The S.E.E.D. Initiative

A Recycling Win for the O.R.

A tray from the O.R., now being diverted from the landfills to be recycled!

A few months ago I was contacted by Sandie Kazmierczak, a Surgical Technician at UTMC and an avid recycler, about the need for #5 plastics recycling in the hospital. In the operating rooms there are a large number of saline bottles, water bottles, and blue plastic trays (about the size of cafeteria trays) that are thrown away on a daily basis.

I informed Sandie that our recycler takes all plastics #1-7 so we are able to recycle these items in the traditional blue recycling containers. Unfortunately, there were none in this area, only a small container in the recovery room. Sandie took the necessary steps to get permission from her manager and from environmental services to put recycling bins in the outpatient surgery area and the utility room. Christy Glenn of Environmental Services brought up the need for recycling in this area to the Director of Environmental Services, Arlene Fell, and both agreed there was a need for the containers. We placed some containers in those areas, and now, thanks to Sandie’s hardwork, we have recycled 560 trays, about 243 pounds, from April 5th to April 30th! And the count still continues!

She says, “[its] a good feeling to get them out of the landfill.” I just want to personally thank Sandie and Christy for their help increasing our waste diversion, a continuous goal of mine. It is people like you that make this University a better place for people and the planet!

If you know of more items on any of the campuses that are not currently being recycled but should be, reach out to SEED at

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is Brooke Mason, Sustainability Specialist for The University of Toledo, manages the Rocket Recycling program for over 100 buildings on three campuses with a staff of one non-student and six student employees. She is also responsible for the greenhouse gas inventory and the Climate Action Plan, which guide the University toward climate neutrality. Brooke is highly involved in sustainability education and outreach towards students including advising the Environmental Sustainability Living Learning Community, Society for Environmental Education, and UT’s Student Green Fund. She runs other student sustainability programs including Rockets Recycle: Green Tailgating, Friday Night Lights, RecycleMania, Campus Conservation Nationals, BlackoUT, and the Give & Go: Move Out program. Brooke has earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy & Sustainability Management from Bowling Green State University and is currently working on her Masters in Engineering at UT. She also sits on the Stewardship Committee for the Black Swamp Conservancy.
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About SEED

The University of Toledo’s SEED Initiative, housed within but not limited to Facilities & Construction, focuses on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design to ensure the University is operating in a manner that betters our neighbors, economy, and planet. Through environmental sustainability projects, energy conservation measures, innovative building renovation and design, and a comprehensive educational campaign, SEED commits itself to leaving behind a better planet than when we started.

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