Celebrate Earth Day: Go green in your practice
Excerpted from page 14 of the April 2015 edition of AOA Focus.
Each April on Earth Day, we try to be more mindful of the planet. In some optometry offices, however, this is a year-round practice. From recycling patients' discarded eyewear to adopting electronic health records (EHR) to reduce paper use, there are plenty of ways to "go green" and preserve the planet.
Click here to learn how doctors of optometry can help make the planet better, and use doctors' tips below to make your practice more environmentally friendly.
- Recycle anything that can be recycled.
Jennifer Planitz, O.D., chair of the AOA Federal Legislative Action and Keyperson Committee, says her office in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, is always looking for ways to reduce its footprint on the planet. Contact lenses aren't recyclable, but the practice encourages recycling of everything that's associated with the lenses. "We recycle all the boxes, blister packs," she says. "Anything and everything recyclable, we recycle." The office staff even "reclaimed" a dog they found outside the office in rush-hour traffic, with no collar or identification. They got him care and trained him to work with children. "I am proud to say he is now our office therapy dog, and we love him dearly," Dr. Planitz says.
- Use sustainable materials.
When California-based Claremont Optometry moved to a new location, the top priority for Ann Johannsen, O.D., and Brad Baggarly, O.D., was to create an environmentally sustainable practice. Nearly all of the demolished material was recycled as part of the process for rebuilding the office's interior. Sustainable lighting was installed throughout the office, and its wood-grained flooring and carpeting is made from 100 percent recycled materials. The paint the practice chose has the lowest levels of volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide available.
- Go paperless.
As part of its sustainable practice goals, Claremont Optometry adopted an EHR to reduce paper. All remaining paper documents are in the process of being shredded and recycled. Any paper that's still used on a daily basis is made from recycled products. Dr. Planitz's office also uses an EHR to reduce paper waste.
- Recycle used eyeglasses.
An optician from Dr. Planitz's office visits a local senior center each month to adjust and clean glasses, which allows seniors to maximize the life of their glasses and reduce waste. "If they have any eyewear they would like to discard, our opticians bring it back to our donation box," Dr. Planitz says.
Read more about doctors of optometry doing their part to make the planet better on page 36 of the April 2016 edition of AOA Focus.