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World Environment Day 2018: How we can improve our waste

World Environment Day 2018: How we can improve our waste

Many ANMF (Vic Branch) members are concerned about promoting environmentally sustainable practices in their workplaces as demonstrated by 600 attendees at the April 2018 Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference.

World Environment Day, held on 5 June, is a platform that can be drawn upon to support sustainable culture both at work and home. Here are two actions members can take to start making a difference.

1. Participate in the waste education in healthcare survey

One of the Branch’s achievements has been the creation of a Waste Education Officer role within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to deliver education initiatives that will increase resource recovery and reduce waste generation.

In order to deliver an effective program, the new officer, Rachel McConville, would like to know your experiences of waste management and recycling.

Members are encouraged to contribute through the ‘waste education in healthcare’ survey by Thursday 31 May. All responses are anonymous and it should take 10 minutes to complete. The survey should have already been distributed through your health service.

Waste audits, data analysis and site visits are also currently underway to assess waste types and levels of generation within health sector services.

Findings from the survey, audits and site visits will be used to identify key issues that will be targeted by the program.

If you have any questions, email Rachel or phone 03 9096 2343.

2. Take the pledge to reduce your plastic waste and encourage your colleagues to join you

This year’s World Environment Day theme, ‘Beat plastic pollution’ is timely, considering the ABC’s War on Waste and the Victorian government review into single use plastic bags, with supermarkets committing to stop using single-use plastic bags from 1 July.

ANMF’s new building has a 5 Green Star rating and now officials and staff are pledging to commit to at least one behaviour change, and we’d like members to join in.  Pledges include:

  • Using reusable drink containers, e.g. water bottles, Keep cups or a thermos. Keep cups are available at a discount to ANMF members through our online shop.
  • Supporting places that are participating in the ‘responsible café’ movement.
  • Bringing reusable containers for take away or try to dine-in so you are eating with reusable cutlery and crockery, or bring your own containers if you need to take away.
  • Using cloth shopping bags – especially if made out of an upcycled tee shirt.
  • Refusing plastic cutlery or straws when in a café and bring your own reusable.
  • Refusing face scrubs and lotions with plastic microbeads.
  • Investing in a stainless steel refillable razor.
  • Buying refillable pens.
  • Switching from disposable nappies to cloth.
  • Using reusable wraps or aluminium foil instead of plastic wrap for food.
  • Shopping at bulk ingredient shops and co-ops and bring your own containers.
  • Using natural cleaners wherever possible e.g. baking soda and vinegar to cut down on plastic containers.
  • Buy recycled toilet paper that is paper wrapped not plastic wrapped.
  • Using matches instead of plastic lighters.
  • Buying laundry detergent in boxes rather than plastic packed liquid.

We would love to hear and promote what your workplace is doing for World Environment Day.

Email the ANMF (Vic) Environmental Health Officer Ros Morgan or post on the Green Nurses and Midwives Facebook group.