Kim-Chi
Tran

Project: MUST: Multi-Use Storage Technologies

I am a Toronto-based surgeon, wife and mother of two, passionate about leaving a better world for our future generations.  I grew up in Mississauga, completed my undergraduate training at the University of Toronto, and my medical training at Western University.   I am the co-founder  and co-chair of Green is Health, a climate and health focused physician interest group through the Ontario Medical Association. I have also helped to create a Green Team at the Scarborough Health Network, which aims to adopt environmentally-friendly practices within our hospital setting.  Through my experience with climate-related initiatives, I am trying to create more sustainable communities and influence greener practices.

PROJECT

MUST (Multi-Use Storage Technologies) is an easy and convenient way for businesses (ex. restaurant, bulk produce shops) to track their containers through our third-party labelling system. We will provide businesses with easy-stick, durable labels for their reusable containers. The choice of container itself, is completely up to the business’ discretion. When scanned, these labels will match their own personal database. The business will have full control of the data entry (ex. Type of food within the container, nutritional information, deposit amount, restaurant name, number of uses for the container etc). This system will allow for the return of containers to be transferable, similar to the successful Beer Store deposit system. We hope that in this way, we will make it convenient for restaurants and stores to have a deposit system as we move toward a more circular and sustainable economy. Customers and businesses alike will be able to track the amount of times a container is reused, providing them with feedback about container durability, as well as their direct impact on decreasing local waste. Once the container reaches its end of life, the business could return the container to the original manufacturer for reuse of its components (depending on manufacturer policy of course!). This project aims to reduce plastic waste, decrease emissions from the creation and transport of disposable containers, and most importantly - make our takeout guilt-free!

During the pandemic we saw how  much the world shifted, and unfortunately this shift included a lot of increased waste. We were torn between wanting to support local restaurants, but also between the copious amount of plastic waste that resulted from this. The news cycle reflected this, bringing to our attention that only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, and the rest conveyed to landfill waste.  As my family’s personal focus turned to the reuse and upcycling of items, we started to brainstorm how restaurants and industry could likewise reuse items. With the announcement of the upcoming federal Plastics Ban, we thought that our invention would be timely and useful.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I strongly believe that we owe it to our collective children and future generations to mitigate the effects of climate change. In my profession, the oath that we swear is to “do no harm”.  As a physician I can see the impact that climate change is already taking upon the health and well being of others - be it my own family, or patients who I treat.  It is with urgency that I feel that we must, and can do better.

Find out more:
Website