When Providence supported a funding opportunity for staff environmental sustainability projects, the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital suggested a glove recycling pilot program using the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box program.
Green+Leader Jodi Shad identified an opportunity to reduce glove waste in the lab and took action! Traditional hospital recycling programs do not accept nitrile and latex gloves, which means this high-volume item usually ends up in landfill where it takes decades to break down.
The Zero Waste Box program collects used, non-hazardous gloves for recycling. From March to September 2020, approximately 7,140 nitrile and latex gloves were recycled through the pilot program.
The Transfusion Medicine Laboratory was a suitable pilot location for this program because the majority of gloves are not exposed to hazardous or biomedical material and are therefore eligible for recycling.
The lab is also almost entirely separate from adjacent labs, making the Zero Waste Box secure from potential cross contamination by staff working in other labs.
The program is simple to run, requiring only a budget and a system of accountability to bring the full Zero Waste Box to the loading dock for pickup.
Gloves collected through the program are aggregated at a TerraCycle sorting facility and then sent for processing, where they are pelletized and moulded into new plastic products. Most recycled gloves are used in construction as insulation, or as rubber flooring in gyms and community centres
To learn more about how you can take action for sustainability at Providence, visit the refreshed GreenCare website. You’ll find stories, resources and ways to take action for sustainability at Providence and beyond.