Busy As Bees for Sustainability

Patients from West Park’s Recreation Therapy were busy as bees leading up to the holidays, working away in their workshop to make specialty gifts that give back.

Introducing their creations at the West Park Holiday Market on Dec. 12, Recreation Therapy sold handmade beeswax food wraps along with handcrafted gemstone bracelets, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the West Park Foundation.

“Our patients were adamant about wanting all of the money made from the sale to go to the Foundation,” says Naomi Max, a recreation therapy assistant, who says the patients wanted to use their Helping Hands program budget towards the cost of materials to accomplish their fundraising efforts.

The project was decided upon back in September, and patients were working almost every week to achieve their goal of making at least 100 beeswax food wraps. The extensive process included cutting up fabric – which took three weeks alone – smashing pine nuts to create resin, melting the ingredients, coating the fabric, and baking and drying the fabric.

The food wraps are 100 per cent organic, food safe, and environmentally friendly, consisting only of fabric, organic beeswax, organic pine resin, and organic jojoba oil. The food wraps were available in various sizes, colours and patterns, with each sheet selling for $5 or three sheets for $12.

The gift that keeps on giving, the food wraps should last up to a year, with the donated cost going much further towards the new hospital build. Gemstone bracelets, made from high-quality stones and beads, varied in price – depending on the beads used – from $10 to $20. They also included messages of motivation and aspiration, each one a unique representation of the patient who made it. 

Life is Better at the Lake…

Kendra Rainford, September 16, 2019

Hats off to our Environmental Committee as they helped clean up Sunnyside Beach on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The external event facilitated by Parley for the Oceans, is one of the 50 beach clean-ups happening coast to coast throughout the summer. Alongside dozens of other community members, a group from our very own Environmental Committee spent the morning retrieving everything from beads of Styrofoam scattered in the sand, to plastic straws and bottle caps lodged in driftwood. The plastic retrieved from the now-much-cleaner shoreline has been given a second chance to be upcycled and (more importantly) kept out of our beautiful Lake Ontario.

Kudos to West Park Environmental Committee members Clara Phillips, Jay Vagh and John Richmond for their participation. Thank you for making a difference!

Recreation Therapy is Helping West Park to Keep it GREEN!

Mark Palmer, August 7, 2019

View this story and more at westpark.org.

Recreation Therapy has been making a conscious effort to monitor the resources used during programs to ensure the department is operating in an environmentally responsible manner. “We are all conscious of environmentally sustainable operations,” says Naomi Max, Environmental Committee member and Recreation Therapy Assistant. “Over the last few months the Recreation Therapy team has worked to reduce, reuse and recycle resources in programming in many creative ways to eliminate unnecessary waste” says Naomi.  

The most environmentally sustainable option is to reduce and reuse where possible. One resource all West Park team members are actively trying to use less of is: paper. The recreation therapy team significantly decreased their paper usage by reducing the amount of Program Calendars printed at the Centre. Formerly, 260 legal-sized Program Calendars were printed and distributed to clinical areas and patients each month. Now patients receive the calendar in an electronic format by e-mail and only one paper copy is distributed per unit. In addition to the positive environmental impact, the patient feedback was that the electronic text is much larger and more accessible to read for all.  

Recreation therapy is even greening the garden program with an in-house curricular economy supported by cross-programming. In the gardening program, patients grow vegetables and herbs on site. Later, they will be harvested and used for cooking programs in recreation therapy. “We grow everything, from cucumbers, to peppers and herbs!” says Naomi. This eliminates the need for vegetables to be transported or purchased for certain programs and reduces packaging purchased that comes with most grocery store veggies.  It doesn’t get fresher that that!

Pub night has even gone green! Pub night is a weekly social event enjoyed by many West Park patients but the Recreation team couldn’t help but notice how many styrofoam and plastic cups are being generated at each event. So the team made the switch to eco stripe compostable cups and ordered a composting bin to dispose of all waste generated in an environmentally responsible way.

In addition to these great greening strategies, Recreation Therapy is constantly monitoring their craft supply inventory to eliminate unnecessary purchases and reduce waste. One craft allowed West Park patients to unleash their inner artist while painting. Their canvas? Empty wine bottles from pub night!

