With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to take a look at how you can make your practice more eco-friendly. A green office is achievable, and there are many simple steps you can take to improve the sustainability of your business. The old “three R’s” — Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — become even more relevant when they are implemented on the scale of a busy practice. Here are five great tips for making your office a little greener.
Cut down on chemicals
- Switch to steam-based sterilization units.
- Find eco-friendly replacements for cleaning supplies. Green Seal, a non-profit, independent organization, certifies products according to rigorous environmental standards.
Reduce paper in the office
The amount of paper used in the daily operations of a practice can be truly mind-boggling. Finding ways to cut back isn’t just great for the environment, it can also make life a lot easier for everyone in the office. Technology has made it easier than ever to reduce the amount of paper in your practice. Just a few ideas:
- Sign up for email and online versions of publications.
- Set your printer to double-sided printing.
- Look into an electronic health records (EHR) system.
- Order your medical and office supplies online instead of faxing.
Look for energy savings
Saving energy is good for the environment and good for your budget. You can join the government’s ENERGY STAR small business program for free advice, technical support and more green business ideas.
- Replace all incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights for an instant 75% energy savings.
- Set your thermostat to turn off at night and on weekends.
- Upgrade old electronic equipment to newer, more-efficient models.
Offer a safe medicine disposal program
Many patients don’t understand how to dispose of unused medicines in a way that’s safe for them and for the environment. The FDA has a great list of guidelines about safe medicine disposal which you can share with your patients, but you can go a step further by telling them to bring all unused medication into the office. It’s a great added value for your patients, and you can be sure that the medication is disposed of properly.
Encourage green transportation
Reducing fossil fuel use is one of the most pressing environmental priorities we have, so make it easy for your employees and your patients to choose environmentally friendly ways of getting to the office.
- Choose a location close to public transportation, and know the routes yourself so that you can educate patients about their choices.
- Provide bicycle stands and changing rooms to encourage staff to cycle to work.
Eco-friendliness and health are intrinsically intertwined, and as a healthcare professional, your choices have a big impact. Sustainable practices are easier to implement than you think, and small changes add up in a big way. Going green is important for the world we share, and it’s also attractive to patients who care about supporting eco-friendly businesses. Give them one more reason to choose your practice by making a point of caring for the environment.