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The ‘Recycling Queen’ of the heart and lung lab is making science more sustainable
Celebrated annually on April 22, Earth Day raises awareness about environmental conservation and encourages people to be more environmentally conscious. To mark the day, we’re shining a spotlight on a St. Paul’s Hospital recycling champion.
The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) at St. Paul’s Hospital has been at the forefront of innovative heart and lung research for 40-plus years. More than 250 scientists and staff work together in the state-of-the-art laboratory to find solutions to heart, lung and critical care disease.
To generate life-saving discoveries, the lab – like any biomedical research lab – must also generate a certain amount of waste. But thanks to an active green team, HLI is finding ways to make science more sustainable.
Research associate Dr. Gurpreet Singhera – or the “Recycling Queen” as she is affectionately known by her colleagues – is a member of the Green+Leaders Network, a collection of volunteers working to improve the environmental performance of health care operations across the Lower Mainland.
“I’m a self-proclaimed recycling champion and am always looking for ways to keep the recycling program active and better at HLI. My colleagues at HLI have always supported me in doing so,” she says.
There are unique challenges that come with leading this work in a research lab since some items can’t be recycled. For example, the contents of biohazard sharp waste buckets – needles, syringes, blades and glass – get incinerated. But many other materials can find a new life and over the years Dr. Singhera has led a number of environmental initiatives and forged partnerships to help divert waste from the landfill.