When we talk trash, we’re talking about how to reduce and divert waste from landfills. In the last year, we successfully diverted over 330,000 kg from our general waste.

Nothing to Waste

In 2023 we released our new reduce, reuse, recycle procedure to create accountability within LifeLabs and drive the mindset – “Nothing to Waste”. This was accompanied by some successful initiatives to lead the charge in reducing our waste:

  • Biohazardous waste consolidation (6000 annual waste pickups and 50,000 km driven eliminated)
  • Battery recycling expansion (collection increased to national level)
  • National waste tracking from over 420 locations
  • Gel pack donations and enhanced donation program
  • Elimination of single use plastics in accordance with federal regulations
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recycling pilot
  • Pilot initiatives to explore where multi-use items can be applied over single-use items (where safe, sanitary, and purposeful)
  • Annual waste audit and engagement exercise
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Overall Metrics


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National Waste Tracking

Understanding our waste footprint is integral to knowing what our environmental footprint looks like as a whole, and to see the big picture of the waste we generate from each site nationally. Altogether, this knowledge allows us to identify opportunities for improvement. We know that some sites perform well and segregate waste into many streams offered by municipalities, whereas others have room to grow to get to the same point. Regardless, when we understand the unique challenges between our sites, where they are located, and which local waste industries support them, helps our sites learn from each other and improve our waste management.

Gel Pack Donations and Enhanced Donation Program

LifeLabs is always determined to find more sustainable options to deal with our waste. Does this always start with recycling? No! Where we can, we start with reduction and reuse where this is plausible. For instance, LifeLabs’ Materials and Environmental Sustainability teams were determined to find a more sustainable solution for our freezable gel packs that we receive with supplies and packaging.

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By donating these sanitary gel packs to food banks and food services companies that require temperature control, an astonishing 11.7 tonnes of what would be LifeLabs’ general waste is diverted each year.

Annual Waste Audit and Engagement Exercise

We have found that sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty to keep our environment clean. In 2017, we launched an annual waste audit initiative. Our Environment and Sustainability team, along with a handful of dedicated employees, sort materials into different waste streams, such as non-recyclables, plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, and organics.

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We then investigate the contents of each of our streams (including visual examination of our biohazardous waste stream – our rather large environmental culprit). The result…take away lessons for our janitorial contractors, waste haulers, and our internal staff, on how to better sort waste, reduce our waste footprint, and stay engaged as healthcare workers but also environmental champions.