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Help to start your recycling project at work

Help to start your recycling project at work

Rachel McConville, Waste Education Officer at the 2019 ANMF Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Are you frustrated because everyone is putting the wrong things in the recycling bin at work? Or do you want to introduce a new recycling stream to your ward, but you don’t know where to start?

The Department of Health and Human Services will be hosting free, one-day workshops to help you introduce new or improved recycling collections in your hospital or health service. The Waste Workshop initiative is supported by Sustainability Victoria and the ANMF (Vic Branch), which strongly supports action to alleviate climate change and efforts to improve our environment.

The aim of the workshops is to help you understand what is needed for an effective recycling system in your workplace, and how you can put together an action plan for a recycling program or improve the existing one.

Waste management is a huge issue in hospitals, and while the operators may have overarching programs for their sites, sometimes small changes or improvements can make big differences. But implementing such changes can be challenging and, occasionally, bureaucratic.

Nurses and midwives who have a worthwhile, practical and achievable recycling proposal should consider attending these workshops. Professional facilitators, sustainability officers from various hospitals, clinical staff and DHHS’s waste education officer will advise who to approach to start a program, and how to sell the idea.

Participants will gain insights into preparing business cases for recycling programs, and learn some practical tips from fellow nurses, doctors and environmental services staff who have tackled the same issue.

Dates and locations for the workshops are:

Location Date Times Registrations close
Sale Wednesday 17 July 10am – 3pm Wednesday 10th July
Bendigo Tuesday 23 July 10am – 3pm Tuesday 16th July
Wangaratta Tuesday 30 July 10.30am – 3.30pm Tuesday 23rd July
Ballarat Tuesday 6 August 10am – 3pm Tuesday 30th July
Warrnambool Wednesday 7 August 9am – 2pm Wednesday 31st July
Melbourne Tuesday 13 August 10am – 3pm FULL

The Melbourne workshop is full. If more than 10 teams register for the wait list DHHS will investigate hosting an additional workshop. Nurses and midwives can register a team for the wait list by emailing with:

  • the name of at least one other person who will be attending with you
  • one (two maximum) waste streams that you would like to improve OR introduce on you ward
  • confirmation that you have discussed the workshop and the waste stream(s) you want to tackle with your NUM and waste/environmental manager.

Before applying to participate, consider the recycling stream or issue you want to tackle so that the workshop can be tailored to suit your needs. For example, it might focus on contamination of recycling bins, or you want to start collecting ‘Little Blue Towels’ or begin a PVC collection.

Participants are also encouraged to discuss the proposal first with your nurse unit manager, environmental officer or waste manager. That is because in some regional areas it is not possible to collect certain recycling streams due to the high cost of transporting recyclables to proper processing facilities. Support from your nurse or midwife unit manager, waste manager or environmental officer will guide you.