The Australian healthcare industry, and healthcare industries around the world, generate a devastating amount of waste. For infection control reasons, single use items and a “disposable” mentality are the norm in healthcare. Recognising the impact every single small practice can have in this space, at Alana we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and have taken the following measures to actively participate in the War on Waste.
Since opening in 2007, while we have made a commitment to paperless practice, but paper “light” has been more the reality. We still receive and process a lot of paper. So, in our march towards paperless practice, here are some of the steps we take to reduce our paper consumption:
- Where practicality and privacy permits, we use every piece of paper twice (i.e. front and back), and then we either recycle it or dispose of it via our secure document destruction service
- Any paper we do buy is 100% recycled
- Where possible we use laminated forms instead of individual paper registration sheets and consent forms, which, after scanning, can be reused over and over again for multiple patients
- We have signed on to secure messaging for patient related correspondence, eliminating paper correspondence
- We use digital formats for office based correspondence including internet faxing
- We source toilet paper and tissues from Who Gives a Crap, which is made from 100% recycled paper and donates 50% of profits to building toilets for communities in need
We have the following recycling initiatives active in the practice:
- We recycle our printer cartridges through the Close the Loop Cartridges 4 Planet Ark initiative
- We recycle all soft plastics including Kimguard and any other clean sterile wrap
- We recycle our used clean wet/dry paper towel including bed rolls and hand towels
- We installed colour coded waste stream bins in central locations as well as creating sorted waste streams in consulting rooms, maximising the amount of waste headed to recycling and reducing the amount going to landfill
- More complicated waste streams (i.e. batteries, printer cartridges, chemicals, etc) are held and recycled through special collection services
- We use only rechargeable batteries
- We supply reusable coffee cups for all staff to use for their takeaway coffees
- We lobbied our local cafes to sign up for the Responsible Cafés initiative which aims at reducing the number of disposable coffee cups going into landfill
- We have migrated to a new online monthly back up system, eliminating disk, wrappers and postage
There’s still more to do!
While your safety is always our priority, these are just a few of the small things we can do to help minimise our environmental impact without compromising your care or safety in any way.