘why are we throwing all this in the bin?’”

Instead they started collecting e-waste separately and sending it to Tip Shop, a non-profit community recycling service at Forge Creek.

“Making the change hasn’t required any new infrastructure or equipment or anything like that,” Shane says. “It’s just awareness – of what waste to put where – and a little bit of extra labour. But we’re finding that staff at BRHS are more than happy to take that extra step if it reduces our impact on the environment.”

Shane, who studied Environmental Sciences, Conservation and Land Management at Swinburne University of Technology, is one of the spearheads of a coordinated push behind sustainability initiatives at BRHS, which is being supported and encouraged by leaders across the service.

Last year he founded, along with Dialysis Nurse Lisa Anderson, the BRHS Green Team, which meets regularly to identify things the hospital can do to reduce our environmental footprint.

Already the Green Team has helped spur several reuse and recycling initiatives, including of batteries, food waste and medical equipment.

And next month the BRHS kitchen, led by Green Team member Cam Penwill, will switch to biodegradable food containers.

To get involved with the Green Team, or just to learn more, contact Shane Elmore at shane.elmore@brhs.com.au or Lisa Anderson at lisa.anderson@brhs.com.au.

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