If going green is the next step your office wants to take, you might ask, where do I start and what changes can I make? Below are 5 steps to help get you started.
Step 1 – Identify
Take this time to walk around your office—what’s being wasted? Are there papers in the general trash, bottles/cans being thrown out, and/or too many wasted supplies? Write down what you can change and have the staff take notes. Is the office wasting a lot of plastic? Is the sink always on? What is the staff noticing throughout the day? Do this for a week and have a short meeting to discuss; you might be surprised with the feedback.
Step 2 – Research
Take this time to research how much waste you are contributing to the environment. The idea behind the research is to give motivation that will fuel the determination to make those changes. You will never want to go back to your old methods. Have each staff member take an obstacle and research its effects on the practice and then have each of them present what it is, what effects it causes, and their idea of how to change it in the practice.
Step 3 – Plan
Plan how and when these new ideas will take effect. Are these instant changes? Do you have to make new purchases? For disposables, maybe contact your supplies rep and ask them what supplies they have that are eco-friendly. Can you change your air/water syringe tip to stainless steel, if so, how many would you need? Are there incentives for large purchases that will lessen the numerous packages throughout the month? Buy in bulk to save money and cut down on multiple packages. This will result in less packing materials and less waste to be disposed of.
Step 4 – Action
Put the plan into action and have a goal of one month to mark down the changes and how they work out. Perhaps you will start to recycle all those papers. Instead of throwing away magazines, donate them to a school or nursing home. Look beyond what you changed. If you have cans and bottles that should be recycled, designate someone to recycle them and save the money for a pizza party or fun staff event to celebrate!
Step 5 – Brag
Yes, brag and tell everyone! Send out marketing to the community and your patients to let them know of the changes your office made. Let them see what sets your office apart from other practices; many patients seek out offices that value the environment and go that extra step. Tell your current patients about how you went green and hand them flyers that they can share with their friends and family. Lastly, you can give them a “going green with us” incentive for referring new patients to the practice.
Going green can be an effective marketing tool for your office, but it can also be an environmentally-friendly step in the right direction. These are just a couple ideas that you can implement to help spread the word about going green.
About the Author: Mrs. Claudia Paye has over 20 years of experience in the dentistry field with extensive knowledge in dental benefits and facilitating financial arrangements. She has her A.A.S. in Business Management from Queens College, an N.Y.S. E.M.T. license, and is an active C.P.R. instructor. Currently Mrs. Paye is the Practice Administrator for Woodpoint Dental in New York, and was also the AADOM 2016 Going Green award winner. Outside of the office, she volunteers her time with local organizations.