Student plan wins funding for Hotel-Dieu Grace environment-saving initiative

Environmental engineering Master’s student Taylor Purdy was honoured Friday at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital for her efforts to help the hospital significantly reduce its environmental footprint and save thousands of dollars in annual operating costs.

The hospital received funding through the Ontario Hospital Association’s Green Hospital Champion Fund thanks to the efforts of Purdy, who has been part of its Environmental Services team since 2012. The student, whose graduate work is being supervised by professor Edwin Tam, developed a business case for the funding that included analysis of how the hospital currently deals with waste, and what can be done to reduce waste and their associated costs in the future.

Dr. Tam said he was amazed by Purdy’s work.

“Taylor brings a fresh perspective on how to accomplish environmental objectives under challenging circumstances,” he said. “I am extremely proud to be her advisor—she brings an incredible amount of enthusiasm and commitment to her work, and she epitomizes the term ‘initiative’!”

Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza, Ontario Hospital Association president Pat Campbell and Michele Legere, coordinator of Food Matters Windsor-Essex, were on hand at the event to talk about the importance of the initiatives, which among other things, include the recycling of sterile instrument wrap and the elimination of all Styrofoam packaging use. As well, the project will include installation of new industrial composters to convert organic waste from food into fertilizer overnight, thus diverting 83 tonnes of food waste from landfill annually.