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Simple ideas to help you and your veterinary clinic become more eco-friendly

Posted in Guest Blogger @ May 23rd 2019 - By Dr Stephanie Stubbe, AniPal
Simple Ideas To Become More Eco Friendly

NEW Eco Ideas from AniPal - check out ideas 7 to 17 for more great ideas for your veterinary practice

A few weeks ago, we welcomed AniPal to the Vetanswers Community. Founded by veterinarian Dr Stephanie Stubbs, AniPal uses waste to create beautiful, recycled and sustainable dog collars and leads. Stephanie is passionate about reducing our impact on the environment, so I thought she would be the perfect person to share some tips on how everyone working in veterinary practice can encourage sustainable practices and also lower our environmental footprint.

We'll be adding to the list over time but these are a good place to start....

Starting with yourself...teach yourself some simple sustainable habits and your passion will grow from there. 

It's about developing a habit to think & act in a different way - a way that considers the larger environmental context. If you are already doing these things, please ensure you give yourself a pat on the back as we so often don't in our industry and we need to try and remember to do so!

1. Reusable drink bottle & coffee cup

An easy starting point and one we have all heard of a lot is to replace your drink bottle & coffee cup with a reusable alternative. I have simple aluminium drink bottles and a coffee travel mug I love to hike around with. Both were purchased on adventurous outdoor trips, so I feel I constantly have some outdoor fun that I carry with me throughout the hecticness of the days in the clinic.

2. Home composting

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the clinic but I can assure you it makes a big difference to your mentality, sense of homeliness and connects you to the interdependence that exists in nature. It is also fun and helps create enriching fertiliser for a thriving garden in your home or at the clinic.

3. Beeswax Wraps & Reusable Food Containers

Buy or make your own beeswax wraps or use reusable containers at home to store goodies in the fridge. The beeswax wraps are actually really fun to make yourself and take no time at all. Also having your fridge full of ordered containers makes you feel surprisingly organised (something I don't experience very often!)

Click here to find out How to use – and revive – beeswax wraps (SBS)

4. Buy a metal straw! Or one made from the wheat husks!

Here's a link to an Australian website Flora and Fauna that sells a range of straws online:

Clinic ideas... to become more eco-friendly.

1. Turn off the lights

Start turning the lights and computers off more regularly when you leave the house, a room or a clinic consult room. The more you do this, the more people in the clinic catch on. You can pop fun stickers next to light switches to remind people to switch them off.

2. Pet Food

Try feeding patients on tinned food rather than plastic pouches and recycle the tins once empty,

3. Ecobricks - a great way to make use of plastic waste

Try making ecobricks from plastic waste, like a number of clinics in the UK. Great fun and help prevent your plastic waste ending up straight in landfill.

Click here to read: Practice builds greener future with novel recycling scheme (Vet Times)

Click here to visit the Ecobricks website to find out more.

4. BD Emerald Syringes

Consider using BD Emerald syringes which are made from sustainably sourced plastic and use 30% less plastic than regular syringes.

5. Get rid of single-use plastic aprons

Do you use a single-use plastic apron to cover your clothes, scrubs or patient? Consider using a washable cover scrub top instead - there's a great range of colours, styles & prints available.

Check out the Veterinary Design Group in the Vetanswers Business Directory. They're Australian owned and design scrubs that are comfy, fashionable and practical. 

6. No more plastic cups, plates and utensils in the staff kitchen

Encourage staff to bring in disused mugs, glasses and utensils (nothing needs to match) for the staff kitchen instead of buying paper or plastic cups and utensils. For the waiting room, select biodegradable or recycled paper cups for drinking waste.


7. Consider joining TerraCycle for all your hard to recycle items, from plastic gloves to anaerobic adhesive packaging and safety equipment and protective gear. 

What is TerraCycle?

"TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the "non-recyclable." Whether it's coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. We partner with individual collectors such as yourself, as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries. With your help, we are able to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month."

Click here to visit the Terracycle website

8. Count the stars:

Install eco-friendly washing machines (ensure it’s also water efficient), dryers, and even the kitchen microwave. Remember, the more stars on an appliance, the more energy efficient it is. This can also be very money wise!

9.Gauge the air:

Air-conditioning and heating are required for the team’s, clients’ and animals’ comfort, but is a massive consumer of energy. Consider having by the temperature controls saying ‘Summer temp set 23°C; winter temp set 19°C’

10. Use kinder cleaning products:

As with any veterinary clinic, it is extremely important to create a pristine environment, and this means using cleaning products that are safe around people and animals but can kill unwanted pathogens. Switch to products that don’t contain dangerous and damaging disinfectants, such as sodium hypochlorite, and are biodegradable.

11. Go for green lights:

Consider LED lights, which can reduce wasted energy by up to 90 per cent and energy consumption by up to 70 per cent, according to Renewable Energy Australia. They also don’t contain hazardous chemicals or gases, or produce ultra-violet (UV) radiation.

12. Talk to the big guns:

Get in touch with government organisations, such as the NSW Energy Saving Scheme, or the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, to undertake or pay for energy efficiency programs within your business. You’ll not only save a stack of money, but you could reduce greenhouse gas emissions enormously. They can also do the same for your own home! These insights and help are incredible.

13. Walk the talk:

Stock green pet products, including toys, leads and collars made from recycled and eco-friendly materials, biodegradable pet waste bags, and so on.

14. Consider the furniture:

Aim for recycled wood, recycled plastic and natural fibres—this includes the animal beds! It can be done and looks and feels great!

15. Park the printer:

Lean towards electronic monitoring and scanning, which allows for better tracking of patient visits, payments and medical records without even considering the environmental benefits. Pads and tablets are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and have already paid for themselves in saved staff time, reduced paper consumption, and printing costs.

16. Info sessions:

Conduct a fun and interactive info session at the your clinic to brainstorm with your staff about sustainability practices you can adopt. Consider nominating a sustainability rep from your team, to help introduce and implement these practices. 

17. Get social:

Use the internet and social media (such as Facebook) for marketing your clinic and advertising any offers, instead of printing flyers and brochures.


More ideas to come....

Do you have any suggestions on how to more environmentally friendly at work and at home? Add your suggestion on the Comments section below and we can add them to the list. 



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