Thanks for stopping to read! It’s easy to think that Green is just for aging hippies and the softies that adopt cats at animal rescues. But no! Green practices make practical business sense, too.

Earth-friendly attitudes are becoming more prevalent throughout our society. In fact, research tells us that all things being equal north of 70% of us would select a company that’s green over one that’s not. So, if you’re fixated on the bottom line, consider the lifetime revenue from one patient. Yep, it makes sense.

Other benefits might be less tangible, but just as important. You’ll strengthen the bond employees have with your practice, and your green initiatives will attract new hires. And you’ll feel great about reducing costs and making your piece of the planet a healthier member of the ecosystem.

If you or your employees aren’t on board with green thinking, start slow. It will grow on you. We promise. Here are some easy first steps:

Buy recycled paper products – paper towels, napkins, you name it. Yes, the toilet paper experience might be a tiny bit rougher, but you’ll feel a lot better about using it. Suffering is part of the whole experience.

Reduce reliance on paper products. Use real plates and silver instead of the paper version. Drink from glasses.

Recycle. Don’t push every worn-out object to the curb. Check with your local recycling company for guidelines on separating glass, metal and corrugated.

Select products that are recyclable. And make this factor a part of your purchasing decisions. For instance, is your exam chair made from “real” metal and wood, or is it mainly a plastic shell?

Lower paper use. Apologies to EHR, but paper will still be part of your practice for years to come. To reduce consumption and expense, start with the paper that’s coming out of your printer. Are your people using paper instead of email within the office? What about backup copies? You can further cut printer costs with refillable cartridges. This may be an expense center in your practice that you’ve never considered.

Stay green with your commercial printer. Business cards and brochures are still important marketing items. But, you can lower their impact by asking your designer or printer to include the following items in your paper specifications:

• 100% post-consumer waste (PCW), chlorine-free paper
• Use vegetable-based ink (soy ink) and 100% non-toxic toner.

This is not an uncommon request for commercial printers. You’ll still get beautiful, snow-white paper, and you can let your patients know by printing “Soy inks on 100% PCW” on all your print jobs.”

Will you sometimes pay more for eco-friendly products? Sometimes, but think back to patient zero above. It’s worth it.

You may wonder when it’s okay to stop being green. Well it’s not. If you made it this far, you’re hooked, and you can start looking at hundreds of other ways to help our environment and lower your expenses.

Resources

Creating a high-quality ophthalmic practice environment (Eyeworld)

Sustainable solutions focusing on a green future (AOA News)