Earth Day is right around the corner! The day is set aside to annually celebrate our beautiful Planet Earth and all it provides us, and to work on ways we can be better stewards of our natural environment.
Some Earth-healthy habits that individuals can learn to incorporate into their lives include recycling, actively reducing the use of single-use plastic items like utensils and straws, biking to work, using reusable grocery bags, installing home solar panels and shopping local. And local businesses can have a positive impact by actively reviewing their business practices and buying habits so they too can have a smaller environmental footprint.
Eco-Friendly Actions for Medical and Dental Offices
The medical field is ripe with waste. Safely treating patients results in loads of sterile, single-use items, such as gauze, gloves, plastic coverings, etc., – they are used once and then are headed straight for the landfill. Unfortunately, most of this type of waste just cannot be avoided. However, our local oral surgery office, Tahoe Oral Surgery has implemented a number of environmentally-friendly practices that many other offices might consider. They include:
- Making every effort to buy post-consumer waste (PCW) 100% recycled office supplies, like printing paper, garbage bags, paper towels, etc.
- Using paperless, online patient registration reduces paper use (and save trees!)
- Offering paperless, online doctor referrals (again, hooray for saving trees!)
- Using temperature controls to heat and cool the office, and open a window to let the cool/warm air in.
- Installing motion detectors on overhead office lights, so if a room isn't in use, the lights automatically go out, saving electricity.
- Using water filtration systems for tap water to eliminate the use of single-use plastic bottles.
- Stocking office breakrooms with ceramic dishware for staff to use instead of disposable plates, cups, etc.
- Using an energy-efficient washer and dryer.
- Installing energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Being mindful of purchasing decisions, and supporting like-minded companies when possible.
- Printing only what you need and keeping everything else digital.
- Recycling all that you can, including electronic waste, batteries, etc.
Taken individually, these changes may seem small. But taken together, and collectively over many different fields, businesses can reduce their environmental impact and better support our environment.
1% For the Planet
Realizing they can't eliminate their ecological footprint, Tahoe Oral Surgery also supports a number of local, state and national environmental nonprofits. In addition to adopting all of the internal business practices listed above, they are long-time members of an organization called 1% for the Planet. Through their membership, they have joined hundreds of other business, nationally, who have committed to donating 1% of their annual revenue back to nonprofit organizations that do work in environmental education, conservation, and preservation. Since opening their doors in 2010, Tahoe Oral Surgery and Implant Center has donated over $125,000 to local area groups such as the Sierra Nevada Alliance, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Sugar Pine Foundation, and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association just to name a few. Through these organizations Tahoe Oral Surgery and Implant Center has sponsored multiple trail maintenance days, tree planting days and river restoration projects, putting some "sweat equity" behind their financial support!
So What Can You Do?
Are you a business owner or dental professional who wants to be more involved environmentally and give back to your community? Try adopting some of the suggestions business practices listed above, and think of others! Just because single-use items may be an essential part of your business doesn't mean other, more environmentally-friendly, practices can't be incorporated into your business practices. And consider becoming a member of 1% for the Planet – your generosity not only helps the community and Earth, but it also shows compassion, care and that you do business with heart. If everyone makes steps to do a little more, either individually and/or through their business, together we can make a big difference and better support our beautiful home, Planet Earth.
Happy Earth Day!