In another program patients designed succulent terrariums. These low-maintenance terrarium arrangements are now used as beautiful living centerpieces at other Recreation Therapy events.

But the greening doesn’t stop there… this last green craft is sure to melt your dog-goneheart!

Recreation Therapy participates in a community program they call ‘Helping Hands’ where patients craft materials or items that can be used by those in need within our community. Using only a recent donation of clean mix-matched colorful socks, several yards of scrap material and of course, a lot of love – the West Park Recreation therapy team and patients are making hundreds of 100% recycled puppy and dog toys for all of our four-legged friends in need at the Toronto Humane Society. What a treat!

Pictured below are Naomi Max’s dogs, Cashew and Bam Bam, happily testing the product prototypes!

Please join the Environmental Committee in acknowledging the West Park Healthcare Centre Recreation Therapy team in their continuous effort and dedication to support Sustainable Healthcare Operations every day!

Does your department or program make efforts to keep it green during operations? Let us know! Email Kendra.rainford@westpark.org to share your tips and tricks with the Centre!

Help West Park Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles

Mark Palmer, July 29, 2019

View this story and more at westpark.org.

Did you know?

Less than 11% of plastic in Canada is recycled.

Approximately 90% of all plastic used in Canada finds its way to landfills, green spaces, communities and water posing threat to the environment. 

The Environmental Committee is currently reviewing all plastic waste being generated in the Centre and creating a plan of action to reduce, reuse and recycle anywhere possible! Stay tuned for more updates on exciting environmental projects taking place!

Helping to Eliminate Plastic!

West Park Healthcare Centre employees, physicians and volunteers are helping eliminate single-use plastics by committing to the use a reusable water bottle. On July 25 all were encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles to the  Environmental Committee display outside the Cafeteria to fill their reusable water bottle with free refreashments. As well, Cool straw was on location selling reusable stainless steel cups, water bottles and other eco-products to help eliminate single-use plastics.


References:

Environmental Defence Canada. Canada’s Plastic Problem. https://environmentaldefence.ca/canadas-plastic-pollution-problem/. 2019

Alliance for the Great Lakes. 5 Ways Plastic Pollutions is Different in the Great Lakes. https://greatlakes.org/2018/06/5-ways-plastic-pollution-is-different-in-the-great-lakes/.  2019

West Park Takes Action Against Plastic Pollution!

Plastic pollution has reached global crisis with devastating impact that spans the entire globe, including the Great Lakes.  It is believed that 80% of the litter in the Great Lakes is made of plastic. When plastic is disposed of, it does not decompose it only breaks apart into smaller pieces. These pieces are referred to as ‘micro-plastics’. These toxic micro-plastics litter the environment, including water systems and are often times consumed by aquatic life. In addition, chemicals leach from these same plastics and make their way into drinking water.

Less than 11% of plastic in Canada is recycled.  

Approximately 90% of all plastic used in Canada finds its way to landfills, green spaces, communities and water posing threat to the environment.

How Can You Help?

Make the decision to RECYCLE at work!

The West Park Sustainability program is in the process of implementing a Centre-wide recycling program on all in-patient units. There are now fully operational recycling programs 2EC and coming soon to other units!  As a result of the tremendous efforts of our Centre staff, volunteers and patients we are now capturing glass, plastic and cans generated in these areas and diverting them from landfills. 

The 3EA, 3EB and 3EC soiled utility room diversion systems have been updated with appropriate bins and signage. This is to ensure all items that are disposed of are leaving the building in the correct designated waste stream. The Sustainability program will also implement this program Centre-wide to promote environmentally safe diversion during operations.  

Our top purchased single-use plastics are being reviewed to see how we can safely reduce or eliminate them from operations. Stay tuned for exciting updates on these initiates in the near future.

Click here to try a Green Peace calculator that will ask you seven (7) quick questions to give you an idea on how much plastic you use in a year! You can also learn how you can reduce plastic usage at home.

We are all accountable for environmentally responsible operations.