Sustainable living is having a moment. An over $200 billion moment. Powerful consumers are calling for more supply chain transparency, eco-friendly products, and dedication to green living. How can your eyecare practice meet the demands of these consumers?
Besides stocking up on eco-friendly eyecare products, there are many ways you can promote a green earth through your processes and workflows in your practice. If you're going through the trouble of revolutionizing your methods, marketing for eco-friendly customers is also important. Read on to find environmentally conscious alternatives to your existing practices.
The best way to gain insight into the sustainability of your supply chain is transparency. If it's convenient, you could take a field trip to a nearby lens manufacturing plant with your staff to see what is used and what is wasted. Until then, we've got 5 steps to start building a more eco-friendly practice today.
Step 1: Reduce all paper
Replace disposable paper goods with reusable towels or wipes without compromising hygiene. Also, instead of dealing with piles of paperwork, have your patients complete the necessary forms on a tablet using your office wifi. This will reduce the time your staff spends inputting their data. Some electronic health record (EHR) platforms can be used on a tablet seamlessly, too. Going digital for all your patient reminders and communication can also ease your practice management efforts while reducing your carbon footprint.
Step 2: Conserve electricity
This goes for all establishments and homes, but make sure to keep your lights off and equipment unplugged when the office is closed. Especially if your practice isn't using in-house servers to store all your patient data, your devices probably don't need to stay plugged in and take up energy over the weekend. With the exception of equipment that conducts a hard reset when unplugged, you can easily plug most devices into a power strip and turn off the strip as part of your practice's lock-up procedure.
When it comes time to change your bulbs, choose the energy-efficient option that lasts longer. Although this process is hidden from your patients, you can create a visual tracker of energy saved month over month to display on a corkboard or whiteboard in your waiting area. After a month, you should even notice a smaller electricity bill, which reduces your overhead costs. Win-win!
Step 3: Reuse
Reusing the materials you have is a mentality your entire team has to train themselves to adopt. You receive products in boxes, so reuse those boxes for storage and shipping your own items. Set up a box for your patients to donate old frames, contact lens accessories, and sunglasses that are in modest conditions. If you're looking for office organization tools or storage solutions, check your local thrift or vintage store before purchasing new items.
Step 4: Sustainable packaging
Instead of buying single-use plastic, opt for products and packaging made from recycled materials when possible. Switch to glass containers and partner with local organizations that create recyclable tissues, eco-friendly cleaning solutions, and other office supplies. If your area hosts recycling drives or other environmental charity events, it might be a good idea to get your eyecare staff involved at least twice a year. This way, you're giving back to your community and meeting other small businesses in your area.
Step 5: Decor
Indoor plants clean your practice's air, add life to the space, and are pleasing to the eye. Although you may be worried about increasing your staff's workload, there are many low-maintenance plant options. From snake plants and succulents to trailing pothos and Chinese evergreens; most indoor plants actually enjoy a little bit of neglect.
Work with local furniture companies to buy secondhand office furniture, frames, vases, and other big decorative items and wholesale prices. A unique piece of vintage or retro furniture speaks volumes more than a generic IKEA or box-store purchase.
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